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Herb “Rice” Salad
I’m visiting my family in Pennsylvania this week, and happy anticipation of grilling on the deck and splashing in the pool fueled my get-ready, packing frenzy. As long-time readers know, my mom and dad are (in)famous for their mad cooking skillz. One of my favorite summer recipes was my mom’s rice salad. Cool and slippery, it looked like colorful confetti in the bowl: white rice flecked with green peas, chopped scallions, diced tomatoes, and sliced black olives, all dressed with tangy lemon juice and olive oil.
When I should have been finishing Well Fed 2 and packing and house cleaning, I was playing around in the kitchen with cauliflower instead, working to devise a paleo version of that perfect summer salad.
What?! I got to my flight on time.
I feel pretty confident that this revised “rice” salad could hold its own next to my mom’s original in a side-by-side taste test. I replaced the white rice with cauliflower rice, swapped sweet-hot peppadew peppers for the tomatoes, and skipped the peas all together (bad legumes!), plus added a bunch of fresh herbs for good measure. Taste the summer!
NOTE: Peppadew peppers are apparently a “thing”… who knew?! I find mine in the deli section of our regular grocery store and in the olive bar of our fancy grocery. If you can’t find them locally, you can buy them line. More details about the little cuties here. Also note: Peppadew peppers contain a little sugar, so if you’re doing the Whole30, replace them with plain roasted red peppers.
ALSO: Peppadew peppers are not Whole30 approved. To make this recipe compliant with the Whole30, just replace the Peppadews with homemade or jarred roasted red peppers.
Herb “Rice” Salad
Serves 4 | Prep 15 minutes | Chill 1 hour | Whole30 approved (w/ roasted red peppers)
1 head fresh cauliflower
1/4 teaspoon + 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large scallions
1 bunch chives
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves
6 peppadew peppers or roasted red peppers (Roasted red peppers are Whole30 compliant.)
1/3 cup large, pitted black olives
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Break the cauliflower into florets, removing the stems. Place the florets in the food processor bowl and pulse until the cauliflower looks like rice. This takes about 10 to 15 one-second pulses. You may need to do this in two batches to avoid overcrowding (which leads to mush).
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, about 3 minutes. Add the cauliflower rice, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid, and let it gently cook for about 5 minutes, until just tender. Remove from heat and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Transfer to a medium bowl; add lemon juice and olive oil. Mix well and place in refrigerator to cool while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
While the rice is chillin’ in the fridge, get busy on the rest of the veggies. Thinly slice the green and white parts of the scallion. Mince the chives. Coarsely chop the basil and parsley. Cut the peppers into eighths and the olives into quarters. Place everything in a large mixing bowl and toss with two wooden spoons to combine. Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, the black pepper, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss again.
Remove the cauliflower rice from the fridge and mix with the veggies. Toss to combine, then return to the fridge to allow flavors to meld for about an hour. This hold up very well in the refrigerator and four days after I made my batch, it still tasted great.
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So excited to try this. I forgot about rice salad!! Used to be a summer fave of mine!
I am going to have to make this salad this coming weekend–sounds soo yummy! Love those peppers too!
This looks amazing! I’ve been craving Tabouli lately and this reminds me of it. i just happen to have a mighty huge head of cauliflower in the fridge from my CSA that could be this. Also I wanted to share with you, I made some lamb burgers the other day and they reminded me so much of your cookbook and the use of spices you have. I think you would love them. Thanks for all the delicious recipe you have given us.
This is kinda like tabbouleh… and here’s my tabbouleh recipe made with cauliflower, too:
Thanks for the link — will definitely check it out. LOVE lamb burgers!
Oooooohhhhh…. love this! Need to make ASAP!
Thanks so much for posting this recipe! I’m on day 21 of a 30 to 60 day elimination diet–paleo-based but without eggs and nuts, which is making me crazy. Luckily, I had all of the ingredients on hand except for the peppers and the parsley. It still came out great. Oh, I added a clove of pressed garlic and think it enhanced the other flavors. Yum! I’ll be making this again. Very grateful for the recipe. Looking forward to the tasty leftovers!
Oh, this is perfect for the summer! I will definitely have to try it.
Thanks for the inspiration! Just made a batch using what I had around (cauliflower, kale, parsley, olives, tomatoes) and I know I’ll love it with dinner tonight.
PS – How do you get your picture to show up next to your name? Thx.
This was soooo good. I can’t wait to take this to a picnic and show it off. Thank you!!
This sounds wonderful. And I love the variations on a theme that other readers presented. Can’t wait to buy some cauliflower. Thanks for sharing!
What do they use for the Peppadew’s marinade – it tastes so sweet – are they naturally THAT sweet, or is it more likely sugar in the marinade??
There’s sugar in there. I have the Peppadew brand jars. Here are the ingredients (mild version):
Sweet Piquante Peppers, Water, Sugar, Vinegar,
Salt, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid & Calcium Chloride.
Serving is 30g or 1/3 cup
Hi there.. might be a dumb question but in step 2 is the cauli being cooked in water or just dry in a pan? You don’t specify..I’m assuming it’ll be in water and then the cauli needs to be drained but might be wrong. Hoping to make this tonight for dinner. Cheers!
No water! The cauliflower just gets soft enough to not have that raw bite.
OMG this is fantastic!!! Just made some because bazil is in the stores, very tastey! Cant wait to taste it tomorrow after it has time to sit overnight!
I LOVE you. Thank you for so many and varied WHOLE30 recipes. I am on day 66 of my WHOLE100 and was looking for a little fresh inspiration. Your site is my new favorite. Thank you!! 🙂
Good on you — 66 days! That’s so great. I’m glad you liked this recipe. Hope the rest of your Whole100 time treats you well.