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Roasted cauliflower pilaf recipe at lynnecurry.com.

Get Hooked on Caramelized Cauliflower Pilaf

It’s mid-winter. Are you in a cooking rut? Fallen off the eating-well-and-treating-yourself-right wagon? {Statistically, you are not alone.}

I have to admit that my ideas are feeling stale, and when I’m hungry I reach for the crackers instead of an apple.

So, it’s a good thing I’ve saved this recipe for all of us. It’s an idea I’ve wanted to share for a while because it’s an exciting change up on the ever popular cauliflower rice. Except it’s not only for all those Whole30ers or anyone avoiding carbs.

Yes, it’s so good that it’s worth adopting no matter your current list of dos and don’ts.

Cauliflower Rice Love

Isn’t it amazing how some vegetables just take the world {or is it just Pinterest} by storm? I keep wondering when the rutabaga is going to have its moment. Kohlrabi, apparently, is next.

In the meantime, there are new variations on this novel use for cauliflower. I learned about it last spring when I was helping my dear friend Robin prepare a lunch for a group of food system folks gathering to address food needs in our community.

As is standard these days, menu planning involves taking into consideration all the variations of food sensitivities and diets, including all the people doing Whole30.

So, cauliflower rice was on the menu to serve with the Thai-style vegetarian curry stew. But Robin had the notion to roast the cauliflower.

Roasted cauliflower pilaf recipe at lynnecurry.com.

Any roasted vegetable goes into the win column in my world. So, after the usual chopping and grinding the cauliflower in a food processor until it broke up into tiny pieces, we spread it onto sheet pans.

Tossed with olive oil and salt, the cauliflower rice roasted in the oven long enough for it to brown and to take on a whole new flavor dimension. It smelled wonderful, and we attentively stirred and then spread the cauliflower out in a thin layer on the sheet pan so that it cooked evenly.

It took a bit longer than we expected and the volume of cauliflower rice shrank quite a bit. That cauliflower has a lot more moisture in it than I’d thought!

When it came out of the oven, Robin finished it with lime juice and cilantro. It was a surprising accompaniment for the stew that everyone could eat.

Roasted cauliflower pilaf recipe at lynnecurry.com.

From Roasted Cauliflower to Pilaf

For this recipe, I took the roasting a step further and combined the cauliflower rice with sautéed onion and pepper and seasoned it with fresh parsley.

I’d intended to serve it with a steak or pork chop. Instead I ended up eating a giant bowl of this cauliflower pilaf all on its own. I needed nothing more.

No matter what you call it, it’s that good. So, you can treat yourself right while eating well and give yourself some love on this Valentine’s Day.

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Roasted Cauliflower Pilaf

This vegan recipe is a main or side dish. You can add bits of leftover chicken or turkey or tofu--or top it with a fried egg--if you're feeling the need for protein.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mediterranean
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 people
Author Lynne Curry

Ingredients

  • 1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and cored organic
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus additional to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and have a baking sheet on hand. 

  2. Cut the cauliflower into florets. Pulse in batches in a food processor until finely and uniformly chopped. Transfer onto the baking sheet. Drizzle 1/4 cup of the olive oil over it and season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Spread into an even layer from edge to edge.

  3. Roast the cauliflower, stirring every 15 minutes, until most of it turns golden brown, about 30 minutes. 

  4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and pepper and cook until they begin to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.

  5. Transfer the roasted cauliflower into the skillet and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and toss with the parsley before serving

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