Before I learned about the perils of eating lots of carbs and started (mostly) avoiding grains, I used to LOVE couscous.
I mean its so quick and easy to prepare and has all that carby comforting goodness. What’s not to love?
But as I’ve discovered, couscous didn’t love me.
So it’s been literally years since I made couscous. I had tried using grated raw cauliflower as an alternative. It was fine but didn’t really look or taste like couscous.
Recently I was inspired to try it again. But this time I did a few things differently…
First, I pulsed some cauliflower in the food processor until it was broken down into couscous sized grains.
Then I did the most important thing for making practically anything taste more delicious… I added lots of butter to the pan before warming my cauli ‘couscous’.
To give it better colour and some extra flavour, I added some spice and plenty of salt and pepper.
And the result?
When we sat down to dinner my Irishman asked, ‘is this couscous?’ So it definitely looked the part.
It tasted great. Buttery and comforting like a good couscous should with the added bonus of a bit of spice. So good!
And even better I felt great after eating it. No ‘couscous bloating’… so now I love my cauli couscous and it loves me.
Spiced Cauliflower ‘Couscous’
Ras el hanout is a Moroccan spice blend of over 20 spices so it’s got a lot going on. You’ll need to get it from your favourite spice merchant but if you prefer to keep it simple just use a 50:50 blend of ground cumin and ground coriander. Serve as a side anywhere you’d normally serve couscous or rice or see below for ideas to turn it into a whole meal.
enough for: 2 as a side
takes: 15 minutes
1/2 small cauliflower
3-4 tablespoons butter
1-2 teaspoons Ras El hanout
1 bunch coriander – leaves picked (optional)
handful pinenuts (optional)
1. Whizz the cauli in your food processor until it looks like little grains of couscous.
2. Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add cauli and the spices and stir fry over a medium high heat until everything is warm.
3. Taste and season with lots of salt and pepper. Serve with coriander leaves and pinenuts on top (if using).
no food processor? – you could try hand cutting or grating with a box grater but it will take a while!
no ras el hanout – use a 1/2 teaspoon each of ground cumin and coriander OR substitute the Lebanese spice blend baharat if you have it.
more complete meal – serve with pan fried or BBQ chicken or fish. Or for a veggie meal top with poached or fried eggs or a drained can of chickpeas.
nut-free – just skip the pinenuts or replace with a little chopped red onion for crunch.
carb-lovers – replace some or all of the cauliflower with couscous or quinoa cooked according to the packet.
different herbs – mint, basil, chervil, sorrell or flat leaf parsley are all great.
more veg – soften an onion in the butter before adding the cauli. And stir in chopped red bell peppers (capsicum) or halved cherry tomatoes with the herbs.
What about you?
Got any foods that don’t ‘love you back’ that you’d like to find an alternative for? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.