Oil-Free Cauliflower Couscous with Rosemary and Lemon

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Grain-Free Cauliflower Couscous - Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free Vegan Side Dish Recipe with Almonds and Golden Raisins
Grain-Free Cauliflower Couscous – Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free Vegan Side Dish Recipe with Almonds and Golden Raisins

Couscous is a grain dish that originates from the Maghreb, the northern region of Africa. It’s traditionally made with cracked bulgur wheat.  Combined with toasted almonds and dried fruits, it makes a light side dish. This makes couscous the perfect companion for heavier stews and sauces. Yet, you can enjoy it on its own as a simple lunch. 

This grain-free version of couscous swaps out the bulgur for grated cauliflower. Cauliflower adds a crunchy texture and a subtle sweetness. Toasted almonds and diced celery highlight that crunchy texture. Diced apple and dried golden raisins add more sweetness. Plus they add beautiful color. A bright finish comes from fresh lemon zest, which balances with the deep, woodsy flavor from rosemary.

This elegant side dish deviates from the original North African flavors, but it honors the light, simplicity of the original recipe. Serve this as a gluten-free, plant-based side dish for a summer party. Delicious both hot and chilled, you can enjoy this with a healthy dinner and then snack on leftovers for a healthy vegan lunch. Made oil-free, healthy fat from almonds also provides protein and nutritious antioxidants.

This side dish will take center stage as one of your new favorite recipes!

Grain-Free Cauliflower Couscous - Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free Vegan Side Dish Recipe with Almonds and Golden Raisins
Grain-Free Cauliflower Couscous – Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free Vegan Side Dish Recipe with Almonds and Golden Raisins

Medium |  Servings: 6  |  Ready In: 20 minutes |  Yield: 8 cups

Grated cauliflower replaces cracked bulgur wheat for a light, gluten-free healthy twist on couscous. This oil-free recipe adds toasted almonds and dried golden raisins for interesting textures and flavors. You’ll love having this for a simple plant-based lunch. Or serve as an elegant vegan side dish for a dinner party.

If you love this, you’ll also love: Bulgur Stuffed Zucchini Boats, Brandywine Tomatoes Stuffed with Greek Cauliflower ‘Rice’, and Apricot Almond Whole Wheat Couscous

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 large apple, diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 1 head cauliflower, grated (about 6 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 5 green onions (green part only), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • salt and pepper, to taste

How it’s Done:

To make the Oil-Free Cauliflower Couscous with Lemon and Rosemary: Place the sliced almonds in a dry, wide pan and toast over medium heat until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Toss a couple of times to ensure even browning. Remove from heat and set aside.

Return the same pan to medium heat. Add the celery, apple, and rosemary. Sauté until the celery and apple begin to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add the grated cauliflower and green onions to the pan. Sauté until the cauliflower softens slightly, 2-3 minutes. Stir often and be sure not to overcook the cauliflower. You want it to still have some crunch.

Turn off the heat. Add the golden raisins and toasted almonds to the cauliflower mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well to combine. Taste to adjust seasoning and serve.

Yield: 8 cups

If you love this, you’ll also love: Bulgur Stuffed Zucchini Boats, Brandywine Tomatoes Stuffed with Greek Cauliflower ‘Rice’, and Apricot Almond Whole Wheat Couscous

Grain-Free Cauliflower Couscous - Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free Vegan Side Dish Recipe with Almonds and Golden Raisins
Grain-Free Cauliflower Couscous – Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free Vegan Side Dish Recipe with Almonds and Golden Raisins
 

Chef Katie’s Tips

Nut-Free: Swap out the sliced almonds for sunflower seeds or hemp seeds.

Quicker Prep: For quicker prep, swap out the fresh cauliflower for pre-shredded cauliflower rice. You can find this in the freezer section and refrigerated produce section of most groceries. You need about 6 cups of shredded cauliflower for this recipe, so double-check the amount in the package.

Use a box grater or food processor to make cauliflower "rice". You can use this grain-free veggie to replace rice, couscous, quinoa, or other grains.
Use a box grater or food processor to make cauliflower “rice”. You can use this grain-free veggie to replace rice, couscous, quinoa, or other grains.

Other Veggie Variations: Swap out the cauliflower with other grated vegetables. Shredded broccoli, zucchini, summer squash, carrots, red cabbage, kohlrabi and brussels sprouts all offer interesting flavors. Mix and match for more color and flavor. This is a great way to use up vegetables from your CSA delivery or left in your fridge at the end of the week.

Recipe Inspiration: Inspiration for this recipe came from Simply Recipes. They offer ideas on other mix-ins, like orange zest, walnuts, and cranberries. I also love the idea of sunflower seeds, pecans, dried cherries, and diced fennel.

No Oil: I’m on a mission to get rid of empty calories, like those found in refined oil. For this recipe, you saute the cauliflower in a dry pan. This gives you a lighter, crunchier texture. Oil would create a soggy, heavy flavor.


Watch to Learn More:


Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 163
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3 g 5 %
Saturated Fat 0 g 2 %
Monounsaturated Fat 2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 160 mg 7 %
Potassium 1020 mg 29 %
Total Carbohydrate 33 g 11 %
Dietary Fiber 7 g 29 %
Sugars 20 g  
Protein 5 g 10 %
Vitamin A 5 %
Vitamin C 130 %
Calcium 30 %
Iron 8 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Shopping and Gear List

  • Cuisinart CTG-00-BG Boxed Grater
  • Nature’s Eats Natural Sliced Almonds, 16 Ounce
  • Jumbo Golden California Raisins 1 Pound Bag
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  • I love this! Of course I thought it had couscous in it so I cooked that first. After tasting it though without the couscous I realized that I would save that for another occasion. I did use currants instead of golden raisins since I was out of raisins. Thanks for a delicious recipe!