Veggie burrito bowls with cauliflower rice

If this post comes across as just a little curmudgeonly --and hopefully it doesn't-- know I'm miserable, isolated and somewhat self-pitying right now because I have the chicken pox. I KNOW, who gets the chicken pox anymore? Apparently those of us who had such mild cases as children we didn't get the vaccine, but unbeknownst to our families, our cases didn't actually "count". Lucky for me, my parents happened to have planned a visit for this time. Not so lucky for them. But I do appreciate my mom taking care of me; and more, the extra hands to help look after the Little Monkey. I'm just praying he doesn't come down with it, too, though at least it shouldn't be as excruciating as adult chicken pox. That's itchy and burning, relentless and awful and painfully sore. It super sucks a big one. BOO!

cauli_rice (1)

Anyway, know that I was itching (can't resist the masochistic geeky pun) to try cauliflower rice. Yet, fully prepared to dislike it. Too much enthusiasm resulting in setting the bar low. Because, while I really like cauliflower, I also can't help but love rice. Plain, white, boiled rice, mmm. Unfortunately, unlike cauliflower, which brings benefits like vitamin C, manganese, vitamin K, phytochemicals, fiber and more to the table, we know white rice is basically devoid of nutrition.

cauli_rice (3)It was a pleasant surprise, then, to discover, yes, I do like cauliflower rice! The key is...well, actually, there are a couple of keys. First, the preparation: steam it with a little vegetable broth, then toss it with a generous splash of lime juice and a handful of chopped cilantro (the latter step, thanks to another impeccable suggestion by the lovely and talented foodie-chef Rebecca). Then, equally important or more so, remember it's not rice. It may look rice-like and even achieve a texture resembling rice, but it is and tastes like cauliflower. Use it as a rice alternative in place of a bed of rice, but don't expect it to be an automatic substitute in just anything. Follow these tips, and you should be good.

Surprisingly, once you adopt the mindset that you've chosen cauliflower as a stand-in but not a double for rice, the similarity in appearance is kind of enough. As long as you like cauliflower.

Veggie burrito bowls with cauliflower rice

  • 1 cauliflower
  • a generous squeeze of lime
  • a handful of cilantro
  • small amount of vegetable broth for steaming (about 2 tablespoons)
  • one batch (using 1 pound pinto beans) slow cooker refried beans
  • whatever vegetable assortment you want to use for roasting or grilling with a splash of olive oil, sea salt and pepper (this time I used mushrooms, red and yellow peppers, red onion, and zucchini)
  • salsa to serve

I followed this guide from Oh My Veggies for prepping the cauliflower rice. I chose the steaming option, using two tablespoons of vegetable broth, and then mixed in chopped cilantro and lime juice just before serving. Here's how assembling the bowls looked at our house. Far from perfect, but possibly useful for anyone who, like me, is whipping around like a tornado fitting an hour's worth of jobs in 7 minutes here and there these days. :)

1) 5:30 am, Put refried bean ingredients in the slow cooker and start it before run while monkey and dad sleep. 2) 8 am, chop cauliflower into florets and process to resemble rice before Dave goes to work and while Felix sits and babbles with us in his high chair. Store in zip lock in fridge.

*Forget about dinner and take one the day's work and play**

3) 5 pm, chop vegetables while Felix is in exersaucer. 4) 7 pm, put Little Monkey to bed, season chopped vegetables and roast or grill, steam cauliflower rice, and assemble bowls topped with a little salsa...20 minutes and done.


Wendy McMillanComment