It took us awhile to embrace cauliflower rice.
You might have seen references to cauliflower rice around the internet the last few years. It’s big with folks who eat low-carb. It’s just like rice! I’ve seen some people write. To which I want to write, No, it’s not. Cauliflower is not rice, even if it’s the same shape. It’s still cauliflower.
Tell truth, I’ve never been a fan of claims that say a substitute is just like the real thing. Why can’t we accept things for what they are? Can’t we celebrate the homely, the second-run, the things set apart?
So I’ve been resistant. When I want a bowl of soft fluffy white rice, I eat it. When I want cauliflower, I roast it.
Luckily, I like to keep an open mind.
I still don’t like cauliflower rice as a rice substitute. It’s not a rice substitute. It’s a great way to eat cauliflower.
All you do is cut up a head of cauliflower, then throw it into the food processor. If you don’t own a food processor, set to work with a knife. Whirl them around for a few minutes and you have particles of cauliflower. (Yes, take them until they look like rice.) Now, caramelize them with onions and pour gravy on the top? You have a deeply flavorful vegetable dish with the taste and heft of Thanksgiving stuffing. Or, if you’re like us, you’re going to want to use the entire, enormous head of cauliflower to make platters of cauliflower fritters.
Our kids love these. If we are working to make a good meal and skip a trip to the store, we grab a handful of the cauliflower we riced earlier in the week, mix it up with the inch of gluten-free flour we have left in the bag, eggs, baking powder, and some salt and pepper. A skillet with a skim of hot oil? Easy peasy. It doesn’t require much money to make good food.
To make the cauliflower rice.
Cut the cauliflower. Cut the woody bottom part of the stem of cauliflower away from the head.
Using a sharp large knife, cut the head of cauliflower into 1-inch thick slices.
Process the cauliflower. Working in batches, fill the bowl of the food processor half full with cauliflower slices. Turn the power on high and let it whirl until all of the cauliflower is broken down into small pieces the size of grains of rice. Pick out any large parts that did not break down. Toss them or put them into the next batch.
When you have processed the entire cauliflower, put it into a large storage container. You can use it all through the next few days. (Remember that the smell of cauliflower is strong, so you might want to hold your nose when you open the storage container by day three. It’s still fine. Just strong.)
For even more colorful dishes, use orange or purple cauliflower.
for the fritters
Make the fritter batter. Put 1/2 the riced cauliflower into a large bowl. Put the almond flour, eggs, baking powder, oregano, and salt into the bowl. Mix them up until the fritter batter is a wetter form of the cauliflower by itself.
Cook the fritters. Set a large skillet on medium-high heat. (Cast-iron or nonstick are best here.) Pour in enough oil to cover the bottom of the skillet. When the oil is hot, form a patty with about 2 tablespoons of batter and firm the patty up in your hands. Carefully place the patty in the hot oil. Repeat until you have 4 to 5 patties in the skillet. Do not overcrowd. Let the patties cook until the bottoms are browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip them, carefully, since the top part is not set yet. Let the fritter cook until the bottoms are browned, about 3 minutes.
Repeat with the remaining fritter batter.
Feel like playing? These are good on their own but you can also top them with roasted red pepper aioli or herby green sauce or sour cream and scallions. You’ll know. And you’re going to make lots of these so play each time. You could also replace half of the cauliflower with riced broccoli as well.