Cauliflower Couscous With Beets & Toasted Hazelnuts

This grain-free and low-carb cauliflower couscous’ is flavoured with gorgeous pink beets, garlic and spices and topped with toasted hazelnuts. This a delicious and healthy paleo alternative to couscous that is also vegan and Whole30 friendly.

Cauliflower couscous with beets & hazelnuts (low-carb, grain-free, paleo, vegan, Whole30)

This cauliflower and beetroot recipe came about as I was thinking about a nice vegetable dish to go with our lamb cutlets. I often make a beetroot, mint and walnut salad with some goats cheese but I wanted something different and fun. At first, I thought of making my yummy cauliflower couscous with pomegranate (recipe in my cookbook) but I had some beets in the fridge and didn’t have pomegranate, so a new dish was born.

I ended up with a beetroot and cauliflower couscous-like salad with roasted hazelnuts, garlic and parsley. It’s such a perfect compliment to a lamb dish and is a fantastic little warm salad on its own. 

Cauliflower couscous with beets & hazelnuts (low-carb, grain-free, paleo, vegan, Whole30)


Cook’s notes

Other nuts can be used instead of hazelnuts. I recommend to toast or roast them for extra flavour. You could use carrot instead of beets for an orange coloured version. You will need a food processor or mad knife skills for this recipe, basically lots of fine chopping.

If you can’t get a hold of hazelnut oil, simply use 4 -5 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil or macadamia oil.

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Cauliflower couscous with beets & hazelnuts (low-carb, grain-free, paleo, vegan, Whole30)

Cauliflower ‘Couscous’ with Beets & Hazelnuts

  • Author: Irena Macri
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Salad
  • Cuisine: Moroccan


Grain-free, low-carb cauliflower ‘couscous’ flavoured with gorgeous pink beets, garlic and spices and topped with toasted hazelnuts. Paleo, vegan (sub honey) and Whole30 (omit the honey).


  • 2/3 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 medium brown onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon ghee/butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 medium raw beetroots, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • 1 medium cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or mint

For the dressing

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Juice of 2/3 medium lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoon hazelnut oil (or extra olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey (omit for Whole30 and replace with maple syrup for a vegan version)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (optional but adds a nice touch)


  1. Heat a medium frying pan and toast the hazelnuts over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Transfer to a bowl and set to cool slightly. Then place them in a towel and rub together with your hands, the shells will peel off easily.
  2. In the same frying pan, sauté the onion in some ghee and a little sea salt for 5-6 minutes, until golden brown and soft. Place beetroot, garlic and most of the hazelnuts (reserve a few whole nuts for garnish) in a food processor and grind into small crumbs. Alternatively chop finely with a knife. Add ground beetroot, garlic and hazelnuts to sautéed onion and cook together for a minute or two, add extra ghee if needed.
  3. Place cauliflower florets in the food processor and grind together into small crumbs. Add to the beetroot mix in the frying pan and stir through for a minute. Transfer everything to a large salad bowl.
  4. Mix and pour the dressing over the salad, add parsley or mint and stir well together. Taste for salt and acidity, add a little more lemon juice if needed. Garnish with whole hazelnuts, parsley and some extra grated lemon zest.

Keywords: Cauliflower, Beets, Beetroot

Cauliflower couscous with beets & hazelnuts (low-carb, grain-free, paleo, vegan, Whole30)

About the author: I share tasty recipes, tips, and meal plans to help you get healthier and lose weight. I am a qualified nutrition coach with an Advanced Diploma in Nutrition & Weight Management. More about me here.

PS. Some posts contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission for purchases made through these links.


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  1. I find the word ‘couscous’ in the title very confusing on two fronts. Firstly, as couscous is a wheat product I would normally have dismissed this recipe immediately just by looking at the title, and secondly, couscous is not used in the recipe. You’ve just lost potential GF/paleo users and confused some poor soul looking for interesting couscous recipes.

    1. The reason it’s called couscous is because it resembles the couscous in its look and feel. It’s well known in the paleo community to use finely ground cauliflower instead of rice or couscous in the recipes that would normally call for the latter. The same as zucchini noodles. Perhaps it should be called Paleo ‘couscous’ – would that have made you actually try the recipe instead rather than focus on the title? It really is tasty, I promise 🙂

    2. i saw ‘couscous’ in the recipe and knew exactly where you were going with it. It’s like reading cauliflower ‘rice’, it just means it’s what it most closely resembles in the paleo world 🙂 it actually drew me into the recipe, as I loved the texture of couscous – different strokes for different folks huh! 😛

  2. You mentioned carrots could replace the beet. Would you guess one or two carrots for the correct portion? Thanks. This looks wonderful and inventive as all your creations are. Please don’t stop! 🙂

  3. YUM made this for dinner tonight, love “hiding” vegies for the kids and it tastes great. Didn’t have a few things so changed it slightly, slivered almonds instead of hazelnuts, limes instead of lemons and wholegrain mustard in place of dijion mustard. DELICIOUS thank you 🙂

  4. Hi, I’m really loving your recipes, but I often like to plan out my meals and cook when I have the spare time so I was wondering if you could include how long these kind of foods last for when refrigerated and whether they can be frozen if possible?

    Thank you!

    1. Thanks Sarah. I will where I can 🙂 A lot of the times the foods don’t last very long because we eat them too quickly.

  5. What a great idea to combine cauliflower with beets!! Gives it a lot of flavor and that beautiful color!

  6. I love the color of this cauliflower and beet dish! The dressing sounds just amazing and I can’t wait to try it with grilled lamb chops. Will it be okay if I prep it the night before? Should I wait to add the dressing right before serving? Thank you!

  7. This is so incredibly gorgeous, I know it’s going to become my new favorite side dish, especially for picnics!

  8. this is so beautiful, colorful and packed with nutrition! I think a good side dish for our July 4th celebrations over here!

  9. Not only are these amazingly flavorful, the color is just so dang gorgeous! The dressing is the best part.

  10. Oh man look at that color! We eat with our eyes first and this dish is gorgeous. I bet it tastes as good as it looks.

  11. I find this recipe to be very intriguing. it gives me a new way of cooking cauliflower. Not to mention i am a big fan of beets. This recipe can stand as a stand alone dish or as a side. Either way, I would love to try it SOON.

  12. That color is amazing! Delicious couscous that can be a wonderful entertainer at my next party – can’t wait to try it!

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