Cauliflower “Couscous” with Asparagus and Peas

Recipe Information

Total Time: 

30 minutes



In this brightly flavored side dish, cauliflower stands in as a wheat-free alternative to couscous. With cauliflower as the backdrop, all of the fresh spring flavors shine through. You may never look at cauliflower in quite the same way again!


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 12 ounces asparagus
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons mint leaves, julienned
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Break the cauliflower florets apart, cutting the larger ones down until all the pieces are roughly the same size. Place the florets in a food processor and use 8-12 quick pulses to reduce the cauliflower size and texture to slightly smaller than a grain of rice.
  2. In a 12-inch skillet, heat 1/2 cup water and a pinch of salt to a simmer. Add the cauliflower in a single layer. Bring back to a simmer, reduce heat a little, cover and cook cauliflower 5 minutes, or just enough to take the raw edge off, but not so much it becomes soft or loses texture. Remove the cauliflower from the skillet and drain in a colander or mesh strainer, then place in a medium serving bowl.
  3. Heat a small, dry skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and stir frequently. Toast just until they smell nutty and have begun to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Remove the woody ends of the asparagus, then cut each spear on the bias into 1-inch lengths. Wipe out the skillet used for the cauliflower, add the olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute gently for a couple minutes, until translucent. Add the asparagus and continue sauteing a few minutes more, just until the asparagus is al dente. Add the lemon zest and juice, fresh thyme and salt and pepper and cook another 30 seconds or so.
  5. Add the shallot-asparagus mixture, peas, pine nuts and mint to the cauliflower. Drizzle with a little olive oil and toss gently to combine. Adjust the salt and pepper, and lemon juice to taste. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Nutritional Information

171 calories, 10 g. fat, 0 mg. cholesterol, 79 mg. sodium, 18 g. carbohydrate, 7 g. fiber, 7 g. protein