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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 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Salad
  • Cuisine: Moroccan
  • Diet: Gluten Free


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 onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (+ extra if needed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 medium raw beetroots, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or mint

For the dressing

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Juice of 2/3 medium lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons 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 teaspoon honey or maple syrup (omit for Whole30)
  • 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 olive oil and a little sea salt for 5-6 minutes, until golden brown and soft.
  3. 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.
  4. Add ground beetroot, garlic and hazelnuts to sautéed onion and cook together for a minute or two, add extra olive oil if needed.
  5. Place cauliflower florets in the food processor and grind them 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.
  6. Whisk and pour the dressing over the salad, add parsley or mint and stir well together.
  7. Taste for salt and acidity, add a little more lemon juice if needed. Garnish with whole hazelnuts, parsley and some extra grated lemon zest.


  • Other nuts can be used instead of hazelnuts. I recommend toasting or roasting nuts for extra flavour.
  • You can use carrots 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.

Keywords: Cauliflower, Beets, Beetroot, Couscous, Side Dish, Low-Carb, Paleo, Whole30

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