These vegan and gluten-free cauliflower quinoa tabouli bowls are loaded with nutrition, flavor and texture. They feature roasted cauliflower, quinoa tabouli, kale, kalamata olives, pickled red onions and creamy tahini sauce.

A bright bowl of healthy ingredients pickled onions, cauliflower, quinoa, kale and olives.

Ingredient Notes

Here are a few notes about the ingredients you’ll need to make this salad:

  1. Quinoa tabouli. This is a simple tabouli salad made with quinoa, parsley, mint, tomato and cucumber. If you’re missing the mint, no problem but it is a nice touch. For an alternative that happens to be grain-free, try this mashed chickpea tabouli salad.
  2. Roasted cauliflower. The cauliflower is roasted with olive oil, lemon and spices but can be made oil-free by replacing the oil with a splash of vegetable broth for roasting.
  3. Quick pickled onions. These can be made up to a week in advance. All you need is onions and vinegar. Get the full instructions here.
  4. Kale. Kale is sturdy so works well for leftovers and meal prep. Spinach makes a suitable replacement but won’t hold up as well as kale for leftovers.
  5. Olives. I think kalamata olives are best here but green or black olives would also be suitable. Not an olive fan? No problem, just leave them out. You could try some roasted red peppers instead!
A head of cauliflower and 2 lemon wedges on a cutting board.

Recipe Method and Tips

It might seem like there’s a lot going on here but the recipe is actually quite easy to make and works especially well for meal prep.

Here’s the flow I would recommend making this recipe:

  1. Boil water and pour over the sliced onions, let those sit for 15 minutes.
  2. While the onions are soaking, prep the cauliflower and get it in the oven.
  3. Start cooking the quinoa. While it’s cooking, finish making the pickled onions and set those aside then prep the ingredients for the tabouli.
  4. Mix up the tahini sauce and prep the kale.
  5. Once the cauliflower is done, assemble the bowls and dig in!

How to Make the Roasted Cauliflower

Chopped cauliflower in a bowl with spices.
Chopped cauliflower on a parchment paper lined baking tray.

For the roasted cauliflower, chop up the cauliflower and toss with olive oil, lemon, cumin, coriander, paprika, garlic powder, sea salt and pepper. Roast the cauliflower in the oven until browned and crispy.

Quick Tip: Want some heat to your cauliflower? Add up to 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper or red chili flakes.

How to Make the Quinoa Tabouli

Chopped tomato on a cutting board.
Chopped parsley on a cutting board.
Quinoa tabouli salad in a bowl on a cutting board.

This quinoa tabouli is a simple mixture of quinoa, lemon, parsley, mint, lemon juice, tomato, cucumber, salt and pepper. Although simple, it’s full of flavor and very delicious, so it can even be enjoyed on its own for a light and healthy meal.

To make it, start cooking the quinoa while you chop the veggies. Once the quinoa is cooked, mix everything together and season with lemon, salt and pepper.

How to Make the Tahini Sauce

All that’s required for this step is whisking the ingredients together until smooth and creamy. No blending needed!

Quick Tip: Depending on the tahini you use, you may need more than 3 tbsp of water to reach the right xonsistency. Start with 3 tbsp and slowly add more until the sauce is thick and creamy but pourable.

Creamy tahini sauce in a small dish with a spoon.

You’re almost there! Finish up by prepping the kale. Wash it, tear the leaves away from the thick stems and finely chop them.

Quick Tip: Since we’re leaving the kale raw, I recommend massaging it with a small amount of olive oil to help soften it up. If you prefer, gently cook the kale until it turns dark green and is lightly wilted.

A bright bowl of healthy ingredients pickled onions, cauliflower, quinoa, kale and olives.
A bright bowl of healthy ingredients pickled onions, cauliflower, quinoa, kale and olives.

How to Meal Prep this Recipe

If you’re making this for meal prep, wash and chop the kale and make the tahini dressing, roasted cauliflower, and quinoa tabouli ahead of time. Store in the fridge and assemble as needed or divide into 4 containers to grab and go for healthy meals as you need them.

More Healthy Bowl Recipes

Loving this bright and beautiful bowl? Here are some more to try:

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A bright bowl of healthy ingredients pickled onions, cauliflower, quinoa, kale and olives.

Cauliflower Quinoa Tabouli Bowls

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Entree, Salad
  • Method: Oven, Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten-Free

These delicious bowls require a few steps but the effort is well worth it! Spiced, tender roasted cauliflower, creamy and tangy tahini sauce, flavourful quinoa tabouli…these are so good!


Scale

Ingredients

For the Quinoa Tabouli

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 34 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint (optional, approx. 67 large leaves)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 a cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 tsp each sea salt and black pepper

For the Roasted Cauliflower

For the Tahini Sauce

  • 4 tbsp tahini
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp water plus more as needed to reach thick but pourable consistency

For the Bowls

  • 8 kalamata olives per bowl
  • 1/41/2 cup pickled red onions per bowl
  • 1 cup finely chopped kale per bowl (massage with a tiny bit of olive oil and lemon to soften, if desired)

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Chop the cauliflower into small pieces and add to a bowl with the spices, olive oil and lemon juice. Use your hands to thoroughly coat each piece. Spread on baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes until tender and browned.
  2. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions. While the quinoa is cooking, add the rest of the tabouli ingredients to a bowl. Once the quinoa is cooked, add that to the bowl and mix well.
  3. Add the tahini sauce ingredients to a small dish and stir vigorously until smooth and creamy, slowly adding more water to reach a thick but pourable consistency.
  4. Prepare 4 bowls or containers. Add a big handful of chopped kale to each and then divide the roasted cauliflower and tabouli amongst them. Add your desired amount of pickled onions and kalamata olives to each, then finish with the tahini sauce.

Keywords: quinoa, cauliflower, quinoa tabouli, roasted cauliflower, tahini sauce

This recipe was originally published on June 25, 2017. It was updated in March 2020 with new photos and text.