Oh, how the calories stack up over the holidays! Like many people, I try and eat more healthily when the new year arrives. For me, that means a diet of less simple carbs and more veggies and proteins.
Cauliflower is one of my favorite go-to ingredients when I’m on a healthy kick. It’s loaded with Vitamin C, Vitamin K (an excellent anti-inflammatory), and has even been linked to studies of cancer prevention! I enjoy Cauliflower simply roasted in the oven, fried into Gobi Manchurian, pureed into a tasty mashed potato alternative, made into a faux-pizza crust, OR used as an alternative to rice!
Cauliflower Dirty Rice
1 Medium Cauliflower
1/2 lb Chicken Livers
1/2 lb Bacon, partially sauteed, chopped
1 Medium Yellow Onion, diced
1 Green Bell Pepper, diced
1-2 Mild Green Chile,diced
2 Carrots, shredded
2 cans Whole Peeled Tomato, drained and chopped
6 cloves of Garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp. fresh Oregano, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh Italian Parsley, chopped
2 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
1 1/2 tbsp. Sherry Vingar or Red Wine Vinegar
1 tbsp. Cayenne Pepper
1 tbsp. Smoked Paprika
1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper to Taste
I’ve made faux rice dishes with Cauliflower lots of times, so please feel free to use this as a general instruction and substitute whatever ingredients you’d like to make your rice dish. It can be easily made into a vegetarian entree, or a creamy risotto with a bit of tweaking. I happen to like chicken livers, so I enjoy this variation which I serve with a link of spicy sausage or crispy baked chicken thighs.
To start, cut the base of the cauliflower off and discard any leaves. Roughly cut the cauliflower into small pieces and pulse in a food processor until the pieces are the size of grains of rice. It’s possible to over-do it, so keep a close eye near the end. If you don’t have a food processor, you can get close to these results using a box grater. It’s definitely a bit messier, though.
For the dirty rice recipe, I like to get the nice liver taste cooked deep into the dish, so I start out by browning the livers in a little vegetable oil. Once they are browned on the outside and you have a nice crust forming on the pan, remove the livers and add the diced onion with a pinch of salt.
Sautee the onions for a couple minutes, making sure not to burn the fond(brown bits) on the bottom of the pan. Deglaze the pan with the Sherry Vinegar and then a half cup of Chicken Stock. Gently sautee the onions for a couple minutes.
Add the riced Cauliflower and carrots, along with another cup of Chicken Stock and a pinch of salt. Cook for five minutes.
Add the Tomatoes, Cayenne Pepper and Smoked Paprika. Cook for a few minutes and then add the Diced Chiles and Cheese. Cook for a few more minutes and then finish with the cooked Bacon, roughly chopped Livers, Oregano and Parsley. Combine and turn off the heat.
Transfer the Cauliflower to another dish. Using a spoon, make four divots in the “rice”. Crack an egg into each divot and bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes at 350º.
Garnish with Oregano, Smoked Paprika, Salt and Pepper. Eat up, or garnish with the protein of your choice.
This one was a winner.
What other sort of rice dishes would you make with Cauliflower?