Recently, in the produce section, I spotted a cellophane bag of vegetables, that I’d not seen before: Riced Cauliflower. Another variety came with riced broccoli included. The small pellets looked a lot like couscous. I turned over the package and read that the organic mixture was grain free, gluten free, fat free, and carb free! Wow, that’s a lot of freedom! What’s more, it boasted a mere 30 calories per cup! I tossed it in my cart.
Last year the chopped up veggie became so popular that customers were fighting over the final bag at a Trader Joe’s in New York, causing the store to impose a two-bag limit until the supply increased. Apparently, it easily obtainable now.
I Shopped, I Bought, I Cooked
Back at my condo, I found a recipe online for turning the minced florets into a healthy side dish, that looked much like rice, but with 1/4 the carbs. The easy-peezie recipe called for sauteed onions combined with the cooked pellets and topped with parsley and a squeeze of lemon. Other versions were enlivened with garlic, shredded carrots, peas or curry powder.
I restrained myself and only added garlic and curry, and skipped the parsley, which was fine, since broccoli provided the needed color. Then I busted the miniscule calorie count by adding a sprinkle of cheddar.
If you prefer, the riced cauliflower (and broccoli) can be made from whole, fresh vegetables by using a food processor or box grater to get the grain-like size. But having the pre-cut veggies on hand makes preparation easier, when you’re looking for a quick evening meal. Trader Joe makes their version of the cruciferous veggie using primarily stems. The firmer texture gives more crunch. And the flavor is much milder than the florets, which makes it more rice-y.
This One’s a Keeper
Riced Cauliflower is a way of sneaking more veggies into the family diet. This recipe from the Food Network won acclaim for its simplicity and appeal to both young and old. Like potato chips, it’s one of those addictive foods, that you nibble on until it’s nearly gone. But with riced cauliflower, you can pat yourself on the back, because it’s a healthy, fresh vegetable. This one-minute video recipe should convince you to give it a try.
If using whole cauliflower, trim the florets, cutting away as much stem as possible. In 3 batches, break up the florets into a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles couscous.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. At the first wisp of smoke from the oil, add onions, and stir to coat. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the onions are golden brown at the edges and have softened, about 8 minutes. Add cauliflower and stir to combine. Add 1 teaspoon salt and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower softens, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat
Spoon cauliflower into large serving bowl, garnish with parsley, sprinkle with lemon juice and season to taste with salt. Serve warm.
Kitchen Note: I added a clove of garlic with the onions and some curry powder. For color, I topped the dish with a bit of cheddar cheese. Add your own creative touches, but don’t over do it. Simplicity is best.