Herby Spiced Cauliflower ‘Couscous’

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While I love Munich, my mind is already drifting off to our next holiday location – the magical island of Cyprus, where I was lucky enough to spend several years living in the tiny village of Bellapais. When I think of Cyprus I always imagine the pomegranate trees laden with fruit, the great tall almond trees in the garden and funnily enough, cauliflower. Strange, but true, Cyprus is not only the birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite but quite possibly the origin of the humble cauli. 

Hands up if you are not a fan of cauliflower? You’re not alone. So many people dread the very thought of it, having vivid childhood memories of sad, boiled to death vegetables. I am here to tell you that cauliflower can be absolutely delicious, packed with flavour, with not a hint of boiled brassica about it.

 

I love it when is a recipe is an absolute revelation. This is one of those recipes that is so tasty and easy you’ll have it on constant rotation. The way it works is this: cauliflower florets are quickly blitzed in the food processor, fried very briefly with some aromatic spices, then loaded up with all those amazing flavours I associate with Cyprus; fresh herbs, lemon juice, dried fruit, nuts and salty, creamy feta cheese. Topped with sparkling, jewel-like pomegranate this dish is not only beautiful but extremely tasty too. You could easily have it as a meal by itself, but it pairs perfectly with grilled meats or as a side for a lightly spiced curry or tagine. Bonus points for being gluten-free!

The ingredient list here might look long, but they are mostly store cupboard spices – and while these suit my tastes, feel free to mix them up as you see fit.

Cauliflower come in all shapes and sizes – I recommend using the whole of a small or medium cauliflower, or half of an extra large one. Around 1kg (without leaves) is right for this dish.

 

Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!

Herby Spiced Cauliflower Couscous

Herby Spiced Cauliflower 'Couscous'

Cauliflower, quickly blitzed in the food processor, fried very briefly with some aromatic spices, then loaded up with all the amazing flavours I associate with Cyprus; fresh herbs, lemon juice, dried fruit, nuts and salty, creamy feta cheese. Topped with sparkling, jewel-like pomegranate this dish is not only beautiful but extremely tasty too.
Course Salad
Cuisine American, Mediterranean
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • ½ - 1 head cauliflower, ca. 1kg
  • 3-4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 400 g tin chickpeas
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 100 g sultanas, soaked in warm water
  • 100 g almonds, roughly chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 100 g feta, crumbled
  • seeds of ½ a pomegranate
  • small bunch of parsley
  • small bunch of mint
  • sea salt & black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower and give it a quick rinse. Cut into quarters, then cut out the thick stem. Break the cauliflower down into florets, then working in two batches, pulse the florets in a food processor (see note) until they have a texture similar to couscous - don’t over process them or they will purée. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  • In a large, non-stick frying pan, heat the oil. Add the chickpeas and cinnamon and fry for two to three minutes. Remove using a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the cauliflower, cumin, paprika, turmeric, coriander and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper, then stir through the spring onion and the drained sultanas.
  • Turn off the heat, stir through the reserved chickpeas, almonds, lemon zest, juice and feta. Taste to see if it has enough salt and lemon juice, adding a little more if necessary. Sometimes I stir through a teaspoon of honey here too, but that’s up to you. Top with pomegranate seeds and plenty of torn parsley and mint, toss lightly then serve immediately.

TIPS & TRICKS:

If you don’t have a food processor, try grating the cauliflower with a coarse grater. As it has a tendency to go everywhere, I’d suggest laying a tea towel underneath to catch any debris.

This recipe tastes fantastic cold too so make plenty and pack the leftovers (if they haven’t all been eaten!) to take to work the next day.

Feel free to experiment with your favourite spices, nuts and herbs!

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