Tag Archives: sides

Spanish cauliflower rice

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“Spanish rice” was one of those foods that I had a bit of a fascination with growing up. My mother rarely (if ever) made it, but I always made a beeline for it at potlucks. At some point in my adult life I discovered it’s actually pretty easy to make. In the most basic form, just add salsa to rice as it’s cooking. Go more elaborate from there as you see fit.

Recently, I got a craving for Spanish rice and decided to see how a cauliflower version would work out. A friend had gifted us with some serrano chiles so I made this particular iteration extra spicy (M. did not require his usual topping of Tabasco sauce. Ha.) I don’t really like to buy jars of salsa anymore because of all the packaging involved, so instead I just put in various salsa components. Finally, although this recipe calls for canned tomatoes, you can also use fresh (as we were up until a month or so ago, but the tomatoes aren’t coming quite so fast now), and add some additional water or broth to make up the liquid (I’d suggest starting with 2/3 cup and then adding more if it seems to be drying out). I’ve been eating the batch pictured here as a base for bowls full of chocolate chili (which also got a heavy dose of those serrano peppers, so I’ve been needing a generous topping of cheese to counteract the heat).

Spanish cauliflower rice
Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, cut into 1/4″ dice
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2″ dice (optional)
1 serrano chile pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 head cauliflower (approximately 2 lbs), grated or finely chopped
1 3/4 c (or 1 14-oz can) diced canned tomatoes
1/4 c. chopped cilantro (optional)

Method

1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, until soft and slightly translucent.

2. Add garlic and, if using, red bell pepper. Cook for 2 more minutes. Add serrano chile, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Stir together, then add cauliflower. Stir cauliflower until onion/spice mixture is evenly distributed.

3. Add tomatoes (including their juice). Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tomato juice has cooked off. Stir in cilantro (if using) and remove from heat.

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Serving suggestion: with chocolate chili and a side of kale+cabbage.

Braised cauliflower with three seed sauce (Vegan With A Vengeance)

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I’ve mentioned the Vegan with a Vengeance cookbook at least once or twice already on this blog. VWAV is one of the first (I think the absolute first) cookbook by the now ridiculously well-known Isa Chandra Moskowitz, who’s name has become practically synonomous with tasty, approachable, and slightly irreverant vegan cooking and baking. While this is not the first vegan cookbook I ever owned, it was the first one that I really seriously used. I also liked it enough that I went on to acquire copies of Moskowitz’s later books: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Veganomicon, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, and Vegan Brunch. And even though I’m no longer vegan, I still enjoy looking through these books and taking inspiration from their pages.

This three-seed cauliflower braise is an example of the great balance Moskowitz strikes in her best recipes: simple enough for a beginner cook, but still beautifully flavorful and with a few twists to make it stand out. I was initially thinking of being a bit lazy and using powdered versions of the cumin and mustard for this recipe, but when I realized I was getting low on a few other items, I decided it was worth making a trip over to the crunchy food co-op with the extensive spice collection after all.

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Although I’m sure the dish still would have been delicious made the lazy way, there was something about having the whole seeds included that really added to the effect of the dish. I especially liked the inclusion of fennel seeds, not an ingredient I would usually think to add to a curry dish (though it is sometimes included in garam masala blends). It adds a sweet undertone, not to mention helping to distiguish the cauliflower from the chickpea curry I initially paired it with for Monday evening’s dinner.
Later in the week, I skipped the extra curry and just added some plain chickpeas to the cauliflower to make an easy hot lunch. Good stuff.

Braised cauliflower with three-seed sauce (adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance
Serves 4-6

Ingredients
28 oz. diced canned tomatoes
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 bay leaf
1 head cauliflower (about 2 lbs), cut into florets
pinch of sugar

1. Drain tomatoes, reserving 1 c. of the juice.

2. In a large pot or skillet, heat the olive oil to medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft and slightly translucent, 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper, salt, cumin, mustard, fennel, turmeric, and bay leaf. Stir and saute for another 1-2 minutes.

