spring has sprung in LA! after a pretty cold and wet winter (i heard it was the chilliest one in over 100 years), we’re back in warmer temps, and sunnier days. nothing not to love. i found myself craving lighter meals that still offer a bit of warmth at the end of the day like this rice. while it’s super spring-y, it still provides you that pleasant cozy vibe for the beginnings of spring. if i remember back to living in nyc (i can’t believe it’s almost been 2 years since we moved to LA!), i can imagine the chives just starting to sprout up in our little garden in brooklyn, or the ever so tiny buds beginning to show themselves on the branches of our crab apple tree. here in southern california you can get pretty much any seasonal vegetable year round, which, while wonderful, is still confusing to me and my sense of what others are experiencing across the country.
i was at my favorite neighborhood market, cookbook, the other day. they had artichokes, cauliflower, snap peas, every kind of fresh herb, and a big bowl filled with pea shoot bouquets. it’s times like these that the excitement of picking out what’s calling to you, bring it home, and cooking up a meal on the fly. that’s what this dish was.
a meal on the fly that just happens to be something lovely enough to share here. i’m a sucker for a garlic & herb situation, and i’m always on the lookout to make cauliflower rice more palatable. so this dish combines great flavor, but also a super easy technique for making really tasty cauliflower rice. the result is a flavor you know and love mixed with a side of health - win, win!
so what’s the technique that takes a gritty, riced cauliflower to one that’s supple and actually rice-like? butter! every time i’ve made cauli rice in the past, i’ve sautéed in olive oil. and while i’m sure it might taste ok for most people, i always felt there was something missing. the (vegan) butter makes everything more luscious and full of flavor, something olive oil just can’t offer here. i also used about 2 tablespoons more of water to steam the cauliflower than i have in the past, which made a huge difference in its texture. the addition of both them here makes this cauliflower rice a bit more next-level 👌🏼
garlicky, herbed cauliflower rice w/ pea shoots | gf & v
i like serving this on the side of cooked fish or chicken (although it would be lovely with any animal protein), i also think adding cooked, marinated lentils or chickpeas would be a great addition for a plant-based version.
| serves 4-6 as a side |
1 head cauliflower, cut into medium-sized florets
3 tablespoons vegan butter (i use miyoko’s brand)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup chopped herbs (i used an equal amount of chives and parsley)
salt & fresh pepper
5-6 radishes, sliced thin on a mandolin or with a knife
1-2 cup pea shoots, microgreens, chopped baby spinach, etc.
squeeze of lemon juice
start by ricing your cauliflower. in a food processor fitted with a metal “s” blade, or in an upright blender, rice the cauliflower florets in batches, blitzing them just until they reach small rice-sized pieces (over-blitzing will result in cauliflower mush, so be on the lookout). set the cauli rice aside.
heat a large rimmed saute pan over medium heat, once hot. add the vegan butter. once it’s melted and bubbly, add the garlic and stir, cooking the garlic until fragrant; about 1 minute. add the cauliflower rice and the water, stir, cover, and turn the heat down to medium-low. let the cauliflower rice cook 6-7 minutes, until the water has evaporated and the cauli rice is tender but not overly mushy. remove from heat and add salt and pepper, to taste.
throw in the sliced radishes, pea shoots (or whatever tender green you’re using), and squeeze everything with a splash of lemon juice. toss it all together, taste and add more salt/pepper, or lemon juice if need be. serve immediately.