We’re loving cauliflower these days. When I cooked orange cauliflower for Sam a couple of weeks ago, even us carnivores enjoyed it so much. Alex even quipped that she doesn’t mind eating vegetarian if it’s that good. When I made cauliflower “fried rice” a few days ago, we carnivores had the same reaction.
What is cauliflower “fried rice”? It is finely chopped cauliflower used as a substitute for rice in Asian-style fried rice. But why substitute? Rice is not an animal product or by-product. The idea is that instead of making the tummy feel full with lots of carbohydrates, cauliflower is used to give that same filling of fullness but with the benefit of added nutrients. Cauliflower is rich in Vitamin B, C and K.
How is cauliflower chopped to resemble rice grains?
With a food processor. Of course, the chopped pieces of cauliflower won’t have the same exact shape of rice grains. But, if you do it right, they should approximate the size of rice grain.
After the cauliflower has been chopped, the dish is cooked pretty much like meatless fried rice.
I started by sauteing chopped onion. No garlic at this point because I didn’t want strong flavors and aromas to overwhelm the vegetables. I added fried garlic bits as a topping after the cauliflower “fried rice” was done.
Carrot and peas join the onion the in pan.
Then, broccoli florets and chopped red bell pepper.
For more color and texture, I tossed in some sweet corn kernels.
The chopped cauliflower is added and everything cooks together just until the cauliflower bits are cooked through but still lightly crisp.
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into small cubes
- ⅓ cup sweet peas
- 1 bell pepper, cut into small cubes
- 1 to 1 and ½ cups broccoli florets
- ¼ cup sweet corn kernels (I used canned)
- sesame seed oil
- To garnish:
- chopped cashew nuts
- toasted sesame seeds
- fried garlic bits
- Cut the cauliflower into small pieces and dump into the food processor. Chop until you have pieces about the size of rice grains.
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan.
- Saute the onion until softened.
- Turn up the heat. Add the carrot cubes and peas. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir fry for about half a minute.
- Add the bell pepper and broccoli florets. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Continue stir frying for a minute.
- Add the corn and chopped cauliflower. Sprinkle with salt and pepper again. Stir fry for half a minute then turn the heat down to medium. Continue cooking, stirring often, for another two to three minutes or until the cauliflower bits are cooked through but still lightly crisp.
- Off the heat, drizzle in a little sesame seed oil. Toss to blend. Taste and adjust the seasonings before serving.
- Ladle the cauliflower "fried rice" into bowls. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, chopped nuts and a bit of fried garlic bits.