There’s a new restaurant in town called The Peacock, located inside the Austin Proper Hotel. It’s one of the first “cool” (ie not hole-in-the-wall) truly Mediterranean spots we’ve had open up in town, with a menu full of colorful, healthy dishes inspired by North Africa, Greece, Israel & Lebanon – all meant for sharing.

In other words, exactly the food I love to eat, and my current craving for all things Mediterranean has extended to the dishes I’ve been experimenting with at home, too, like this cauliflower tabbouleh.

Last week I did a “test run” of the cozy date night at home that I’m planning for mine and Adam’s Valentine’s Day. I wanted to create a menu and capture some visual inspiration to share with you guys before the holiday, plus it gave me an excuse to tweak the recipes and make sure I had them right.  I’ll be sharing the full menu and tabletop setup in a few days, but for now: let’s talk cauliflower tabbouleh.

Any other major tabbouleh lovers out there? For the uninitiated, it’s a traditional salad served across the middle east as part of a mezze (or selection of small appetizer dishes. Think hummus, pita, olives, salads, etc.) It’s usually a combination of tomatoes, onion, and bulgur combined with (what really does it for me) a major shower of herbs like parsley and mint. Like, way more herbs than we would typically add to a dish in the US — they’re more like the main salad component instead of just a garnish. Then it’s simply seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and it’s definitely a dish where the final product is so perfect, it’s almost hard to believe how few ingredients go into it.

My version is admittedly a very loose riff of on a traditional tabbouleh, but it includes a bunch of my favorite things and — gosh it’s so good. For the grains, instead of bulgur, I used a combo of 3 parts cauliflower rice (so healthy, more veg) with 1 part cooked farro (chewy and satisfies carb cravings.) Then I topped it with shaved fennel, pomegranate seeds, chopped pistachios, and alllll the herbs — mint, parsley, and dill. A maple-lemon vinaigrette and big pinch of sea salt took it over the top.

This version is really just as easy as the original, but feels a little more dressed up for a special night — plus, the ingredients are much more suited for the winter months (sorry tomatoes, not feeling you right now.) It makes great leftovers, too: I ate this one for lunch all week after the shoot. I’d love to hear if y’all give it a try, and check back next week for my new herby green falafel recipe and the full Valentine’s date night plan.

Cauliflower Tabbouleh with Pomegranates & Pistachios

Serves 4 - 6

Cauliflower Tabbouleh Is Winter's Most Addictive Salad

By Camille Styles

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower or 1 bag cauliflower rice
  • 1 cup cooked farro (or any other cooked grain like quinoa, millet, or even rice.)
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill (optional)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. If using fresh cauliflower: bring salted water to a boil, and boil the cauliflower exactly 2 minutes. Strain cauliflower until dry, then pulse in food processor until sized to a small grain of bulgar.
  2. If using frozen cauliflower rice, follow package ingredients to prepare. This typically involves simply defrosting the cauliflower in a large non-stick pan until cooked through. Let it cool before adding to salad.
  3. To prepare the fennel, cut off the stalks, chop up some of the fronds to add to the salad (1/4 cup or so), and then thinly slice using a mandoline or a sharp knife.
  4. In a large bowl, combine 3 cups cauliflower rice, sliced fennel, pomegranates and pistachios (reserve a few of both for adding to top), fennel fronds, and all the herbs.
  5. In a mason jar or small bowl, combine oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Shake or whisk, then add just enough to salad to lightly coat ingredients.
  6. Toss well, taste for seasoning, then add reserved pistachios and pomegranates for garnish. Eat!
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Photography

Hannah Zahner