Spiced Cauliflower Couscous

At first glance, this dish appears to be couscous or an ancient grain such as quinoa. Guess again! It’s cauliflower, which makes it completely gluten-free and an especially great choice for vegan cooks and those following a Paleo diet.  Toasting the coarsely ground cauliflower in the pan gives it a nice flavor and texture, combined with some dried spices, fresh herbs, savory nuts, chewy dried fruit and lemon.  Serve it over a bed of greens and if you’re an omnivore, top it with a piece of seared chicken or fish to cover all of your food groups if your heart desires. 


6 cups cauliflower florets (from 1 large or 2 small heads cauliflower)

¼ cup olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp coriander

1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1/3 cup dried fruit like raisins, currants or cranberries

zest of 1 lemon

2 TB lemon juice, more to taste

2-3 TB minced leafy herbs, like cilantro, parsley and/or mint

½ tsp salt, more to taste

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper, more to taste



 Chop the cauliflower florets into bite size pieces.  Transfer into a food processor in batches, and pulse until the pieces are finely chopped and resemble couscous, but be careful not to over process.

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil on medium-high.  Add the garlic, cumin and coriander and stir for 1 minute to release flavor.  Add the cauliflower to the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, and letting some of the cauliflower brown.   Set aside to cool, or transfer to a tray to cool even faster. 

 In a bowl, mix the “couscous” with the remaining ingredients: almonds, raisins, lemon zest, lemon juice, minced leafy herbs, salt and pepper.  Taste, and add more lemon, salt or pepper to reach desired flavor. 

Makes approximately 4 cups, and serves 4-6.


To toast nuts: Preheat oven to 325°.  Spread seeds on a baking tray, and bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from oven and let cool. (Can be done in advance and stored in an airtight container)