Cauliflower and Kale Salad (Cauliflower Tabouli)

8/3/10 Update: Sorry for repeat post from 2 days ago – my database crashed!!! EEEEKS! So I had to restore from older backup and recreate this post. Public service announcement: BACK UP!!!

At the risk of upsetting my vegetarian, vegan and raw fans, I’ll say this: ban the raw cauliflower. Especially the ones you find on raw veggie platters with a generic dip centerpiece. They’re big, bulky and frankly, quite awkward to eat. By the time you’ve managed to wrap your lips around a hunky floret, the drippy ranch dressing has smeared all over the outside of your lipline that’s just out of reach of a sheepish lick. Classy eats.

It wasn’t until a friend came over with a bowl of Cauliflower and Kale Tabouli Salad from Simon’s Coffee Shop in Sarasota that I began making peace with raw cauliflower. Aha! Grating the cauliflower on the large holes of a box grater completely transforms it into elegant nibs.

In fact, it doesn’t even resemble a vegetable anymore, I’ve had dinner guests puzzled over the bits and my own kids thought it was grated cheese (it certainly looks like it!)

If you’re wondering why it’s called “tabouli” when there isn’t an ounce of it in the salad, it’s because the grated cauliflower sort of resemble the grain for people on a raw food diet. It’s a stretch, but okay, I’ll play along with the metaphor in the name of reconciliation.

How to Make Cauliflower and Kale Salad (video)

In this video, I’ll show you a tip on what you need to do with the kale leaf.

Kale leaf (left) Bagged, chopped kale (right) – you can use either in the recipe. Just remove the tough stalk that runs through length of every leaf.


Cauliflower and Kale Salad (Cauliflower Tabouli)

Servings: 4 Prep Time: 15 Cook Time: 0

It takes about 15 minutes to assemble. Leftovers are perfect refrigerated - the kale and cauliflower stay surprisingly crunchy. If you're buying bagged, chopped kale, use 3 large handfuls of kale - but make sure you tear off and discard the tough stalk that runs the entire length of every leaf.


3 large kale leaves
1/2 head cauliflower
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 stalk, green onion, finely chopped
1 sprig fresh parsley, minced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher/sea salt (1/4 teaspoon table salt)
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


1. Tear the soft leaf of the kale away from the center stalk that runs throughout the length of the kale. Discard the tough stalk. Using a chef's knife, finely chop the kale leaves. Rock back and forth with your knife over the leaves like you are mincing. Add to a large bowl, along with the cherry tomatoes, green onion and parsley.
2. Grate the cauliflower using the large holes of a box grater. Add to the bowl and mix.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and the olive oil. Pour dressing into the bowl and toss gently. Taste and season with additional salt if needed.

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Comments 50

  1. Alta

    I think I could really get into this. Sounds light, fresh, and a way where I would actually LIKE to eat raw cauliflower.

  2. Alanna

    Glad you got your site back! Do you really think that’s it’s cauliflower itself that’s the problem on vegetable trays? I think it’s the size — I always cut both cauliflower and broccoli into small, manageable bites. But the idea of grating cauliflower has my attention, I think I know “just” where to use the technique!

  3. Michelle

    I actually love raw cauliflower and kale has gained some fans at my house in its roasted form. I’m wondering how this would taste if it were quickly sauteed and crisped up with a little olive oil. I can almost taste the roasted flavors together. Yum.

  4. aecheniq

    Have done this and added diced red pepper, raisins, corn (raw or cooked), chopped nuts and cilantro. Can use real tabouli, couscous or the grated cauliflower as the base.

  5. Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries

    I can’t believe I’ve never seen your blog before. Have I been living under a rock?!? I am IN LOVE!!!

  6. Simone (junglefrog)

    Never mind posting it twice… I have actually missed the first one so no harm done here… 🙂 Database crash sounds like the worst nightmare anyway!! Hope all is well now and be happy you got something to restore!
    That salad just looks delicious and I love the combination!

  7. Cookin Canuck

    Now this is a great way to enjoy cauliflower! It never would have occurred to me to grate it into a salad, though I have done something similar with Brussels sprouts.

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  10. cath

    Hi Jaden, do you think this salad would last if i made it the night before? i have a tour group coming to our saturday market, and i have to provide a taste tester. this sounds perfect!

      1. susan

        I love this recipe and should have responded before. I added avocado to it tonight, which was wonderful. I use the grater inside a glass pyrex baking pan with 1 1/2 ” sides which helps to keep the cauliflower from getting all over the countertop, and also place a cutting board in the pan for the same reason. Thank you so much for this great recipe.

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  12. Bliss Siman

    We made this for Rosh Hashonah (the Jewish New Year). EVERYONE loved it. That is when they got over questioning whether it had cheese since we were eating a meatless meal. Just wonderful and we were able to expand it to serve twelve. THANKS

  13. Veena.N.K

    Awesome Salad dear! Wonderful, I love everything about this salad like the name, color, the ingredients and the dressing too! Keep it coming!

  14. FabFrugalFood

    I just made this today and had to run back immediately to RAVE. This is just phenomenal – and insanely healthy to boot! Thanks for a new keeper in my kitchen.

  15. Susan Martin

    I just made this salad along with the Pear and Gorgonzola Flatbread…delicious with a bottle of white wine. The salad was cruncy and yummy! Thanks…

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  17. Mikey

    Just made this and loved it. Added some goat cheese rolled in bread crumbs and sauteed. I’ve got to be the healthiest eating 28-year old bachelor.

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  19. Mariah

    Hi love this site! I just came across it today and I can’t wait to try some of your recipes. I just became a fan on your facebook too!

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  21. Carla

    I am in love with this recipe. Of course I decimate it by using my food processor and it turns out as a Cauliflower couscous tabouli, but I still love it and it takes no more than three minutes to make once I have everything ready for the processor. I eat at least a cup full every morning with lemon peppered tilapia fillet. I get up extra early to make it so I don’t have to share the meal with my children! LOL! They eat the salad with any meal as a side. Thank God my children love salad, this recipe has been a welcome addition to our lives.

  22. Cathy

    We love cauliflower so of course had to make this salad. However, my kids aren’t into all raw veg, so I changed it up a bit. Used swiss chard rather than kale, blanched half of the chard leaves and all stems, julienned the rest, grated half the cauliflower and roasted the other half. For the dressing, used 2 T walnut oil and 2 t pomegranate molasses and the lemon juice and garlic. One word – scrumptious! Thank you for the wonderful idea of grating cauliflower, my brain is spinning with all kinds of new recipes.

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  25. Melissa

    I just made this and I absolutely love it. I added some fresh basil as well, super delicious. Thanks for sharing!

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  27. holly

    I’m a huge kale lover and hoard kale salad recipes like they are gold. This one was a serious WINNER. Thanks so much!!

  28. Deb

    OK, this is nothing like tabouli. Where’s the cumin? And the bulgar wheat is not tabouli, tabouli is a salad made with bulgar wheat, parsley, vegetables, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and cumin. But thank you for suggesting using cauliflower instead of the wheat! I love tabouli, it’s one of my favorite foods. But I’m allergic to wheat and for some reason never thought to try this substitution. I’m going to try my own recipe for tabouli this weekend and substitute cauliflower for the wheat.

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