3. Add the cauliflower, stir, and cook for another two minutes. Add the tomatoes, cook for 5 more minutes. Finally, add the reserved tomato juice and sugar. Cover for 3-5 minutes, until sauce is bubbling. Turn heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or so, until the sauce has cooked down and thickened a bit (there will still be a fair amount of liquid, don’t try to cook it totally dry!). Remove from heat and serve.

Method

Cauliflower rice pilaf

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Yes, more cauliflower rice! Sorry, we are just loving it too much lately. The produce market I like to go to has had great deals on cauliflower lately, and there are so many great ways to prepare it, so expect another post or two on the topic.
Continue reading Cauliflower rice pilaf

Chickpea and scallion fritters

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I often like to make a big batch of beans on the weekend and then eat them throughout the week. A few Saturdays ago I found myself staring down the ends of a batch of chickpeas and thinking about what else to do with them. These tasty little fritters were the result. The combination of chickpea and egg make them relatively high in protein, perfect for my current project of boosting protein consumption (>15% of calories is my personal threshold for “high protein”).
Continue reading Chickpea and scallion fritters

Recipe: Cauliflower Fried Rice

When I first heard about using cauliflower to make faux-rice, I was skeptical. I remember my brother telling me about it via instant messenger, and the response that google has archived pretty much sums it up: “Hmmmmmmmm.“. Just to clarify, that was a “Hmmmmmm, sounds bland and soggy” sort of “Hmmmmm”, not an expression of actual interest or intent to try the idea.

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Well, fast-forward a year or two later and I eventually got myself on board with the idea. Naturally, I now wonder why I didn’t see the light before. It’s not like my brother has an affinity for bland, soggy foods, so I should probably learn to listen to him a little more attentively, right? It turns out cauliflower rice is both tasty and easy to make. Who’d have thought?

My current favorite iteration of cauliflower rice is to stir-fry it: it’s a great way to use up those odds and ends of vegetables in the fridge, and it goes well with the more Asian-themed taste palate that is coming out in our dinners lately. It doesn’t hurt that Mr. C&V also loves this dish, and is almost guaranteed to utter at least one positive expletive whenever it shows up at the table.

Cauliflower Fried Rice
Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 head cauliflower (approximately 2 lbs), grated (I use a food processor with a grater attachement to make quick work of grating)
1 small onion
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, cut into small pieces
4 scallions, chopped
2 leaves of kale, cut into small pieces
4 stalks cilantro, chopped

1 tbsp + 3 tsp oil of choice
1 tbsp sesame seeds
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional, if you don’t like heat)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil

Note: You can really vary the vegetables to suit your tastes and what you have on hand, but remember that the bulk of the vegetable matter does need to be cauliflower! I like to pick accent vegetables that will add a little color to the dish.

Method

1. Make sure all your vegetables are prepped, as this dish comes together quickly. None of that prep-while-cooking thing that I am so prone to!

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All ready to go!

2. Heat 1 tsp oil in a 12″ cast iron skillet over low-medium heat. When oil is heated, pour in the eggs and scramble them by stirring every 10-20 seconds. When eggs are mostly scrambled (about 1 1/2 minutes), remove from the pan. Add the remaining oil and increase heat slightly. Add onions to the pan and cook for 5-10 minutes, until soft and slightly translucent. Add carrots, cauliflower, sesame seeds, and garlic and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring regularly.

4. Add the scallions and kale, cook until kale is just beginning to wilt. And the cilantro, eggs and soy sauce and stir to thoroughly incorporate, cooking for approximately 1 more minute. Remove from heat and add sesame oil, again stirring to incorporate into the entire pan of cauliflower.

Serve as desired:

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Nutritional info (assuming 4 servings and a 2 lb head of cauliflower): 231 calories, 20 g carbohydrates, 14 g fat, 10 g protein, 8 g fiber