If you asked me five years ago to name a versatile vegetable I probably would have answered potato. I may have also muttered, “but potatoes are a starch and not a vegetable.”
What a distance I have traveled since then! It is such a joy to share this journey with you!
Along the way I have discovered that all vegetables are versatile once you get the hang of their flavors and textures. It takes some experimenting and some dishes may not be your “new favorite” but I give all of us permission to play with our food. What sounds whacky at first could become one of your most splattered and dog eared recipe cards. In my kitchen Cauliflower “Fried Rice” would be on the road to becoming throughly food flecked except that it is so stinkin’ easy I didn’t need to write it down!
I already have a standard method for turning leftovers into fried rice I just swapped pulverized fresh cauliflower for day old rice. It took a few extra minutes to prep the cauliflower but nothing that should keep it from joining your weeknight menu rotation.
In the interest of full disclosure: this technique was not my idea. When you try this (please do), and love it (you will), thank Heidi H. for her comment on the Our Lady of Second Helpings Facebook Page (subtle plug). Also it isn’t fried and there is no rice. So much for truth in advertising!
Here’s a little tips and tutorial segment to get your creative juices flowing:
Grill ‘em if you got ‘em! I had the luxury of time when I made this dish so I started by grilling a pork steak. Leftover meat works really well to save time or clean out the refrigerator.
Making the “rice” - This is one of the fun parts! Grab a head of cauliflower and cut it into chunks small enough to fit down the shoot of your food processor. I had the best luck making rice in small batches. Use the blade and feed about 1/4 of the chunks down the shoot. Let the blade run a minute or so to completely pulverize the pieces. Empty the now rice sized bits into a bowl and then repeat three more times. It’s messy but relax, it’s only cauliflower!
Spice it up! I looooovvveeee adding fresh ginger to recipes. It’s spicy bite balances the umami of soy and wakes up the palate. Use a spoon to easily remove the peel. Grate it with a microplane right into your cooking food. Pop the leftover ginger root into a baggie and store it in the freezer. Next time you need it just grate the still frozen ginger into your dish. Wait you don’t have a microplane?!? Open a new browser window and order one from Amazon RIGHT NOW! It’s not often you can completely change your life for less than $20.
Clean out the fridge! Got some eggs? Scramble a couple. Need to use half a bell pepper or a stray green onion? Chop them up and toss them in.
Your kitchen means your rules. Better yet, have only one rule – create food that will enable you and your loved ones to flourish.
Cauliflower “Fried Rice”
A fun and “out of the box” take on turning leftovers into fried rice. Most of the ingredients are up to you. Use this recipe as a launch pad for your creativity. Just gather and cut everything before beginning the cooking process.
Serve as a main or side dish – makes 4 to 6 servings. Preparation and Cooking time: around 30 minutes
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 to 2 cups of assorted vegetables fresh or frozen (thawed) cut into small pieces – a few ideas: bell pepper, onion of any variety, peas, green beans, carrots
- 2 eggs scrambled
- 1/2 lb of grilled pork, cut into small pieces
- 1 inch of fresh ginger root, grated
- 1 – 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil, divided
- Use a food processor to pulverize the cauliflower into fluffy rice sized pieces. Work in small batches emptying the food processor bowl after each 1/4 of the cauliflower to avoid over crowding the bowl.
- Assemble remaining ingredients.
- Heat a wok or large sauté pan to medium heat and scramble egg(s). Once cooked remove the egg to a small dish and set aside.
- Increase the heat to medium high. Gently scrape pan surface to remove any large bits of egg residue.
- Add 1 teaspoon of oil to the pan and sauté vegetables for 4 – 5 minutes. They should be heated through and a little toasty not mushy. If using leftover meat toss that in to heat with the veggies.Remove from pan and set aside.
- Drizzle remaining two teaspoons of oil into the pan then add the cauliflower. Toss and flip the cauliflower rice so that some of the moisture cooks out of it and all the bits get to make contact with the pan surface – around 5 minutes.
- Once the cauliflower has heated through add the meat and vegetables back into the pan with the cauliflower and toss to combine.
- Add desired seasonings, fresh ginger, soy sauce, fish sauce, hot sauce, etc. toss to combine. Reduce heat if needed to keep the sauces from burning. Cook another two minutes then toss in eggs and serve.
The nutrition details will vary depending on your chosen ingredients. These numbers are approximate and assume four servings, based on the recipe as stated above: 266 calories, 12 g. fat, 18 g. carbohydrates, 6.5 g. fiber, 25 g. protein, PP = 7