Cauliflower Fried "Rice"
As a chef, I’m fascinated by the latest food trends and love seeing what and why something sticks. Cauliflower hit the food trend list a while ago and though it seems to be sticking, it’s actually a vegetable I’ve always considered a staple.
I have always loved cauliflower. It’s incredibly versatile and is the perfect sidekick. Except when given the chance, it really can shine on its own. One of my favorite ways to let it shine is to half the cauliflower, “v” out a little of the core, drizzle with a touch of extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in a really hot oven until crispy. You essentially create a cauliflower steak and I love that you can make something so simple taste like a complex meat with layered flavors.
Cauliflower rice is another one of my favorite applications. While you can buy it riced, I actually prefer doing it on my own because it’s just a tad cheaper and you have a little more control over the size of the rice. To rice cauliflower, I separate the florets from the stem. First I cut the stem into smaller chunks and then buzz in the food processor. Right before it reaches the “rice” size, I add the florets and buzz everything together. This ensures all parts of the cauliflower are the same size. Another really easy way to do this is using a box grater. Wash and clean the cauliflower head and grate. You can actually grate the entire cauliflower head, stem included, to create the desired rice.
The recipe this week is super simple so that you can use this as a base to any future cauliflower rice dish you might make. Feel free to add scrambled eggs, peas, watercress, bell peppers, jalapenos, onions, and any other vegetable you want to make this heartier. Here, I sautéed garlic and ginger prior to adding the rice for a bit of flavor. A quick stir-fry of the “rice” with a touch of salt, pepper, lemon juice and zest and butter to finish. It’s so simple, delicious and easy; this will make it into your weekly side dish rotation. This recipe really shows off how fantastic and simple cauliflower is and how it’s a great low carbohydrate side dish. Becca, my PR/Marketing guru and Registered Dietitian is here to tell you a bit more about why cauliflower is a nutrition powerhouse.
Notes from Becca-
Thank you Chef! I completely agree, cauliflower really is the greatest sidekick. You can leave it whole and roast it, sauté as florets or use as the best low-carbohydrate “rice”. While I’m not the biggest fan of “sneaking” in vegetables, another great application is to blanch cauliflower florets, dry and then freeze them to use in smoothies. I love making smoothie bowls for breakfast and frozen steamed cauliflower has no flavor and adds the perfect texture while packing in some serious nutrients. Did you know just 1 head of cauliflower packs over 400% of your daily vitamin c and over 50% of your daily vitamin B6 needs? Both important for your immune system, energy levels and
Eat Well With Ming Cooking Tip: Subbing cauliflower rice for regular white rice increases your vitamin and mineral intake and decreases your carbohydrate intake from about 45 grams (1 cup of white rice) to about 5 grams of carbohydrates (cauliflower rice). Plus you’ll get about 8 times more fiber for swapping 1 cup of white rice for 1 cup of cauliflower rice!
Cauliflower Stir Fried “Rice”
Serves 4 as a side dish
2 cauliflower heads, washed and cleaned, separate stems from florets
4 small cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 lemon, juiced and zest
1-2 tablespoons butter (optional)
1. Cut the stems of the cauliflower heads into smaller chunks. Carefully add them to a food processor and start to buzz. Once they have almost reached the perfect cauliflower rice size stop.
2. Cut the rest of the cauliflower into smaller pieces so the florets are smaller. Add to the food processor (work in batches if necessary) and buzz until you have reached the desired cauliflower rice size.
3. In a wok, heat to medium heat and add the oil. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté until just fragrant.
4. Add the cauliflower rice and sauté a few minutes, just until the cauliflower starts to soften a bit and gets flavored by the aromatics. You don’t want to overcook to the point where it is soggy and too soft. Add the lemon juice, zest and 1-2 tablespoons of butter to finish.
5. Serve in side bowls or along side your main dish and enjoy while hot.