The little grains in this bright, light salad, a culinary trompe l’oeil, are not cracked wheat, tabbouleh’s classic ingredient, but slightly crunchy grated raw cauliflower. The florets are cut from their stems (which you can use for soup or cook and add to mashed potatoes), grated and tossed with tabbouleh’s traditional flavorings: lemon juice, mint, parsley and just a little olive oil. Made with cauliflower, the time-honored salad moves into the twenty-first century.
I like to add golden raisins (for sweetness and chew) and chopped unblanched almonds (for crunch), but the list of possible toss-ins is endless. Consider celery, carrots, scallions, red onions, beets, apples (rub the cut apples with lemon juice to keep them from browning), cucumbers or even pickles. As long as whatever you add is finely chopped or diced — the salad is nicest when all the ingredients are mini and a similar size — you can go on whatever tangent calls to you. This is less a recipe than a terrific idea and a template for playing around.
A Word on Grating: You can grate the florets in a food processor, either by pulsing the machine or fitting it with a grating blade, but I use the large holes on a box grater. It takes about 6 minutes to run through a big head of cauliflower, and the cleanup is quick.