Rice, especially prepared as a pilaf, biryani, or risotto, is one of those foods that I love but do not trust myself around. At 200 calories for 1/2 cup of plain cooked rice, it just isn’t a good fit with my low calorie diet because at half a cup, I am just getting started!
Enter riced cauliflower. Anything rice can do, cauliflower can do better. Well, okay, maybe not better, but at least as good for hardly any calories.
We all have such different palates, but this dish strikes all the right notes in terms of flavor profile and balance for mine. I hope it does for yours!
Middle Eastern Cauliflower Pilaf (vegan/plant-based)
2 tablespoons vegan butter, divided
1/4 cup chopped roasted and salted pistachios
1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds
8 ounces diced white or yellow onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced
20 ounces riced cauliflower
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup vegetable stock
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon tahini
Optional but recommended: 1 teaspoon tamarind or pomegranate syrup (found in Middle Eastern and international grocery stores)
1/2 cup chopped apricots or dates
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley
Garnishes: additional roasted and salted nuts, including cashews, and more snipped parsley
Recommended accompaniment: cucumber salad
In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter, add pistachios and almonds, and sautee, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes or until nuts become fragrant and begin to toast. Remove from skillet and set aside. Melt remaining tablespoon butter, add onion and garlic, an saute for 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is softened. add all remaining ingredients except garnish and accompaniments, Sir well, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is cooked through and flavors are beautifully melted. Stir in toasted nuts. Serve with a few additional nuts and some fresh parsley sprinkled over the top. A cucumber and onion salad with a little salt, sugar, and vinegar is especially tasty and pretty on the side.
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