Have you heard of cauliflower couscous? If you are like me and enjoy serving a grain side to grilled meats, or as a salad staple, then check out this riff on wheat couscous. The secret to this gluten-free side dish is the cauliflower -- not as an addition to a salad of wheat (semolina) couscous, but as a replacement. That's right -- it's all cauliflower, finely chopped to the size of couscous or rice grains. You can use it just like the wheat version, in salads or as a room temperature (or warm) side dish.
The cauliflower holds its texture beautifully, either raw or, in this case, lightly sauteed, providing a mild, nutty flavor and firm bite. It's tossed with lemon, chiles and fresh herbs for a delicious side dish that will likely amaze your dinner guests and leave them pleasantly surprised.
Warm Cauliflower Couscous With Lemon and Chiles
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings as a side dish
1 small head cauliflower, about 1 1/4 pounds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 thin scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped
1 sweet "Jimmy Nardello" pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Remove the leaves and core of the cauliflower. Coarsely chop the florets and place in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the florets are finely chopped and about the size of rice grains or couscous, 10 to 12 times.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium. Add the cauliflower and salt and saute until the cauliflower begins to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, paprika, cumin and red pepper flakes. Continue to cook until the cauliflower is tender but not mushy, 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Taste for seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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