marinated artichoke & cauliflower "cous cous" salad

cauliflower "cous cous" has become one of my favorite summertime salads. it's the perfect accompaniment to fish, grilled chicken, a cheese platter, or just on it's own topped with white beans and feta cheese. the base for the salad is finely minced raw cauliflower - which looks strikingly like cous cous and has a grain-like texture. you could sub cauliflower in any cous cous salad recipe, or even in place of say orzo in a pasta salad. but it isn't the amazing flavor of this salad that makes it one of my favorites... it's the fact that you don't need to heat a pan or your oven. so after a sunny bike commute home after sweating all day, this is about the only thing i want to make (except maybe a smoothie. i could handle that.) 

i've previously posted a similar salad, using cauliflower as a base. this variation, is a bit more italian inspired. feel free to experiment with whatever fresh herbs and vegetables you enjoy most! 

marinated artichoke & cauliflower "cous cous" salad ~ server 3-4

1 small head cauliflower, stems removed 
1 cup artichoke hearts, drained from brine or oil  
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1/8 cup finely chopped basil 
3 tablespoons olive oil 
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional) 

note: i used artichokes marinated in brine and herbs. you could certainly used canned artichokes, or artichokes marinated in oil (in which case, perhaps reduce the additional olive oil in the dressing to just 2 tablespoons). 

if you have a food processor, this recipe will be very simple! you can reuse the food processor to chop each ingredient - however, i would advise against blending everything together all at once as it will become too mushy. this recipe can also be done with a large cutting board, a chef knife and a whole lot of fine chopping. 

to begin, pulse-chop the cauliflower until it resembles small-grain cous cous. do not over process, as it will turn into a puree. scoop chopped cauliflower from food processor and add to a large salad bowl. de-stem a small bunch of parsley & basil and add to food processor. pulse to chop finely and then add herbs to the salad bowl. back in the food processor, chop the drained artichoke hearts until minced and then add to salad bowl along with remaining ingredients. season to taste. serve with cabbage leaves, avocado, chickpeas or feta cheese.