Recipe: Mediterranean Cauliflower Couscous Salad

updated Feb 3, 2020
Mediterranean Cauliflower Couscous Salad
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(Image credit: Andrea Bemis)

Ah, couscous! The food so nice they named it twice. Except this isn’t really couscous. It’s cauliflower. And I feel like I won a gold medal in the kitchen when my couscous-loving husband didn’t bat an eye while he gobbled up this “pretend” version. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t usually like when food is referred to something it’s not. However, the texture is so close to the real deal you won’t miss a beat and honestly, I wouldn’t know what else to call it!

(Image credit: Andrea Bemis)

Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables we grow on our farm. We are still a few weeks out until our cauliflower is ready, but other farms in our valley are already harvesting this lovely brassica and I was really excited to get my hands on some!

Cauliflower is so tender in the spring that it seems silly to toss it in the oven. Don’t get me wrong — roasted cauliflower is one of my favorite side dishes and despite what I just said, I’ll probably end up roasting some very soon. However, right now I’m enjoying as many vegetables as I can in their most pure state.

The Mediterranean flavors really shine in this simple spring salad and the roasted chickpeas add a lovely crunch. Grab a fork and dig in! Cauliflower “couscous” is a winner in our household and I hope you all enjoy it as much as we do.

(Image credit: Andrea Bemis)

Mediterranean Cauliflower Couscous Salad

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


For the chickpeas:

  • 1 cups

    (15-ounce) can chickpeas (1 1/2 cups), drained, rinsed, and patted completely dry

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon


  • 1/8 teaspoon

    cayenne pepper

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons

    freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1

    clove garlic, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon


  • 1/4 cup

    extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad:

  • 1

    large head cauliflower, cut into florets

  • 1 1/2 cups

    cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1/2

    medium red onion, diced

  • 1/3 cup

    pitted kalamata olives, finely chopped

  • 1

    English cucumber, finely chopped

  • 1 cup

    fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

  • 1/3 cup

    pine nuts

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes

  • Salt and pepper


  1. Roast the chickpeas: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. Place all the chickpea ingredients in a medium bowl and toss to combine. Transfer to a rimmed parchment-lined baking sheet and spread into a single layer. Roast until slightly browned and crisp, stirring halfway through, 35 to 40 minutes total.

  2. Make the dressing: Place the lemon juice, garlic, mustard, and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking continuously. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed; set aside.

  3. Make the salad: Place the cauliflower florets in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment (work in batches if needed). Pulse until the cauliflower reaches a fine, crumbled consistency. Be careful not to over process; you don't want to purée the cauliflower at all. (For step-by-step instructions, see How to Make Couscous Out of Cauliflower.)

  4. Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl. Add the remaining salad ingredients and toss to combine. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Top with the roasted chickpeas and serve.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: With the exception of the roasted chickpeas, which won't stay crispy, the salad can be made a day ahead of time and storeod in the refrigerator.

Storage: Leftover salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.