While there really isn’t a style of cuisine out there that I don’t like, I’ve always been attracted to Mediterranean food more than most. Between the olives, hummus, fresh seafood and vegetables, there’s not much more I could need.
Last summer, my family and I celebrated my college graduation with a trip to Greece, Italy and Croatia, and my love for these flavors was deepened even more. I’ve never experienced more incredible food as I did in Santorini, Mykonos, Capri and so on. My family still talks about how we could honestly dive into a vat of the homemade tzatziki that graced every plate. Can you tell I’m obsessed?
Well, while my own kitchen doesn’t have quite the same charm as the Greek Isles, I sure did find that these foods can be deliciously recreated at home. And one of my all-time favorite Middle Eastern/Mediterranean dishes is tabbouli thanks to its fresh and light flavors.
While traditional tabbouli is made with bulgur, a Middle Eastern grain of dried, cracked wheat, I decided to use cauliflower rice instead. Not only does this swap add more veggie-goodness to this recipe, but it also requires zero cooking or preparation if you buy the pre-riced cauliflower at the store. Plus, it’s a great gluten-free option for those with sensitivities or simply trying to avoid gluten.
Cauliflower is also one of my favorite vegetables to roast, use in soups or sauté in a stir-fry. This cruciferous veggie is incredibly high in fiber to promote healthy digestion and various other antioxidants and phytonutrients that protect against cancer, improve learning and memory and boost cardiovascular health.
Plus, if you pay attention to food trends, you’ve likely seen that cauliflower can basically be anything these days–pizza crust, gnocchi, rice…the list goes on. If you haven’t given cauliflower a shot at replacing your favorite, gluten-filled foods, then this recipe is the perfect first step!
In addition to cauliflower rice, you can add any other fresh vegetables that you love and have on hand. I personally chose celery, cucumber and cherry tomatoes for a variety of textures, colors and flavors. But carrots, bell peppers and more would likewise be incredible in this tabbouleh.
For a little extra Mediterranean flair, I added olives, of course. I’m a total olive fiend and had to hold myself back from eating the whole jar while throwing this dish together. I’ve truly never had better olives than I did on our trip to Greece, but you can also find tasty varieties at most local groceries. Just make sure to look for those that don’t include any preservatives or vegetable oils.
Plus, not only do olives add complexity and flavor to this and every recipe, but they’re also packed with vitamin E and other antioxidants that support the heart and might even protect against osteoporosis and cancer. Plus, the healthy monounsaturated fats in olives and olive oil are praised for their ability reduce inflammation in the body, which minimizes disease risk considerably.
Now onto another important part of this recipe–the shrimp! They’re one of my favorite proteins to whip up for dinner, given they take no time at all to cook and can be amped up with flavor so easily. Simply allow to soak in this Mediterranean marinade, and you’re good to go. The flavors likewise pair perfectly with the tabbouleh for a gorgeous, healthy meal in no time.
If you’re interested in the health benefits of shrimp or are looking for more ways to put them to use, check out my Spring Veggie & Shrimp Pasta with Creamy Avocado Sauce. And as always, make sure to purchase high quality, responsibly-sourced seafood each and every time. It makes all the difference for your body and our planet.
While it’s obvious that I’m on the Mediterranean diet bandwagon through-and-through, this recipe is one that everyone will enjoy. Loaded with fresh herbs, a variety of vegetables and lean protein, this tabbouli and shrimp are sure to leave you satisfied and transported to sunny Santorini, even if just for a minute .
- 1 bag (about 16 oz) riced cauliflower
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced
- ½ large cucumber, diced
- 2 large celery stalks, diced
- ½ red onion, minced
- ½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted & chopped
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- zest of 1 large lemon
- ⅓ cup fresh parsley, minced
- ¼ cup fresh mint, minced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional; more or less to taste)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 lb shrimp, peeled & devained (tails left on)
- ¼ cup avocado oil (can sub olive oil)
- ¼ cup lemon juice (1 large lemon)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- salt & pepper to taste
Combine avocado oil, lemon juice, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
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