Kneads and Cravings: The feigned grain

For reasons beyond my understanding, we as a society have turned our backs on grains. It’s not a new thing, but it is becoming increasingly trendy to not only avoid eating grains like rice and bread (potatoes, while not a grain, are also a victim here) but also to create healthier, vegetable based dishes.

Out with the noodles and in with spiralized vegetables.

I happen to be in a very long-term relationship with bread. I certainly don’t eat mountains of it, but I could certainly see myself winding up in a fist fight with Oprah over who loves bread more (she would win, I mean I’d see her and just be in awe of her). However, I am guilty of joining the vegetable substitution bandwagon. I make zoodles with pesto pretty often. I sometimes tease my friends by preparing buffalo cauliflower bites instead of making buffalo wings.

Given that this time of year there’s an abundance of dense meals being passed around the holiday tables I thought it might be a good idea to try something to give my body a break from the series of bread rolls that have graced my plate.

I haven’t tried to make fake bread yet, but I did attempt fried cauliflower rice to see if it could hold its own again fried rice.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous column, I’m very attached to my Chinese food, so the idea that I could snub regular rice and be some sort of health goddess by replacing it with shredded cauliflower was tempting. Admittedly I was hesitant to try this out, as I wasn’t sure if there would be enough soy sauce in the world to stomp out the cauliflower odor and allow me to forget that I wasn’t eating rice, but it turned out pretty well.

Fried Cauliflower Rice

Serves 4

1 head of cauliflower

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 carrot

2 garlic cloves

2 eggs

2 tablespoons soy sauce

6 scallions

Shred the cauliflower with a cheese grater or a food processor until the pieces are the size of rice grains (pre-shredded cauliflower is also available in most grocery stores). Cube the carrot and dice the garlic (or if you have a jar of pre-minced garlic just use 2 tablespoons of that) and stir fry them in a skillet with the sesame oil over a medium low heat. After five minutes add the cauliflower and cook until it is tender. Once the cauliflower is tender, lower the heat and make a well in the middle of the pan. Crack the eggs in the opening and scramble them. Once the eggs are fully cooked add the soy sauce (low sodium works) and the chopped scallions and serve.

The rice is pretty simple, so feel free to add pork or edamame to the recipe. Or if you hate veggies, the recipe could be used to make regular fried rice by nixing the cauliflower for the real deal. Happy eating!