Roasted red peppers in lieu of tomatoes makes this cauliflower tabbouleh unique! It’s as fresh and flavorful as traditional Lebanese tabbouleh (tabouli salad), but cauliflower rice instead of bulgar wheat means it’s gluten-free, low-carb, paleo, Whole30 and keto-friendly. Pair it with Za’atar chicken for an easy and delicious meal!
I mentioned in my one pan Lamb Meatballs over Saffron Cauliflower Rice post that I love Mediterranean food and truly, I love it. It’s so fresh and healthy, and the herbs and spice combinations common in Mediterranean cooking are epic. Truth be told, I find myself craving Mediterranean food more than I like to admit!
Often called Lebanese Tabbouleh Salad, tabbouleh or tabouli originated in the middle east part of the Mediterranean region that we now call – you guessed it – Lebanon. The traditional recipe calls for parsley, bulgar wheat kernels, tomatoes, mint, olive oil, lemon juice and green onions. It’s a simple recipe that allows the flavor of the parsley to shine, but since it contains bulgar wheat, the traditional recipe is not gluten-free. It’s also not grain-free or paleo, which is how I typically eat.
Cauliflower rice was an obvious solution to make this tabbouleh (tabouli) gluten-free and grain-free, and roasted red peppers in lieu of the tomatoes makes this cauliflower tabbouleh unique. It’s the perfect twist on the traditional Lebanese tabbouleh recipe!
Health Benefits & Nutrition Information
Parsley is used as a salad green in tabbouleh (tabouli salad), but it is technically an herb. Like other herbs, parsley is extremely rich in nutrients, including vitamin C, beta carotene, folate, iron, copper, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Vitamin K is found in particularly high amounts as well as powerful antioxidants called flavonoids (source). Together, these nutrients have been found to support everything from heart health to digestion (source). Yet despite all of these nutrients, 1 cup of parsley contains only 21 calories and 4 grams of carbohydrate, making it a great base for this low calorie, low carb, keto, paleo and Whole30 friendly tabbouleh (tabouli) salad!
Cauliflower also offers quite a lot of nutrients, among them vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, choline and manganese (source). But perhaps the most beneficial part of cauliflower is the antioxidants it gets from being a member of the Brassica family along with broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts. Research has found that these glucosinolates benefit the heart, digestive, detoxification and immune systems as well as the body’s ability to fight inflammation (source). And of course, cauliflower does all of this with only 25 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrate per cup. You can see why cauliflower has gained popularity!
Olive oil adds flavor to tabbouleh, but it also provides heart healthy monounsaturated fat, vitamin E and antioxidants called phenols and polyphenols that help the body fight inflammation. Most importantly, it helps your body absorb all of those fat soluble nutrients in this cauliflower tabbouleh, such as beta carotene, so they can be effectively used in your body (source).
Using cauliflower rice instead of bulgar wheat means that this cauliflower tabbouleh (tabouli salad) is not just gluten-free, low-carb, paleo and Whole30-friendly, at just 93 calories and 6 grams of carbs per serving, it really packs a nutritional punch!
Tips, Tools & Ingredients
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Parsley: Of the two varieties commonly found at supermarkets, curly parsley actually works better than flat (Italian) parsley for this recipe. The curls not only add bulk to the salad, they catch the olive oil and lemon juice used to dress this cauliflower tabbouleh (tabouli) salad.
Cauliflower Rice: You could make your own cauliflower rice using a food processor or box grater, but I prefer to save myself the time and mess by buying cauliflower that has already been “riced”. Costco sells it frozen and fresh, and an increasing number of traditional supermarkets are following suit. Check Whole Foods, King Soopers (Kroger) or even Walmart.
Roasted Red Bell Peppers: I prefer to buy red peppers that have already been roasted and packed in a jar, but you could roast your own on a gas stove or grill. If you roast your own, the equivalent amount for this recipe is one large red bell pepper. Whichever method you choose, just be sure to buy organic red peppers since bell peppers are one of the most pesticide-laden types of produce. It got bumped off the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list, but it’s still a runner up at #13. See the full list here.
What to Add or Serve with this Cauliflower Tabbouleh
If you are able to eat a little bit of dairy or garbanzo beans, try topping this cauliflower tabbouleh with crumbled feta cheese. It’s also good with a little hummus or babaganoush.
Za’atar chicken is my favorite protein to serve with this cauliflower tabbouleh, and it’s so easy that you don’t need a even need a recipe! Buy Za’atar seasoning at Penzey’s Spices or Amazon (or make your own using this simple recipe) and mix with equal parts of avocado or olive oil (I use 2 tablespoons each of za’atar seasoning and oil for 2 pounds of chicken thighs). Marinate your chicken for about an hour, if you can, and then roast at 400 for about 25 minutes. It’s easy and delicious!
I like both the Penzey’s Spices Za’atar Seasoning and the Za’atar Seasoning by The Spice Way on Amazon. One uses thyme and the other uses hyssop, so they taste different. My advice is to try both and see which you prefer.Roasted red peppers give this cauliflower tabbouleh a unique twist! It's as fresh and flavorful as traditional Lebanese tabbouleh (tabouli salad), but it's gluten-free, low-carb, paleo, keto-friendly and Whole30 friendly. Click To Tweet
Cauliflower Tabbouleh (Tabouli Salad) with Roasted Red Bell Peppers
Ready for the recipe? Check it out below. I hope you enjoy it!
Cauliflower Tabbouleh (Tabouli Salad) with Roasted Red Peppers
Roasted red peppers in lieu of tomatoes makes this cauliflower tabbouleh unique! It's as fresh and flavorful as traditional Lebanese tabbouleh (tabouli salad), but cauliflower rice instead of bulgar wheat means it's gluten-free, low-carb, paleo, Whole30 and keto-friendly. Pair it with Za'atar chicken for an easy and delicious meal!
- 3-4 cups chopped parsley about 3 bunches
- 12 oz cauliflower rice
- 2-3 Tbsp fresh mint leaves chopped
- ½ cup roasted red bell pepper chopped
- 2 scallions chopped finely (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp salt
Place cauliflower rice in microwave safe dish and cook according to package directions (about 3 minutes for fresh cauliflower rice, 5 minutes for frozen). Transfer to a colander and let strain.
Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic in a large bowl. Whisk until well combined. Add the scallions and cauliflower rice and toss to combine.
Chop the mint and parsley and add to the cauliflower rice. Toss again until the salad is thoroughly mixed.
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