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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.