Like White on … Cauliflower Rice: Pilaf Recipe
Growing up as a runner in high school, I always followed the philosophy that runners should eat lots of carbs. Pasta, bread, rice, pizza, you name it, I ate it. At that point in my life, I didn’t worry about gaining weight or my metabolism, so nothing was off limits. However, I’ve learned that as I grow older, I can’t pull off the same stuff that I did in high school. Not only is it true that your metabolism really does turn into a slug as you get older, but I also sit behind a desk for 8-12 hours a day (depending on if I have school or not). As much as I wish I could be more active throughout the day (not just on afternoon runs), there just aren’t enough hours to get everything done and still have some time for homework and sleep.
So, what is a girl to do that loves carbs, but carbs don’t love her? Find healthy substitutions that trick you into thinking you are still being naughty. Sweet potatoes, cauliflower “rice”, plantains, zoodles, they all fit the bill. As a girl who loves to cook and eat, I love them all equally, but I have to say that cauliflower rice is one that will make you do a double-take. Say whaaaat?
I first discovered cauliflower rice a year ago and always had okay feelings about it. It was mushy, tasteless, and just kind of … whatever. I would “rice” the cauliflower and then steam it over the stove. I definitely wasn’t impressed. But then I discovered how to roast it in the oven and my whole world changed. Seriously. This is the most genius way to cook cauliflower rice. Ever. It is light, airy, nutty, flavorful, and will convert even the most skeptical person. If you’ve never had cauliflower rice or had bad experiences with it in the past, this recipe is for you.
Asian Cauliflower “Rice” Pilaf
Ingredients (serves 2):
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 red onion, chopped
- 6-8 cremini or button mushrooms, chopped
- 2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
- 1 cup chopped cooked protein (I like to use leftover chicken for this, but shrimp or pork would be good, too)
- 1-2 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- Salt and papper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- You will need a food processor with a grating attachment to “rice” the cauliflower. You can also grate it by hand on a cheese grater, but this will take a really long time and gets really messy. I don’t recommend it.
- Cut your cauliflower into large segments so that they can fit into the feeder of a food processor fitted with the grating attachment. Grate your cauliflower in batches until it is all done. It will look like rice.
- Transfer the rice to a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and about 1 teaspoon of salt. Taste it for seasoning before putting it in the oven.
- Spread the rice in an even layer on the baking sheet and pop it in the oven. You want to roast it until there are a few brown spots starting to form and along the edges, about 25 minutes.
- While the cauliflower rice is roasting, get the rest of your pilaf ingredients ready. Heat a large pan over medium high heat and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms. Saute until the mushrooms are turning slightly golden brown. Add the green onions and protein of choice. Heat through.
- By about the time your veggies and protein are ready, your cauliflower rice should be about done. Fluff your cauliflower rice with a fork and add to the saute pan.
- Add the coconut aminos, sesame oil, salt, and pepper to taste. A heavier hand with the coconut aminos is good here.
- Toss everything together and eat up!
Try this out and let me know what you think. Do you have a favorite way to cook cauliflower rice?