raw cauliflower couscous w/ cherries + a sumac-lemon vinaigrette / by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

the month of june always brings about the anticipation of summer, and undoubtably the nostalgia of the summer months.  i see the anticipation of summer on children's faces, adults too, but there's something about the significance and care-free quality that summer holds for the kid in us.  for me, it was going to the pool, taking vacations with my family up to martha's vineyard, building sand castles, staying up late with my brother and the neighborhood kids to play hide-and-seek.  adventure and excitement were everyday occurrences, for you didn't know if a thundershower would envelope you with its downpour, or if your friend would get their hands on a bunch of water guns and balloons and there would be a spur-of-the-moment water fight.  bbq's, hamburger and hotdogs, watermelon, and ICE CREAM - hello carvel and ben and jerry's! while i still dream about super-soakers, sandcastles and sweet, cold food items that melt in your mouth, i also dream about tending to my garden, sowing seeds and watching them grow, and seeing how happy the warm weather makes our pup!  

another thing i loved as a kid was couscous - near east brand was my jam, especially the garlic and olive oil flavor!  it was always an easy dish to make on the stovetop for the times i would prepare dinner for myself. but, this time around it's  a raw, cauliflower version with sweet (first-of-the-season!) cherries, a ton of herbs and a super tangy vinaigrette to counter the sweet and earthy flavors going on here.  i see this dish being in heavy rotation in the coming months - there's seriously nothing like NOT turning on the oven to make our apartment even warmer than it already can get in the summer!  happy june, ya'll! xo

raw cauliflower couscous w/ cherries + a sumac-lemon vinaigrette

| serves 4 as a side |


  • 3 cups cauliflower (about half of a large head)
  • 1/2 cup cherries, stoned and cut in quarters
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, finely minced
  • a big handful fresh peas, shelled and blanched (frozen peas work just as well, but cook according to package directions)
  • 2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped
  • 4 small leeks, sliced thin

sumac-lemon vinaigrette

  • juice from 1 large lemon (about 1/4 cup)
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sumac
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt + pepper


make the vinaigrette

  • to a small bowl, add lemon juice, salt, fresh ground pepper, sumac and garlic; stir to dissolve the salt, taste and adjust if needed.  vigorously whisk in, a little at a time the olive oil and taste as you go
  • refrigerate until ready to use

assemble the couscous

  • cut the cauliflower head in half, then cut florets into small pieces and pulse in a food processor until you are left with a fine crumble.  place the crumbled cauliflower in a large serving bowl and season with salt and pepper 
  • add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine.  add dressing as desired and adjust seasoning if need be