Cauliflower-Carrot Golden "Rice"
I’ve been spending an awful lot of time in the air recently, and it’s led to a rather profound self-realization: I’m the world’s nosiest person on planes.
I can’t help it. I surreptitiously assess what people around me are eating, reading, working on, or watching, and I will shamelessly eavesdrop on their conversations. (I think the eavesdropping is genetic—my mom was once invited to join someone else’s birthday dinner while we were at Mr. Chow’s because she was listening to their convo and decided to interject. #shameless)
I’m currently in the air, and a very unlikely pair has bonded across the aisle from me. She’s a young hip hop artist with electric blue hair, he’s a 40 year-old banker, and they’ve been talking nonstop since boarding in Miami. After sharing her journey as a musician, she ate a hot dog and is now sharing her French fries with him while he explains shorting stocks. They’re basically best friends, which is pretty damn awesome.
The guy next to me is reading emails in Spanish and sighing a lot, so I assume he’s very busy and important, and the man in the window seat is taking copious handwritten notes in a spiral notebook containing illegible calculations. He definitely works for NASA. (asdkjfdjkl!! He felt my gaze and we just made eye contact. Now it’s weird. Oops.)
Anyhoo, given my penchant for in-flight observations, it always cracks me up to consider my seatmates’ perceptions of ME should they also be nosy parkers. Take today for example. I spent the first 5 minutes after boarding trying to clean spilled green smoothie from the inside of my bag (which has a whisk and two Pyrex bowls peeking out), and then chortled into my #snackpack while watching Busy Phillips’ Insta-story from her Disney Cruise. When I opened my computer to work on this post, the things open on my screen were: this video, a Word doc titled “JUST THE TIP,” iTunes playing the Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire audiobook, a very complicated bookkeeping spreadsheet my roommate built for me, and 6 photos of Cauliflower-Carrot Golden Rice. I can only imagine the ways one could synthesize this overwhelming intel to create a personal profile. Children’s entertainment consultant slash food fetishist? (I’m down with that.)
Funnily enough, my food photos have sparked many an in-flight interaction. As I play around with the exposure on a slider or smoothie, peeps will sometimes ask me what I do (at which point I get to reveal my weird blog lady roots!!), and that’s exactly what happened on my flight down to Miami yesterday. The very nice woman sitting next to me was ogling the cauli rice situation on my screen and blurted, “What is that?!” I told her it was Cauliflower-Carrot Golden Rice, which led to a conversation about how to make it/why I love it, and I told her all the things I’m about to tell you…
First and foremost, this “rice”—which is just cauliflower florets and carrots pulsed in a food processor until they take on the consistency of rice—is loaded with flavor and texture. The rice gets a quick sauté with turmeric, the anti-inflammatory spice that gives this recipe its golden hue, cumin, and enough cayenne pepper to give it a nice little kick. Off the heat, it gets tossed with plenty of zippy lemon juice, fresh parsley, plump golden raisins, and raw almonds for crunch. The end result is an earthy yet bright dish with epic pops of crunch and sweetness.
But wait, there’s more! In addition to its deliciousness, this plant-based wonder is also bursting with health benefits. It’s loaded with fiber, disease-fighting antioxidants including beta-carotene, and healthy fats. And it just happens to be vegan, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly. The recipe comes together from start to finish in about 20 minutes, tastes great warm, at room temp, or cold, and travels impeccably. HALLELUJAH.
I’ve been crushing this rice on its own as a #sassydesklunch (in the air and on the ground), but it’s also a great side, and a killer base for your favorite healthy bowl meals (so hot right now). Pictured is one of my favorite recent bowl combos featuring Golden Rice, which has spiced Idiot-proof Chicken Breasts, sliced lemon-y cucumbers, pea shoots, hummus and harissa, but the rice bowling possibilities are infinite and awesome. You do you.
One quick recipe note to keep in mind: The secret to fluffy cauliflower rice is making sure you don’t overcrowd the food processor. If you add too many florets, you’ll end up with very fine cauliflower mush on the outside of the bowl by the time the florets in the center are broken down to the proper size. I recommend pulsing about a cup of florets at a time, which takes an extra minute or so but works like a charm. If you don’t have a food processor, don’t panic, you can “rice” cauliflower and carrots using a box grater (just be careful of your fingies). Or skip the ricing step altogether and pick up a bag of cauliflower rice at your local grocery store.
Now go forth and get your golden on, friends.
Cauliflower-Carrot Golden “Rice”: (Serves 6)
1 cup roughly chopped carrots
1 medium head cauliflower, florets only
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Juice of 1 lemon
¾ cup chopped Italian parsley leaves
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup chopped raw almonds
Lemon wedges for serving (optional)
Preparing your Cauliflower-Carrot Golden “Rice”:
-Add the carrots to the bowl of a food processor.
-Pulse until they’re finely chopped and take on the texture of “rice.” Transfer to a large bowl and briefly set aside.
-Add one third of the cauliflower florets to the bowl of a food processor.
-Pulse until the florets become coarse granules that resemble rice. (Be careful not to overprocess, peeps, or you’ll end up with cauliflower mush.) Transfer the cauliflower rice to the bowl with the carrots. Repeat this process twice more until all of the cauliflower has been riced. (You should have about 6 cups of cauliflower-carrot rice.)
-Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the cauliflower and carrot rice, turmeric, cayenne, cumin, and a good pinch of salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the rice is just tender. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
-Fold in the parsley, raisins and chopped almonds. Taste and season with a little extra salt if needed.
-Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled with extra lemon wedges if you like.
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