#HealthyHoliday Soul Food Blog Carnival: Mediterranean-Inspired Salad with Cauliflower Couscous

Mediterranean-Inspired Salad with Cauliflower Couscous

Everyone has their own definition of what being healthy means. For me, it’s enjoying mostly–within my budget and whenever possible–organic food my body allows in moderation. Sure, organic cow’s whole milk is used when cooking, but drinking a glass of whole milk isn’t for me. White sugar is gradually being replaced with coconut sugar (I’m giving away the white stuff). Wheat doesn’t affect me at all, but I’m experimenting with coconut flour. And, there’s plenty of soul recipes on this site with healthy alternatives, such as Black-eye Pea and Wild Brown Rice Risotto with Seared Baby Lamb Chops and Saute Swiss Chard, Duck and Turnip Stew with Dandelion Greens and Red Beans and Chicken with Wild Rice

My contribution to the “Healthy Holiday Soul Food Blog Carnival” isn’t quite “Soul Food” by Southern African-American definition, but couscous originates from North Africa. It’s a mediterranean-inspired classic salad with Kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, chickpeas for protein, fresh mint and parsley, feta cheese (If lactose-intolerant, omit it) and sweet red onion. The couscous in this recipe isn’t from wheat. It’s cauliflower granules, made by processing florets in a food processor. The technique is from Chef Jeff Schwarz, who writes a series for T Magazine, called Visiting the Source | A Chef in the Field, which each article features one seasonal ingredient.

Looking for additional soulful and healthy recipes? Discover more using the hashtag, #healthyholidays. The event is organized by Renee M Simpson RD of SoulFoodTherapy.com. Either stick to your family’s traditional holiday recipes, replace a few ingredients with healthier options, or try a complete vegan meal. I balance all options with frequent sweets, because the holiday would be incomplete without them.

Mediterranean-Inspired Salad with Cauliflower Couscous

Mediterranean-Inspired Salad with Cauliflower Couscous

"Cauliflower Couscous" is inspired by New York Times article, Visiting the Source | A Chef in the Field: Cauliflower.

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower; cut into 2-inch florets
  • 2 tbsp. + ¼ cup olive oil; more as needed
  • 2 cups water
  • The zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sea Salt; as needed
  • Fresh black pepper; as needed
  • 2 whole roast red peppers; roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped kalamata olives
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1-14 oz. canned chickpeas; rinsed and drained
  • 1 small red onion; minced
  • ¼ cup minced fresh mint
  • ¼ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Crushed red pepper; as needed
  • 3 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small garlic clove; minced
  • (not pictured/optional) 5 to 10 oz of baby greens

Directions

  1. Place cauliflower florets into a food processor. Pulse a few times until the cauliflower is a similar consistency and size to couscous.
  2. Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil, water, the zest of one lemon, bay leaf, sea salt and fresh black pepper in a large skillet. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  3. Add “cauliflower couscous” to the skillet. Occasionally stir and cook for three to four minutes. Like pasta, the “cauliflower couscous” should be firm to the bite and soft. Drain over a large fine-sieve strainer and rinse with cold water. Discard the bay leaf. Set aside.
  4. Add roast red peppers, kalamata olives, feta cheese, chickpeas, red pepper, mint and parsley to a large bowl. Add the “cauliflower couscous”.
  5. Make a quick vinaigrette, by whisking the lemon juice, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, white balsamic vinegar and garlic. Adjust seasoning. Whisk in quarter-cup of olive oil. Mix vinaigrette into the vegetables and “cauliflower couscous”.
  6. If immediately serving, gently toss in baby greens. If pre-packing for lunch or for another day, separately pack greens.
  7. Enjoy.
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