One of the most popular and delicious Middle Eastern salads is tabbouleh. Traditionally, it is made with tomatoes, parsley, mint, onions, bulgur, olive oil, lemon juice and salt. This is not your traditional recipe, this is my take on it. If you are eating a Paleo diet, then you know that bulgur is not Paleo approved. So instead of bulgur, I used very fine riced cauliflower, I used green onions instead of regular onions and I added a couple mini cucumbers for some added crunch.
Some of my favorite childhood memories was watching my grandma, so delicately, make this dish. When I saw her soaking bulgur in olive oil and lemon juice, I got excited because I automatically knew what she was making. She would spend a few days with us and make huge tub for all of us to enjoy.
During every family event, tabbouleh is always on the menu. It is on a mezze table at weddings, barbecues, engagement parties, graduations, etc.
My husband is from the Dominican Republic. Middle Eastern immigrants in the D.R. introduced this recipe to them and named it tipile; it is a bit different from the traditional recipe but it is still good. They claim it as their own, but we all know the truth 😉
Living a Paleo lifestyle abroad and nowhere near my family, has made me get creative and dig deep into my brain and create some recipes like this one. When I first got the idea a couple years ago to make tabbouleh using cauliflower instead of bulgur, I wasn’t sure it would work. I was so worried that I never made it till now, but I’m so glad I did! This is, by far, one of the best tabbouleh’s I have ever had! It tasted exactly the way my grandma makes it. The cauliflower was the same flavor and texture of bulgur. The medley of fresh mint and parsley adds the perfect freshness. I was telling my husband that I would love to make this Paleo tabbouleh at a family gathering to see if my large Middle Eastern family would tell a difference. I highly doubt they will!
Most Middle Easterners like eating tabbouleh in a romaine lettuce leaf, like a taco. The crunch and the explosion of flavors from the salad and lettuce go hand in hand.
- 1/2 of a medium sized cauliflower- about 2 cups finely riced (you want it the consistency of bulgur)
- 3 large tomatoes
- 2 mini cucumbers (optional)
- 1 bunch fresh *parsley
- handful of fresh mint
- 3 green onions
- juice of 3 lemons
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- tablespoon sea salt
- Wash and dry all of your ingredients.
- Cut around the core of the cauliflower to get the florets. You want the florets not the stems.
- Cut your florets into 2 inch pieces.
- Place half of the dry cauliflower florets in a food processor and pulse for about 15-20 one second pulses or until you have a bulgur consistency.
- Remove riced cauliflower from your food processor bowl and place in a medium sized bowl.
- Drizzle the olive oil and the juice of 2 lemons over the cauliflower.
- Stir and let sit.
- Grab your sharpest knife and cutting board.
- Finely chop the tomatoes and cucumbers and place in a very large bowl.
- Remove the stems from the mint and parsley leaves.
- Finely chop the parsley, followed by the mint and place in the bowl with the tomatoes and cucumbers.
- Thinly slice your green onions and place them in the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
- Stir in the cauliflower with the rest of the ingredients.
- Add the rest of the lemon juice and more olive oil if needed.
- Lastly, add your salt. You want to add it last as it draws moisture from your vegetables.
*Arabic word for parsley: bakdoones