Cauliflower Couscous With Beets & Toasted Hazelnuts

This grain-free and low-carb Cauliflower Couscous recipe is flavoured with gorgeous pink beets, garlic and spices and topped with toasted hazelnuts. This is 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 beet couscous 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 goat’s cheese but I wanted something different and fun.

At first, I thought of making my yummy cauliflower couscous with pomegranate (recipe in my cookbook and I also shared it on the Balance Festival blog here) but I had some beets in the fridge and didn’t have pomegranate, so a new dish was born.

I ended up with a warm salad made with finely diced or minced cauliflower and beetroot (like cauliflower rice) 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. 

This cauliflower recipe is grain-free, low-carb and keto-friendly, paleo, Whole30 and vegan.

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


This particular cauliflower couscous recipe was designed to pair with lamb cutlets. It goes really well with any red meat and is a great side dish for grilled steak or lamb kebobs or liver skewers. Simple grilled, pan-fried or roasted chicken is another meat that is well complemented by this dish.

For a vegetarian version, serve this beet ‘couscous’ with grilled halloumi on top or veggie bean or lentil burgers or plant-based sausages.

It’s really nice to bring to a barbecue or a picnic or as a potluck side for a Moroccan or Middle Eastern-inspired feast.

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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 1x
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Salad
  • Cuisine: Moroccan
  • Diet: Gluten Free
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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


Irena Macri
By Irena Macri

About the author: Hi, I’m Irena Macri. I share easy, delicious recipes with a healthy twist. I’ve been food blogging for over 10 years and have a Diploma in Nutrition & Weight Management. I believe in a balanced diet with an occasional cookie and cheesy pasta. More about me here. Sign-up for my newsletter and subscriber freebies.

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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