Quinoa Cauliflower Tabbouleh

Getting fresh perspective isn’t always the easiest thing. Ever heard of tunnel vision (I sure have!)? With so many fixed elements in place in our lives it can be difficult to break out of our routine, or look at life through a different lens, never mind through new eyes. Well, it’s Monday, friends – and here’s to the start of a brand new week!With spring here, we feel the urge to renew, and refresh. For me, this recipe represents an opportunity I recently got to do just that! I was delighted to open my email last week to find a fresh recipe sent just for me courtesy of a favorite blogger – the quirky and extremely clever writer and (dare I say) curator of This Sydney Life.

I simply adore tabbouleh (reminds of potlucks in the 80’s), with its minty freshness and light airy vibes, and this recipe has a twist that honestly knocked my socks off. It’s just so darned fresh! So I simply had to share it.

Fresh takes on old ideas are what makes the world go around according to my favorite clever & inspirational writer Paul Arden in his book “Whatever You Think Think The Opposite”.

So with that, I’ll get right to it – let the celebration begin!

The Less:

Less wheat-based tabbouleh means those with sensitivities can enjoy their favorite fresh-flavored dish. Less focus on the grain as the main ingredient means a lighter experience all around. Less wondering what to do for your next potluck makes planning a snap – because this dish is a winner!

The More:

More cabbage family veggies in the diet mean more disease fighting properties in your foods. More fresh herbs and green leafy veggies means more ways to win without growing bored. More zesty citrus, sweet dried fruits, and bold nutty flavors mean more satisfying tastes for your taste buds. More sharing is good, especially when it’s done among friends.

Cauliflower Tabbouleh:
  • (1) small head cauliflower, washed & cut into small florets
  • (1 and 3/4) cups water
  • (1) cup quinoa, dry
  • (1) bunch cilantro (about one cup chopped)
  • (1) bunch Italian flat leaf parsley (about 2 cups chopped)
  • (1) bunch mint (about one cup chopped)
  • (1/2) to (1) cup walnuts, chopped & toasted
  • (1/2) – (3/4) cup dried cranberries (or to your preference)
  • (2-3) tbsp olive oil
  • (2-3) tbsp of juice from one large lemon & zest
  • (1) tsp salt or to taste

Cook quinoa by combining the grain with the water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn heat to low (without raising the lid) and cook for 20 minutes. Once finished, remove lid and fluff with a fork while it cools in the pot.

Wash and cut the cauliflower into small florets, saving the stem part for soup (or include it if you prefer). Chop to a 1-2 inch dice. This will produce 4-6 cups of chopped cauliflower.

Cook cauliflower in boiling salted water or in a steamer for 6-8 minutes until tender. Drain and rinse quickly with cold water to cool.

Chop the walnuts and toast either in a dry pan over medium high heat (stirring constantly) or in the oven until brown and fragrant. About 6-8 minutes in a 350 degree oven should do the trick!

Zest half the lemon on a fine grater and juice the lemon afterwards. Add to a large mixing bowl along with the cooked quinoa & cauliflower, cranberries, walnuts, olive oil and salt. Gently toss everything to combine.

Next, wash your bounty of gloriously fragrant herbs under cold water and shake any excess water. Chop them all up and throw them in too – this is BY FAR the most wonderful part of this recipe!

Stir everything together and enjoy! This dish will keep in the fridge at least a few days. I served it the first time this week with these millet burgers and a nice green salad. Wonderful!

What was wonderful to me was my frame of mind when I first made this – normally I would chop my herbs super fine – but given the amounts of greens and the presence and size of the cauliflower in this recipe, it was liberating and totally refreshing to chop the herbs like I would for a salad – the original recipe called for cup measurements which worked out to roughly a bunch of each of the 3 stars of this dish.

I’ll let you be the judge as to how you’d tackle this, and I sure would love to know! I simply delighted in this recipe. The smells of the herbs (mint lovers heaven!) – and the combo and the sheer amounts of the 3 thrilled not only my senses but those I have (already) shared it with (I’ve now made it twice). Cooking and sharing is but one small way we can open ourselves up to outside views, totally fresh perspectives we would otherwise miss. Thanks to all you bloggers and readers (and dare I say friends!) out there, there is a world of endless possibilities out there…just waiting…

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ShiraQuinoa Cauliflower Tabbouleh