Cauliflower Rice Tabbouleh

Cauliflower Rice Tabbouleh in a wooden bowl

Cauliflower Rice Tabbouleh ~ a twist on the glorious Middle Eastern cracked wheat salad, made low carb and grain free using cauliflower rice. This is a light, clean, and healthy vegan salad that’s always a conversation starter.

Cauliflower Rice Tabbouleh in a wooden bowl

what is cauliflower rice?

  • cauliflower rice is simply raw cauliflower florets that have been pulsed in a food processor until they break down into a ‘grainy’ consistency like rice or couscous. It can be used raw, like I’ve done today, or you can steam it for a hot dish.
  • cauliflower rice can be used as a grain substitute in lots of recipes, from tabbouleh to stir fries, and more. It can simply stand in for rice as a low carb side dish.
  • You can make cauliflower rice with brightly colored orange, green, or purple cauliflower too, so get creative!

I tried cauliflower rice for the first time a while back, and I was amazed at how easy it was to do, and how it really did look and act like rice. Only trouble was I couldn’t think of anything that I wanted to do with my cauliflower rice because, on its own, it’s a little bit…blah. The idea of using it as a base for tabbouleh was just the thing to turn me into a big fan.

Cauliflower Rice Tabbouleh in a wooden bowl with spoon

what you’ll need for cauliflower rice tabbouleh

  • cauliflower ~ look for a bright white head with no blemishes or brown spots. Bonus points if the leaves are still attached, it’s an indicator of freshness.
  • cherry tomatoes ~ available all year round, these juicy gems are priceless in a fall and winter salad.
  • red onion ~ I love the subtle bite of red onion in my salads.
  • cucumbers ~ look for the small ones, they’re more tender.
  • fresh parsley and mint ~ these provide a fresh green element and lots of flavor.
  • pine nuts ~ the secret ingredient that takes this salad over the top, but be sure to toast them first.
  • extra virgin olive oil ~ get the best you can afford.
  • lemon juice ~ fresh, not bottled!
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Cauliflower Rice Tabbouleh in a wooden bowl

tabbouleh is a perfectly balanced salad

I make it all the time without tinkering with a thing. But swapping the bulgur wheat for this fluffy cauliflower rice is a nice change ~ and a game changer if you’re eating gluten free or cutting carbs.

Without the customary grain base this dish is light as a feather, and you can make it year round with sweet colorful cherry tomatoes, cukes, and fresh herbs, which are always available.

a head of cauliflower for cauliflower rice tabbouleh

How do you make cauliflower rice?

  • Break apart a head of cauliflower into smaller florets. Trim the excess stems and discard. (The upper parts of the stems are fine to leave on)

  • Put the florets into a food processor and pulse until the florets break down. You can run the machine for a few seconds, and then open up and check. Cauliflower is a soft vegetable so this happens quickly. If the grains aren’t a consistent size, like couscous, scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse a few more times. That’s it, you’ve made cauliflower rice! (See the video for a demonstration.)

  • The prep for cauliflower rice tabbouleh is even easier than with cracked wheat.

cauliflower florets

What’s with the smell?

  • There is a distinctive odor to cauliflower and other cruciferous veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Once you process your cauliflower you’ll begin to smell it, it’s a little sulphur-y. The good news is that once you mix your cauliflower rice with the rest of the salad ingredients the smell will dissipate.

  • If you plan on making your cauliflower rice ahead of time, keep it in a tightly sealed airtight container in the fridge.

cauliflower rice tabbouleh in a wooden bowl topped with toasted pine nuts

tvfgi recommends: Cuisinart Food Processor

If I could have only one appliance in my kitchen it would be my full sized Cuisinart food processor.  It’s the most essential tool for my cooking, and the one thing I can’t do without. Making quick work of turning a head of cauliflower into fluffy ‘rice’ is only one of its many talents. I’ve had mine for decades, and only just bought a second one for photo shoots. It’s a treasure.

every salad needs a decadent element

I grounded this light cauliflower rice tabbouleh with toasted pine nuts. There not traditional in tabbouleh but they add welcome touch of richness to the dish. If you don’t eat nuts you might try sunflower seeds, or crumbled feta cheese.

