No. 96: Cauliflower "Fried Rice"

Some say that carbs are bad.

I don't agree with that statement. Carbs are pretty great in most situations, and I'll always choose crusty artisan bread over dessert.

But I will be the first to admit that I don't need as many as I often consume. Sometimes we can stand to skip the bread and substitute something else delicious in its place. Which leads me to cauliflower.

Cauliflower

Has anyone else noticed that cauliflower is having a "moment?"

I guess this has been happening for a couple years now thanks to the Paleo crowd, but I totally get it. When steamed, it has a bland flavor just like rice or flour so you can put it in anything. When pureed, it turns silky and becomes a perfect substitute for cream sauce or mashed potatoes. My girlfriend says that because it's white it doesn't weird out her little ones who can be a bit picky.

I've seen it turned into hummus, tortillas, tator tots and more. I'll definitely have to try a few of those ideas.

Fried Rice

I knew cauliflower was "in," but I'd never thought of it as a rice substitute until I saw this recipe on Skinnytaste.

Ingredients

1 medium head cauliflower, rinsed
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 egg whites
1 large egg
Pinch of salt
Cooking spray
1/2 small onion, diced fine
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots*
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 scallions, diced, whites and greens separated
3 tablespoons soy sauce, or more to taste
Sprinkle of rice wine vinegar

*I stuck to carrots only, not a big peas fan.

To make

Remove the core and let the cauliflower dry completely. Coarsely chop into florets, then place half of the cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until the cauliflower is small and has the texture of rice or couscous – don't over process or it will get mushy.

Rice

Set aside and repeat with the remaining cauliflower.

Combine egg and egg whites in a small bowl and beat with a fork. Season with salt. Heat a large saute pan or wok over medium heat and spray with oil. Add the eggs and cook, turning a few times until set; set aside.

Add the sesame oil and saute onions, scallion whites, peas and carrots and garlic about 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft.

Saute

Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the cauliflower "rice" to the saute pan along with soy sauce. Mix, cover and cook approximately 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower is slightly crispy on the outside but tender on the inside.

Stir

Add the egg and a few sprinkles of the rice wine vinegar. Stir, then remove from heat and mix in scallion greens.

The results

This tasted exactly like fried rice. Seriously.

Final

I overdid it on the onion elements. You definitely don't need all of the scallions I piled on there. Just a sprinkle of green is fine.

The consistency of the cauliflower, especially when crisped up a bit in the pan, is just like tiny kernels of rice. The sesame oil, soy sauce and vinegar add the necessary flavor to keep your tastebuds happy.

But in all honesty, the best part was serving myself a heaping bowl with no guilt whatsoever. Portion control be damned! And it was perfectly fine.

Cauliflower might be my new favorite ingredient to play with. Get ready for more recipes like this!

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Send me your thoughts, comments and ideas at theresolvedcook@gmail.com