Cauliflower Couscous w/ Quick Pickled Red Onions

DSC_0329Cauliflower is the new black. I swear this vegetable has made the biggest comeback (in the most delightful way) in the past couple of years. Currently you can find cauliflower as a gluten free option for just about anything, including (but not limited to); pizza doughs, pasta dishes, and several baked goods. It is such a versatile little veggie that is pretty subtle in flavor and will take on pretty much whatever you wish of it. I wanted to make a cauliflower couscous after I saw this recipe. What an incredible way to eat a ton of veggies in one big bowl! It really feels like you are eating “real” couscous (you know the kind that is made with all the glutens and flours?)! Except, in this recipe you are consuming a vegan, gluten-free, and insanely delicious salad without any of the, so-called naughty, carbohydrates. The best part about the entire bowl, is that you can eat the whole thing and never once feel guilty. You could even hit up some seconds! Sounds like a winner on the neat and clean eating front. Oh, I shouldn’t forget to note that I have been wanting to share my recipe for quick pickled red onions for some time now. Pickled onions are one of the easiest ways to add so much flavor to any meal. I like to keep a jar on hand for quick weeknight salads or lunchtime sandwiches. It takes but thirty minutes for the pickled onions to deliver a zesty tang, a faint spiciness, with just a hint of garlic. Quick, easy, and flavorful is like the trifecta of awesomeness. These were the perfect addition for the cauliflower couscous. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did! Excuse me while I head back for another helping… DSC_0285












Cauliflower Couscous w/ Quick Pickled Red Onions

Serves 4

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Prep Time
30 min

Total Time
45 min

Prep Time
30 min

Total Time
45 min

For the Quick Pickled Red Onions
  1. 1 small-medium red onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
  2. 2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
  3. 1 cup rice vinegar (you could use any light vinegar; white wine vinegar or even apple cider vinegar)
  4. 1 tsp sugar
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. 2 tsp peppercorns (I used multicolored peppercorns)
  7. 1 tsp dried rosemary
  8. 1 tsp red pepper flakes
For the Cauliflower Couscous
  1. 1 head of cauliflower
  2. 1/2 cup pine nuts
  3. 1 english cucumber
  4. 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  5. 1/2 cup shelled edamame
  6. 1 large handful fresh basil, chopped
  7. 1 large handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  8. 1 large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  9. 1 lemon, zest and juice
  10. 1 TBSP honey (or agave if vegan)
  11. 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  12. 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  13. 1/2 tsp salt
  14. 1/2 tsp pepper
  15. 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  16. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the Quick Pickled Red Onions
  1. In a large stockpot, bring about a quart of water to a boil. Thinly slice the red onion and add to a large glass bowl. Once you have finished crying, pull the slices apart from each other and separate them with your fingers. Pour the boiling water into the glass bowl and let the onions sit for about 30-45 seconds in the water. Drain the par-blanched onions into a strainer. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, salt and sugar and mix until dissolved. Add the garlic, peppercorns, rosemary, and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Add the onions into a clean glass jar or container you wish to store them in (I had to pack the onions down in the jar to fit all the slices). Pour the seasoned vinegar over the onion slices (I added just a tad bit more vinegar to the top of the onions so that they were all covered in the liquid). Place the onions in the fridge and let them sit for at least 30 minutes before using. They will store in the air-tight container for up to two weeks in the fridge.
For the Cauliflower Couscous
  1. Bring a large saucepan with water to a boil (add 1/2 tsp salt to the water). Meanwhile, cut off the cauliflower stem and chop the cauliflower into florets and add them to the bowl of your food processor (if your food processor is small you should work in batches). Pulse a few times until you reach a couscous texture (careful not to pulse too much or it will turn into cauliflower paste, ew!). Pour the cauliflower bits into the boiling water and let cook for about three minutes (we aren’t trying to cook the cauliflower here, just taking the raw edge off). Drain the cauliflower couscous into a fine mesh sieve (try and get a much water off as you can). Add the couscous to a large bowl and fluff with a fork.
  2. In a dry skillet, add the pine nuts. Toast them over med-heat, stirring occasionally until slightly toasted and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set them aside. In a small bowl, combine all the vinaigrette ingredients; lemon zest and juice, honey, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and whisk well to combine. Add the dressing to the couscous and continue to fluff with a fork. Add the toasted pine nuts, the dried cranberries and the edamame to the couscous. Cut the english cucumber in half, and using a spoon, scoop out all the seeds of the cucumber (this is an important step because the seeds add too much water to the salad if you leave them in). Chop the cucumber and add it to the salad. Add all the chopped herbs and give one last stir to mix. Top each bowl with some of the pickled red onion slices and serve immediately. Store the salad in an airtight container for 2-3 days in the fridge.
  1. This couscous salad makes enough for four people as a side and is plenty for two people as a main.

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