Introducing Cauli-rice: Your New Paleo Side

Asian, Coconut Milk, Herbs, Indian, Paleo, side dish, Spanish

Paleo cooking is packed with flavor, but one of the things I miss most are side dishes like rice, couscous and potatoes. While I can happily abstain from these less-than-healthy sides, it’s harder to ask my friends and family to adhere to my Paleo regimen. IMG_2597

Therefore, I’ve been trying to be creative and have come to love cauliflower rice – a.k.a. cauli-rice. Cauliflower can be transformed into a rice-like texture by using a good blender or cheese grater. Such a mild vegetable, cauliflower absorbs whatever flavors used in its cooking process.

Basic cauli-rice can be as simple as a large skillet, a grated head of cauliflower, a tablespoon of healthy fats, and 1/3 cup of chicken broth. However, by adding basic ingredients such as garlic, onion, and fresh herbs, you can create flavorful combinations that enhance your main dish while satisfying guests and families alike.

Saffron Cauil-rice

Saffron Cauil-rice

Even if you don’t follow a Paleo lifestyle, you can treat this cauli-rice like risotto. Add some saffron and peas. Or try it with mushrooms, cream and parmesan cheese. The options are endless once you grate the cauliflower and treat it like rice.

Hand-grating the cauliflower may take a little elbow grease, but a blender makes this recipe much easier. The key is to crumble the cauliflower in batches. You also need to pulse the blender to ensure that you don’t over-grind the cauliflower florets.

Below I’ve shared one of my favorite ways to make cauli-rice. This combination of cilantro, lime and coconut works great with all Asian, Indian and Spanish cuisines.

Cilantro and Coconut Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients

1 small head of cauliflower or bag of pre-cut cauliflower

1 tablespoon ghee, coconut oil or olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 cup onions, chopped

1/4 cup red pepper, chopped

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

1/2 cup light coconut milk

1 lime, juiced

Process

Create the cauli-rice by cutting the cauliflower head into large chunks. In your blender, pulse each section individually until it has a rice-like texture. Remove any large fragments that don’t shred and save them for later or discard.

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Once you’ve riced all of the cauliflower, melt your oil or ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, pepper and garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add the cauli-rice and spread over the entire surface area of the pan. Press down and let cook for 2-3 minutes, and then mix. Continue to sauté for 5 minutes.

Then add the lime juice and coconut milk, reduce the heat to low, and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add salt and cilantro, stir and serve.

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Asian Braised Green Beans

10 minute side dish, Asian, Green beans, meal plans, Paleo

With a little effort you can make side dishes more interesting, especially when you’re buying what’s in season. That ensures that your vegetables have reached their peak freshness and availability. Click here for a complete list of Florida vegetables by season.

On Wednesday I shared my Sautéed Spinach and Goat Cheese recipe, and I hope it encouraged you to pick up some of that inexpensive leafy green. It may seem a little flavorless, but by adding some fresh garlic and a touch of goat cheese, my family and I happily ate six cups of spinach last night.

Today I want to share my Asian Braised Green Beans because March brings tender snap beans (a.k.a. green beans). The key to this recipe is high heat. You want to almost blister the beans so that they cook fast without losing their crispinesIMG_0387s. This is a delicious side item that works great with teriyaki chicken, steak or pork.

My go-to marinade is Veri Veri Teriyaki, and you should let your protein marinate for at least an hour and up to 24 hours before cooking. Then toss it onto a hot grill but be careful because most teriyaki marinades can cause excessive flames. Tip – use a piece of foil with cooking spray between your meat and grates. You will still get grill marks but won’t char your meat. 

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oilIMG_0385

2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1-2 tablespoons of fresh ginger, finely chopped

1-2 tablespoons of garlic, finely chopped

1 pound green beans, ends trimmed

1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

 

Cooking

Heat wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oils and heat for 1 minute. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the green beans and red pepper flakes, and continue to sauté for 5 minutes. Carefully add the soy sauce and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring continually. Turn off the heat and serve immediately or keep covered until you’re ready to eat.

 

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Fee-fi-Pho-YUM!

Chicken, kale, Leftovers, Paleo, soup, Swiss chard, vegetables

I’ve wanted to lighten things up a bit this week, so I decided to try the Chicken Pho recipe out of my new favorite cookbook, Paleo By Season. Pho (actually pronounced “Fuh”) is a Vietnamese soup consisting of broth, herbs and meat. I’ve seen it served with noodles, but since I’m  trying to cut my carbohydrates, this recipe doesn’t include them.

The key to this dish is the delicious broth. I’m not asking you to make your own “stock” but take the time to make the pho broth below. The delicate flavors add a depth that you will surely miss if you skip that step. Plus, once the broth is prepared, this meal only takes 10 more minutes before it’s ready to serve.  IMG_0984

Trying out a new recipe also gave me the chance to buy some five-spice powder, which is a blend of anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan peppers and fennel seeds. This spice combination is commonly used in Asian preparation, especially in Chinese cuisine. I’ve seen it referenced in recipes before and luckily it’s readily available at most grocery stores.

I used fresh Swiss chard (a leafy relative of spinach) in this perfect Paleo dish because it was on sale. You can use spinach or even kale, but due to kale’s toughness, you need to cook it longer. I think the Swiss chard is perfect because its flavor and texture are similar to that of bok choy.

I’m also using leftover pulled chicken from the night before. Although it didn’t meet my “Meatless Monday” goal, its simplicity is a nice way to start off the week. This soup makes me feel like I’m reversing some of my previous weekend fun (I’m glad you can’t see my recycling bin!), and it encourages me to eat light to feel light.

 

Pho Broth

Ingredients  IMG_0939

1 small yellow onion with only the outer skin removed, cut in half

1 (2-inch) piece of fresh ginger, unpeeled

1 tablespoon five-spice powder

1 jalapeno, halved and seeded

8 cups chicken broth

 

Cooking

Broil onion and ginger in either the oven, grill or toaster oven for 20 minutes, slightly charring them. You want to make sure the outside of the onion and ginger turn brown. Place them with the halved jalapeno and five-spice powder in a pot and cover with the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the onion, jalapeno and ginger from the broth and discard. Use the broth immediately or cover for later.

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Chicken Pho

Ingredients   IMG_0966

Pho broth (see above)

1-1/2 to 2 cups pulled chicken

1 cup thinly sliced carrots

1/2 cup thinly sliced radish

1 cup white or button mushrooms, quartered

2 cups Swiss chard, spine removed IMG_0957

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 small jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced for garnish (optional)

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)

3 tablespoons green onions, thinly sliced for garnish (optional)

1 lime, cut into wedges

 

Cooking

Bring pho broth to a simmer over medium heat. Once it’s at a gentle simmer, add the carrots, radishes, mushrooms, and Swiss chard. Cook for 8 minutes. Stir in the sesame oil. Divide chicken among 4 bowls and top with broth and vegetables. Squeeze a wedge of lime over each bowl and use garnishes of your choice.

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