One of the reasons I love to cook is that food is incredibly adaptable and easy to make your own. Yes, one has to stick to the basic chemical elements and science of cooking, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with and modify recipes.
Like any normal human being, I love to eat, but my metabolism isn’t getting any younger. Consequently, I’ve been delving into different ways to cook healthier versions of not-so-healthy dishes. A few months back, I came across cauliflower fried “rice”. Yes, I mean Chinese fried rice, but rice is not an ingredient – cauliflower is its replacement. I quickly waved off the recipe after remembering the countless dinners where my mother tried to force feed the vegetable to my brother and me. It never worked – up until this past Monday, I had never before purchased cauliflower.
Leave it to Pinterest to change my ways. A recipe for this so-called fried rice caught my eye, literally. The blogger with the recipe made a point to say that the cauliflower fried rice fooled even her children into thinking they were eating the real thing. Kids duped by food? This had to be too good to be true. I was happily convinced to attempt this healthier version of one of my favorite Chinese foods.
I know it sounds unappetizing, but the cauliflower fried “rice” was delicious. The texture was different from regular fried rice – it was more like eating fried couscous – but it didn’t feel like a contrived side dish one eats just because it comes with a healthier incentive. And what was the biggest plus of all? Oh, you know, just saving around 645 calories! Yes, you read that right. The recipe calls for three cups of cauliflower at 75 calories, instead of three cups of rice at 720 calories. It was the first time I didn’t feel guilty about eating all of my fried rice. There was only one drawback: no fortune cookies.
Cauliflower Fried Rice
Ingredients (Adapted from http://www.familyfreshmeals.com/2013/03/cauliflower-fried-rice.html):
– 3 cups of shredded raw cauliflower without the stalks (use a food processor or cheese grater)
– 1 cup of frozen peas (I added extra because I love peas)
– 1/3 cup of shredded carrots
– 4 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 medium white onion, diced
– 2-3 TBSP of canola oil
– 2 eggs scrambled
– ¼ cup of panko breadcrumbs
– ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce, or to taste
-On medium heat, sauté the garlic and onions in oil for about 5 minutes or until golden and tender.
-Add the peas and carrots to the pan and let cook for about 3 minutes. Stir well.
-Add the cauliflower, panko, and soy sauce. Cook for another ten minutes while periodically mixing the contents of the pan. Mix in the scrambled eggs and let cool for a couple of minutes.
Since the cauliflower fried rice was part of dinner for meatless Monday, I paired the dish with an Asian slaw salad topped with a honey vinaigrette dressing.
Asian Slaw with Honey Vinaigrette Dressing
– ½ cup of plain Greek yogurt, plus a dollop of light mayonnaise
– 2-3 TBSP of Dijon mustard
– 4 TBSP of honey
– 2 TBSP of rice wine vinegar
– 2 tsp of vegetable oil
– 2 TBSP of water
– 1/3 cup of chow mein noodles
– 1 Package of Asian slaw salad
Place all of the dressing ingredients in a food processor and mix for about 15 seconds, or until well blended. Pour over salad and top with the chow mein noodles.