If you’re feeling adventurous you could do a version of my Jeweled Tabbouleh with the cauliflower rice, now that would be pretty!

Cauliflower Rice Tabbouleh in a wooden bowl
3.73 from 37 votes

Cauliflower Rice Tabbouleh

Cauliflower Rice Tabbouleh ~ a twist on the glorious Middle Eastern cracked wheat salad, made low carb and gluten free using cauliflower rice.  This is a light, bright, and healthy vegan salad that’s always a conversation starter.
Course Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 8 servings
Calories 152kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • food processor (for making the cauliflower rice)


  • 1 small to medium head of cauliflower
  • 2 cups halved small cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 small red onion finely minced
  • 1 small cucumber finely chopped
  • 1 large handful finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 handful finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • olive oil


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste


  • lemon wedges
  • fresh mint leaves


  • Remove the bottom core from the cauliflower and break into sections. Remove most of the stems, and break apart into large florets. Add the florets to the bowl of a food processor. I do this in two batches. Pulse the machine, about 20 to 30 times, stopping a few times to scrape down the bowl and check the progress. You want the cauliflower to become evenly and finely crumbled. Pulse a few more times if necessary. Turn the cauliflower rice into a large bowl.
  • Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and toast the pine nuts over medium to medium low heat until they turn fragrant and nutty brown. Stir almost constantly so they don’t burn.
  • Add the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and fresh herbs to the cauliflower and toss to combine.
  • Whisk the dressing together and taste to adjust to your liking.
  • Toss the tabbouleh with the dressing, then top with the pine nuts, fresh mint leaves, and lemon wedges. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
  • Cauliflower tabbouleh can be made up to a day ahead. I prefer to add the tomatoes at the last minute because they don’t do well in the refrigerator.



Calories: 152kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 30mg | Potassium: 440mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 600IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
cauliflower rice tabbouleh

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2021 at 3:29 am

    5 stars
    Hi, do you not cook the cauliflower? I’m worried this will taste weird…

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      December 17, 2021 at 7:13 am

      It’s got a nice crunchy grain-like texture, you’ll love it!

  • Reply
    Charity MacPherson
    June 18, 2021 at 10:05 pm

    Can frozen cauliflower rice be used? Thawed and pan fried?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      June 19, 2021 at 5:56 am

      I don’t recommend that Charity because the texture comes from using raw cauliflower. It’s really the only way to make cauliflower rice.

  • Reply
    claudia scotti
    February 29, 2020 at 2:20 pm

    Hi Sue,
    This looks fantastic and I cannot wait to try it.
    Do you have the nutrition content information? (fiber, sugar, protein, calories, fat and carbs?)
    Thank you

  • Reply
    February 20, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    5 stars
    This is hands down the absolute best tabbouleh recipe ever. We loved it so much and the cauliflower was a genius addition. Sooooo delicious.

    • Reply
      February 20, 2020 at 4:41 pm

      I was so happy with this recipe Leila, and I don’t even eat gluten free. I’m thrilled that you loved it 🙂

  • Reply
    October 19, 2019 at 5:52 am

    I don’t see tabouli mentioned anywhere in the recipe except to say mix it in.

    • Reply
      October 19, 2019 at 7:29 am

      The cauliflower rice is taking the place of the wheat in this recipe!

  • Reply
    Melissa Griffiths
    December 10, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    What a great combo! Excited to try this.

    • Reply
      December 10, 2018 at 8:49 pm

      It’s one of our personal faves Melissa 🙂

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    October 2, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    I love this Sue, it’s so pretty and I know I could make a meal out of it. I love your wonderful creativity with veggies (and with everything else too!)

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    October 1, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    I love tabbouleh and using cauliflower rice is such a great idea!

  • Reply
    Lori Ann
    October 1, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    I read this post this morning and sped home from work to make it! So fresh and delicious. The toasted pine nuts really sealed the deal for me!!

    • Reply
      October 1, 2018 at 4:18 pm

      Oh my gosh, drive safely Lori 😉 And the toasted pine nuts are my obsession, I toast them as deep as I can get them without burning…yum.

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