Skip directly to the Cauliflower Fried Rice recipe, or for loosey-goosey cooks, the step-by-step.

cauliflower-fried-rice
Cauliflower fried rice accompanies West Lake Fish,
a recipe I need to get up online because it’s really tasty.

I love rice: long grain, short, jasmine, sticky, wild (which isn’t really rice, btw). But I find I’m eating it less and less. Maybe it’s aging; despite my previous admission to loving carbs, I find I’m eating them less.

Now fried rice has long been a comfort food for me, using real leftover rice, and especially if I’m watching something on TV or a movie (and these days, is there a difference??) and somebody busts out the Chinese take-out. But because I eat less rice anyway, the chances of me having a leftover batch to fry up are close to zero. Cauliflower fried rice works as a natural, super-easy substitute.

But look: Cauliflower rice can easily taste like b.s. Real rice squashes under your teeth in a pleasant way. Cauliflower rice, particularly if you go too crazy with the food processor, gets mealy. I don’t buy the frozen version, because the freezing process plays havoc with the water content of foods. So something naturally prone to mealiness will only get more so.

The trick for me is to roast the coarse cauliflower rice ahead of time. Then, at the end, simply toss it with some veggies that you’ve sauteed while your “rice” roasts. Voila: Cauliflower rice with very little hands-on time.

Cauliflower Fried Rice: The Step by Step

First, heat your oven to 400º. While it preheats, chop up your cauliflower florets in a food processor. Before processing, cut the florets to be fairly  uniform size. Don’t overprocess so that they become crumbly or actual rice-sized if you want them to have some texture. Toss the “rice” in a bowl with some sesame oil, spread on a parchment covered sheet, and roast for about 20 minutes, until they get some color.

cauliflower-fried-rice

As the “rice” roasts, get your veggies ready: sliced scallions (keep the white and green parts separate), minced ginger and garlic, and julienned or chopped carrots, peppers, and snow peas. (Or other veggies you have in the fridge and want to use up; just be sure to cut fairly uniform shapes.) About 7-10 minutes before the cauliflower is finished roasting, heat your pan, then add oil. Peanut provides classic Chinese flavor, but a taste-free oil like canola or avocado also works nicely. (Don’t use olive.) Add the scallion whites, garlic,  ginger, and the julienned stuff. Add soy sauce and sake, which will bubble up and be all steamy and fragrant.

Right about the time you achieve maximum bright colored, still crisp sauteed veggies, your timer will ring. Dump the roasted rice right into the pan. Add chopped cilantro (the stems are really nice here; no need to separate them from the leaves if you don’t want to) and scallion greens.

You can top with toasted sesame seeds, peanuts, or cashews. Cauliflower fried rice makes a lovely vegan main, or a light, healthy side for the protein of your choice, particularly if you’ve done a classic Chinese-inspired cooking treatment (like this tea-smoked chicken, for instance). Below, note the radish and pea shoot salad on the side: just thinly sliced radish and pea shoots, no dressing, and you’re good to go. Enjoy.

Cauliflower Fried Rice: The Recipe

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Cauliflower Fried Rice
Easy, gluten-free, and vegan, this version of fried "rice" is super simple to prepare.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
mains
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
mains
Ingredients
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425º. While oven heats, "rice" the cauliflower by first chopping the flowerets (removing stems and leaves) into uniform size. Then pulse in a food processor until chopped to desired texture. Do not mince too finely. Toss the cauliflower in a bowl with the peanut oil. Spread on a parchment-covered baking sheet and roast 20 minutes.
  2. While cauliflower roasts, slice carrot, snow peas, and scallions. Remove cilantro leaves from stems if desired, or simply chop stems and leaves together. Chop garlic and cilantro leaves. Grate ginger.
  3. Heat a large flat-bottomed skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil. when oil is hot, add scallion whites and stir-fry one-minute. Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add carrots and snow peas, stir frying until very colorful and crisp. Stir in soy sauce and sake and cook til absorbed. and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro leaves, stems, and scallion greens.
  4. If cauliflower is not finished roasting, turn heat off under pan. When cauliflower is finished, add it to the stir-fried veggies and toss, mixing thorughly.
Recipe Notes

You can skip the roasting step if you're short on time. Simply increase the coconut oil by 1-2 teaspoons, and add the riced raw cauliflower after the carrots to give an additional cooking time of 1-2 minutes to cook the cauliflower.

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