For a long time I thought going paleo meant saying goodbye to Asian food. Or at least good Asian food, without a ton of ridiculous substitutes. I mean without rice, what’s the point?!
Silly, dramatic me. Luckily, I was wrong.
It turns out cauliflower is more than just a plastic-y veggie platter reject! It’s an incredible shape shifter with the power to pinch hit for a long list of starches and grains, most famously, rice. It’s amazing how quickly you gain respect for it when grains are no longer on the menu.
Just like real rice, “riced” cauliflower does a wonderful job of absorbing the flavor of everything around it. I promise, you’ll be shocked at how good it is. No plastic flavor to speak of.
In addition to being a total nostalgic comfort food for me, this dish is also major go-to when my weekly cookup stash is in its final days. I can almost always whip it together on a moment’s notice because the core ingredients and flavorings are all things I keep on-hand: canned fish, carrots, broccoli, eggs, greens, ginger, fish sauce, chili paste and coconut aminos (see recipe note).
I’ll admit that the ingredient list may look a little lengthy for an “easy” recipe, but don’t be alarmed! Traditional fried rice is basically a vehicle for leftovers, so don’t be afraid to customize based on what you’ve got in the bottom of your crisper drawer.
As for the method, it couldn’t be simpler. Dice or chop everything small and uniform, and your actual cook time will be less than 20 minutes.
- ½ head cauliflower, separated into florets
- 2 slices bacon
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tbs sesame oil or coconut oil
- 1-inch knob fresh (or frozen) ginger, peeled
- 1 bunch green onions
- 2 leaves kale
- 1-2 large carrots
- 2 cups broccoli, separated into florets
- 1 can sardines, drained
- 1 Tbs chili paste (I promise it’s not very hot)
- 1 Tbs fish sauce
- 1 Tbs coconut aminos*
- Juice of ½ lime, or 1 Tbs rice vinegar
- Kosher salt
- A few splashes of Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce (optional)
- 2 Tbs chopped cilantro leaves (optional)
- Pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor until the texture is like rice. Set aside.
- Heat a wok or large skillet to medium and start cooking your bacon.
- As the bacon cooks, prepare the rest of your ingredients: crack your eggs into a small bowl, season with salt, and whisk. Grate and/or mince your ginger. Chop your green onions, kale, carrots and broccoli.
- When the bacon is crispy, remove it from the pan, leaving the drippings. Crumble and set aside.
- Pour whisked eggs into the hot bacon grease and scramble. Once cooked, remove eggs from pan and set aside.
- Crank up the heat to medium-high and add sesame oil to pan. Toss in green onions, ginger, broccoli and carrots and season liberally with salt. Cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- As the veggies cook, combine fish sauce, chili paste, coconut aminos, lime juice and Tabasco in a small bowl.
- Add kale to the pan and season with salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Toss in the sardines, cooked eggs, bacon and pulsed cauliflower. Pour in the fish sauce mixture and give it all a good stir.
- Put a lid on the pan and bring the heat to low. Cook covered for 5-7 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender but not too mushy.
- Top with some beautiful chopped cilantro and dig in!
Be sure to season with salt as you go! It enhances the flavor of each ingredient and builds a much more cohesive and dynamic dish.
What about you?
What is your favorite way to use cauliflower? Tell me in the comments!