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Three grants, count 'em. Granted, Cauliflower Rice doesn't look like much. Granted, Cauliflower Rice is no more than grated cauliflower tossed in a surprising ginger-y vinaigrette. Granted, Cauliflower Rice got so-so attention on Easter Sunday. (In its defense on this last grant, there was tons of competition!)
But by Monday, when we played afternoon-hooky and headed to the country for a little late-winter/early-spring hiking? On the trip back at dark, Cauliflower Rice was all I could think of. We could've stopped for fried chicken at our Mondays-only fried-chicken dive. We like a BBQ place on the way back too. There's even an unlikely new Thai place that we hear is quite good, the only business (albeit in a private home) on the entire length of a long, lonely country road. But me? All I wanted was Cauliflower Rice.
Now know this. Cauliflower Rice isn't rice at all, it's just cauliflower grated fine in a food processor. There's no fooling anyone that there's been some magical transposition from cauliflower to rice. To my taste, in fact, Cauliflower Rice isn't even very rice-like, the texture is more like couscous than rice. But I couldn't get enough and know there'll be another batch some time soon, likely with a different-style dressing.
Oh. One more thing. Usually, Cauliflower Rice is used as a substitute for actual rice to serve alongside a stir-fry or in a vegetable bowl or a veggie wrap, etc. Here, it didn't get past the "let's devour this cauliflower salad" stage so obviously, there's more Cauliflower Rice in our futures!
RECIPE for CAULIFLOWER RICE with GINGER VINAIGRETTE
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes 7 cups
1 large head fresh cauliflower, about 3 pounds/1200g
Salt & pepper to taste (be stingy)
1 carrot, grated on a cheese grater or in the food processor
Zest of a small lime
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh ginger
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Kosher salt to taste
PREP Set oven to 425F/220C. For easy clean-up, line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.
CAULIFLOWER Trim and discard the cauliflower's outer leaves and center-most core, leaving large florets. (Here's how to cut up a whole head of cauliflower.) Cut the largest pieces of stem off the florets and process in the food processor by themselves until fine, then transfer to the baking sheet. Place three or four or five florets in the food processor in a single layer in a ring around the blade, process until cauliflower is fine, move to the baking sheet. Repeat as needed, with the last batch. (If you want, throw the carrot in with the last batch.) Spread the cauliflower as evenly as possible on the baking sheet and season lightly with salt and pepper. Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes, then every 5 minutes. The cauliflower will cook a bit but will remain firm. Once it's done, let it cool, stirring occasionally. While the cauliflower cooks and cools, grate the carrot and mix the Ginger Vinaigrette.
GINGER VINAIGRETTE First, pulse the by itself ginger until fine. Add the vinegar and pulse again until the ginger and vinegar become very much one thing, not separate ingredients. Add the honey, then slowly drizzle in the oil while the food processor runs. Season to taste with salt. Makes 1 cup, you'll use about half in the Cauliflower Rice.
COMBINE Toss the cooled cauliflower, carrot, lime zest with the Ginger Vinaigrette, a tablespoon or two at a time.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
If you want to make less Ginger Vinaigrette, you'll want to switch to a mini food process or a blender, the big food processor is just too big for such a small quantity.
Want to squeeze the lime juice into the Ginger Vinaigrette? Sure! Taste it though, you may want to adjust the honey a touch too.
I didn't have a real plan when I started making the Cauliflower Rice. Given the Asian spin the Ginger Vinaigrette added, I probably would have skipped the carrot and used fresh chive or a finely chopped bok choy for color and a touch of texture contrast.
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CAULIFLOWER MASQUERADING AS LOW-CARB RICE, BEANS & POTATOES~ Cauliflower Hummus ~
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