Spiced Cauliflower "Couscous"

Cauliflower is a real shape-shifter these days. There’s cauliflower fried rice, cauliflower pizza crust, buffalo cauliflower “wings” -- it’s great to see this versatile vegetable stepping out of its steamer basket comfort zone! One of the magical things about cauliflower is the way that, when blitzed raw in a food processor, it takes on a fluffy, couscous-like consistency. This version of cauliflower “couscous” is spiced up with Vanns Zahtar, Cumin, and Aleppo-Style Chili Flakes for the perfect, surprisingly light side dish to your tagine or kebabs.

Spiced Cauliflower "Couscous"

This dish makes a great side dish for any meal -- if you're looking for a light, fresh take on a grain salad for your Thanksgiving table, give this "couscous" as shot! This dish also makes a great picnic side -- refrigerate before packing it, and then allow it to come up to room temperature as you make your way to your picnic spot.

Spices used in this recipe

Cumin Ground
Salt, Kosher
Aleppo Style Chili Flakes
Peppercorns, Tellicherry, Grinder



  1. If you’re starting with raw cashews, preheat the oven to 400°F. If your cashews are pre-roasted, skip this step. Once the oven is preheated, spread your raw cashews in an even layer on a small baking sheet and toast until just golden, 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. 
  2. Roughly chop the roasted cashews.
  3. Place the raisins or currants in a small bowl and pour the red wine vinegar over them. Cover them with warm water and leave to plump for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. Roughly chop.
  4. Rinse the whole cauliflower and dry well with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Break into medium florets, keeping as much of the stem as possible, then chop the florets into small pieces. Place 2 handfuls of the cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until the pieces are finely chopped, but still have some texture, resembling fluffy couscous. Do not over-process or over-crowd the processor. Place the chopped cauliflower into a large bowl and continue the process with the rest of the florets in batches.
  5. Heat 3 Tbs. olive oil over medium heat in a large cast iron or other heavy-bottomed saute pan. Add the chopped cauliflower and cook, stirring frequently, until it loses its rawness, about 7 minutes. The goal here is not to brown the cauliflower, just to saute some of its raw crunch away.
  6. Remove the cauliflower from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Let cool slightly, then stir in the raisins, cashews, zahtar, cumin, Aleppo-style chili, parsley, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Let the couscous sit at room temperature for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. Taste again for seasoning before serving at room temperature.

Serves 8. 

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