When I was living in Italy many moons ago it was a given that any meal contain carbs in it. Glorious, supremely excessive carbs. These days I try to control myself, but it’s still with wistful sighs everywhere that I think of pastas and risotto dishes cooked to perfection at a time when I could barely master the sandwich. Risotto is a notoriously difficult dish to pull off, so that combined with the idea of cutting down on unnecessary carbs (seriously, I don’t run marathons or anything!) led me down some strange paths on the internet. I usually chow my starchy items in the morning alongside my smoothie because that’s when I’m most ravenous and need fuel to kick-start my day, and also because heavy carbo-loading in the afternoon just makes me want to nap, and we usually aim to take a 40 minute walk at 17h00. Ergo, my delight was supreme when I discovered this rice-free risotto over at Vegangela. I’ve noticed that on my vegan journey I’ve come to regard dishes like this as perfectly normal, but I realize that for the majority of the people that I know in ‘real life’ there will be lots of face pulling. I would also have pulled my face a few years back, but now I just see possibility everywhere, which is pretty awesome.
Cauliflower is such a fantastic and versatile ingredient. One can easily make cake or brownies or even a pizza base (which tastes 100% “normal”!). Even with all this experimentation I realize my brain hasn’t even begun to awaken to all the tastes and combinations one can dive into. For example I’m sure tomatoes would somehow play a glorious role as a wet ingredient in cake, but that’s a trip on its own.
So, with that, here be my take on cauliflower rice.
- 1 medium head cauliflower, grated or processed
- 2 baby marrows, sliced thinly and steamed
- 2 small beetroot, grated or processed
- 1 small onion, chopped finely
- 2 tsp ginger, grated
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 handful of bean sprouts
- 1 TBSP curry powder
Optional: dried apricots (soaked for at least an hour in some fragrant or strong tea), mushrooms, chickpeas, etc.
The liquids to be added:
- 1/4 cup white wine (some wines aren’t vegan, check your local outlets and do some research if need be)
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth (I just added 1/4 cube veggie stock to 1/2 a cup of boiling water and let them alone to become friendly-like)
- 3 TBSP tomato paste
- 1 TBSP tahini
- 1 TBSP soy sauce
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- 1 TBSP prune puree or applesauce
- 3-4 TBSP boiling water
- just stir the ingredients in a mug with a smooth, whisking rather quickly. You may need to add more boiling water, TBSP at a time.
How-to (from the top!)
- I steamed my marrows ahead of time, but you can also fry them in the pan for a few minutes if that’s your style. If you have any extras that need frying or steaming (asparagus, green beans,etc, now is the time)
- In a large, non-stick pan fry your onion and ginger for a few minutes until softened over medium heat. Splash a tiny bit of water if it seems to want to stick.
- Add in the processed cauliflower along with your wine and let it simmer for 5 or so minutes. I added some curry powder at this point.
- Add the broth and simmer with the lid on for five minutes.
- Fold in your bean sprouts, beetroot and red pepper. You can also add your extras. Reduce heat to medium-low.
- Pour in your extra sauce and stir to ensure enough of the rice mixture is covered in it.
- Splash on some spices and stir again very thoroughly.
- Put the cover on and let it go wild for another five minutes, splashing lemon juice or wine to taste.
- Beans may actually go very well with this! Lovely black beans..mmm…with chopped figs!
Seriously – so delightful! That slight hint of a crunch smothered in a lovely nutty soy and tomato sauce which just brings home the richness in a way that I guess a creamy sauce would have done. I prefer this one!
To top it off I used some of this delightful spicy fruit and beet chutney I made on Friday evening. The slight acidity just lifted up the dish to a completely new level of noms. My serving ended up with some plain-baked tofu on top (I love the straight-up taste for some reason).
And so concludes my weekend feast! Now I’m going downstairs to rummage in the freezer for some of my delightful raw peach and beet coffee cake! Nom nom :D