The secret to this fabulous side dish is cauliflower – not as an addition to a salad of couscous grains, but as a replacement. That’s right – it’s all cauliflower, finely chopped to the size of couscous or rice grains, then tumbled with lemon, chiles and fresh herbs. Cauliflower holds its texture beautifully, either raw or, in this case, sautéed, providing a mild, nutty flavor and firm bite that will likely leave your dinner guests stymied and then pleasantly surprised. And not only is it a healthy ingredient, it provides a great gluten-free option to a grain side dish.
Warm Cauliflower Couscous with Lemon and Chiles
Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish
1 small head cauliflower
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 thin scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped
1 gypsy sweet pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Remove the leaves and core of the cauliflower. Coarsely chop the florets and place in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the florets until they are finely chopped, 10 to 12 times.
2. Heat the oil and melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and salt and sauté until beginning to color, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, red chili flakes, paprika, and cumin. Continue to cook until the cauliflower is tender but not mushy, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Taste for seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature.