Traditional Middle-Eastern Tabbouleh
i.e. A Parsley Salad
Let’s get things straight. When you see a tabbouleh out there with more bulgur wheat than greens, we’ve got a bad copy in our hands. Traditional Middle-Eastern tabbouleh is actually more of a parsley salad than a bulgur wheat salad. So substituting in cauliflower rice to make a ketogenic tabbouleh is no big deal after all.
When making this ketogenic tabbouleh, you will have to make sure you make your cauliflower rice right. And by right we mean not over-processing your cauliflower and ending up with fine crumbs (and most definitely not a paste).
But let’s discuss the cauliflower a bit first. Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous family, along with kale, collards, cabbage and brussel sprouts. And while most people can eat these guys raw, those folks with thyroid conditions should always avoid raw cruciferous vegetables. These veggies contain thyroid inhibitors that can worsen thyroid conditions.
This is also the reason why holistic medicine (think Ayurveda), consider cruciferous vegetables cooling.
So what to do with your cauliflower rice? You can either go ahead and eat it raw (it’s more crunchy and gives the tabbouleh more of a bite). But you can also go ahead and give it a quick fry. Think 5 minutes with a touch of olive oil and you are good to go.
Chop up your veggies the right way
The secret to good tabbouleh lies in how you cut your vegetables. So you will want to start by finely dicing the tomatoes (1/2 cm or ¼ inch). Note that the job gets done best with a serrated knife. You will also want your shallot (or onion if substituting for), very finely minced. Just don’t run it in the food processor please, as you still want crunchy bits not a puree.
The same applies to your veggies. Slice your mint leaves and parsley (with the stalks) into 1-2 mm slices with a sharp knife, trying to cut them as thin as possible without bruising the leaves.
You want your tabbouleh (ketogenic or not), crunchy not soupy.
For the tabbouleh
- 1/2 cauliflower head roughly chopped
- 400 g plum tomatoes seeded and very finely diced
- 60 g shallot peeled and very finely chopped
- 160 g flat-leaf parsley leaves & top of stems
- 40 g mint leaves only
For the dressing
Take your cauliflower and place in a food processor. Pulse a couple of times until crumbly (size of rice grains). Do not over process as you will end up with cauliflower puree.
In a medium pan over medium/high heat, warm up 2 teaspoons or so of olive oil. Add your cauliflower rice and cook, stirring so often, for 5-7 minutes. Transfer your cauliflower rice to a plate and set aside to cool.
The secret to good tabbouleh lies in how you cut your vegetables. Start by finely dicing the tomatoes (1/2 cm or ¼ inch). Add them to a large bowl without the seeds nor juice. The job gets done best with a serrated knife.
Slice your mint leaves and parsley (with the stalks) into 1-2 mm slices with a sharp knife, trying to cut them as thin as possible without bruising the leaves and turning them to much. Toss them with the tomatoes.
Make your dressing by mixing together the olive oil, lemon juice, all spice and cinnamon. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Once your cauliflower rice if fully cooled. Toss it together with the finely chopped parsley and mint and tomatoes. Mix in your dressing.
Enjoy immediately for crunchiest results. Though tabbouleh keeps quite well covered in the fridge for up to a day.