Cauliflower is a kitchen chameleon that’s available at most every grocery store year-round. Once pulverized into granules, it becomes a weeknight savior, keeping in the refrigerator for nearly a week and stepping in easily for normal rice. For the most flavorful cauliflower rice, use a little fat; add alliums like onion, garlic and scallions; and roast it instead of steaming or sautéing it, so the raw edges caramelize. Pop the little florets into the oven while you make the rest of dinner, then serve it as you would rice: with curry, a stir-fry, a protein and a vegetable, or just an egg on top. Cauliflower rice is also very amenable to having flavors added before or after roasting (see some ideas in the recipe below), or simply being eaten raw, dressed like a salad.
- Serves: 10 persons
- 2medium cauliflowers (about 4 pounds total), cored and cut into florets
- 6tablespoons olive oil
- 2large garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon), optional
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 ½tablespoons canola or other neutral oil
- 1(2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
- 4garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 ½teaspoons sesame oil
- ½teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- Kosher salt
- 3tablespoons tahini
- 2tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼cup freshly grated Parmesan
- Black pepper
- ½cup red onion or shallots, finely chopped
- ¼cup scallions, thinly sliced
- ½cup cilantro leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
- ¼cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
- 2tablespoons fish sauce
- 2tablespoons lime juice
- 2teaspoons red-pepper flakes
Step 1Heat the oven to 425 degrees if you’re serving the rice cooked.
Step 2Fill a food processor halfway with cauliflower florets, then pulse until it breaks down to about 1/4- and 1/8-inch pieces and resembles rice. Transfer to a very large bowl. Repeat with the remaining florets. The rice can be eaten at this point, or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 days or in the freezer for 1 month.
Step 3To serve warm, toss the rice with olive oil and garlic (if using), then spread in an even layer on 2 baking sheets. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until dark golden brown at the edges and lightly golden all over, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve plain or with 1 of the sauces below.
Step 4For the ginger-garlic sauce: Heat oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, then stir in sesame oil, red-pepper flakes and a pinch of salt. Pour over cauliflower rice, toss to combine and serve at once.
Step 5For the tahini-Parmesan sauce: In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine 3 tablespoons water, tahini and lemon juice. Once warm, add grated Parmesan and continue stirring until the cheese has melted and the sauce has come together. Season with black pepper. Drizzle over the cauliflower rice, to taste. Pass extra at the table.
Step 6For Thai-style rice: To the cooked rice, add red onion, scallions, cilantro, mint, fish sauce, lime juice and red-pepper flakes. Toss to combine and serve at once.