Who ever came up with the idea of ricing cauliflower was brilliant! It’s so versatile and healthy and if you’re trying to stay away from carbs it’s a nice substitute. Can I be honest, I like this recipe for cauliflower rice pilaf better than the real deal which you won’t even miss, plus you’ll feel really good about eating it.
Let’s talk about cauliflower rice. In the past when it first became popular I made my own with a large head of fresh cauliflower that I riced in my own food processor, but it was a production, I made a mess and usually had cauliflower all over. Now it seems that you can find it riced and ready to go almost everywhere either fresh or frozen and that makes me very happy.
Can I just tell you in all honesty, I prefer the frozen over the fresh. I love the convenience of having it stashed away in my freezer to use whenever I feel like it, it won’t spoil and the taste and texture is the same. My favorite brand is the one shown above it’s delicious, and I love the consistency in the size of the “rice”.
This cauliflower rice pilaf is a wonderful side dish to have along with fish, chicken or meats. It’s even great for lunch all week just on it’s own and you don’t even need to heat it up, I’ve eaten it straight out of the fridge like a salad. A bowl of this pilaf is very satisfying.
You can combine any veggies you like, but for me I found this combo to be excellent. Along with the cauliflower rice it has mushrooms, butternut squash, curly kale, red and yellow pepper, red onion, garlic, green onions, cranberries and some salty pecans.
I tried to give you approximate amounts so you could get some idea but I always go over, in my opinion the more veggies the better, so don’t be skimpy, enjoy, it’s all good!
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- 12 oz. of fresh or frozen cauliflower rice ( I prefer frozen for convenience)
- 1 small pack of cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 small red pepper and yellow pepper, small dice
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced small (you'll have extra)
- 4 thin green onions or 2 larger, cut in small slices
- 1 packed cup of curly kale, cut into thin strips
- ¼ cup of red onion, diced small
- a handful of dried cranberries
- a handful of salted pecans ( you could use unsalted but I prefer the salted)
- 1 large clove, garlic grated on a micro-plane or diced very finely
- a handful of chopped fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- In two separate pans roast the sliced mushrooms and the small diced butternut squash, both drizzled with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted at 425 until moisture leaves the mushrooms and the squash gets lightly golden. Set aside and let them cool.
- In a large saute pan add the garlic clove, red onion,the kale and both peppers and saute in olive oil for just a couple of seconds to soften slightly, basically until the garlic turns golden, then scoop out and set aside so it can cool down.
- Add the cauliflower rice into the large saute pan with more olive oil, season with salt and pepper and cook it until it's tender, do not overcook it! If it's frozen it just takes a few minutes. Let it cool down.
- Into a bowl add the cooked cauliflower rice, garlic, red onion, peppers and kale, mix well.
- Dump in the cooked mushrooms and also the butternut squash (you probably won't use it all).
- Toss into the bowl your green onions, parsley, cranberries and pecans, incorporating everything, mixing well adding more or less according to your liking.
- Taste for salt and pepper and drizzling more olive oil if necessary.