It’s amazing to me how the oft-overlooked cauliflower has risen to prominence lately. I mean, yes, cauliflower is a delicious vegetable in its own right. Simply steamed, roasted in a casserole, mashed, or even tucked into those California-Style veggie blends you can pick up for a quick side in the freezer section. But using it as a sub for rice or other grains is pure genius for reducing gut bloating carbohydrates and producing even and consistent glycemic levels. And it’s as easy as 1-2-3 with this Lemony Parmesan Pea “Couscous”.
I came across this method for “couscous” during a spat of pure laziness on my part. Normally for “cauliflower rice”, I grate the cauliflower on a box grater or use that grater attachment on the cuisinart — but they were both in the dishwasher — and here’s the lazy — I didn’t feel like washing them.
So I just tossed the raw cauliflower into the cuisinart with the regular blade and zhuzhed. And I didn’t get rice. I got couscous.
Change of plans… The “grains” were so fine that I knew if I added any liquid to them, it was all going to turn to mush. I don’t think it would have even held up in a saute pan with butter or olive oil. After checking a few sources, I found that microwaving would cook it enough to make it tender without the mush factor that Scott can’t tolerate in his veg.
It works! But I should warn you, if you’re not a fan of cauliflower, this method will fool your eyes, but not your tastebuds.
I’ve added some frozen peas, lemon zest and garlic for flavor and a little eye appeal, plus those sweet grape tomatoes. Freshly grated parmesan cheese gives the “couscous” a little more richness, but if you want to stick to a vegan plan, skip the cheese.
Lemony Parmesan Pea "Couscous"
- 1/2 head cauliflower
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 cup peas frozen
- 1 cup grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, depending on how big they are, halved or quartered
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest freshly grated
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano finely grated + extra for serving
- salt and pepper to taste
- pepper to taste
- Cut the cauliflower into small florets and add them to the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the cauliflower is chopped into fine granules resembling couscous. Transfer the cauliflower to a bowl. Add the olive oil, garlic and peas. Toss to coat and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave for 3 minutes on high power. Add the tomatoes, lemon zest and Parmigiano Reggiano and toss until well combined. Check for seasoning, adding salt or pepper if needed. Serve with additional grated Parmigiano Reggiano if desired.
More Grain-Free Sides: