Cauliflower Rice with Portobello Mushroom Stir Fry

I feel like I have to preface this recipe. I am not a vegetarian. I do not follow a paleo or low carb diet. I eat what I feel like eating and cook what I want (you’re not the boss of me!). I am not trying to convert you to a new fad diet. I just happened to make a really amazing stir fry that falls into a bunch of trending diet categories.

Ok, preface over: This is a recipe that really surprised me. I created it for a BeFunky.com guest blog post, and I was so pleased with the results. I love mushrooms—I knew it was going to be good, but I just didn’t expect it to be SO good.

This stir fry hits all the right notes: salty, spicy, really savory with a tiny hint of sweet from the honey. The portobellos are really beefy and satisfying, even for a carnivore like me and the ginger, garlic, chilis, and soy give it the unmistakeable flavor and balance of a classic Asian dish. It is just so packed with flavor.

And, hello, cauliflower rice. Where have you been all my life? It’s such a funny thing. I did NOT expect to love it so much. I’ve been reading all of these cauliflower recipes, from cauliflower pizza crusts to cauliflower “mashed potatoes,” and as much as I do love cauliflower, I have to admit that some of the recipes made me roll my eyes. But I finally gave this a try to keep within the paleo/vegetarian/low carb theme and I take back my eye rolling. It is surprisingly delicate and satisfying and serves exactly the same purpose as rice: soaking up all the yummy stir fry juices!

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I drove a plate over to my mushroom loving friend and her daughters (ages 7 and 6) begged to have it for dinner that night! She texted me a picture of them holding their clean bowls! A vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo, low fat/low carb recipe that kids beg to eat? I’m still patting myself on the back. Oh, and I’m pretty sure the stir fry would be vegan-friendly, too, if the honey was swapped for something else… just a thought.

I am including the recipe for the cauliflower rice below, and you can check out my BeFunky post and stir fry recipe here: 5 Pinterest Tips for Food Bloggers Featuring Paleo Stir Fry Recipe! 

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Cauliflower Rice

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or coconut oil (whatever oil you prefer)
  • pinch of salt and pepper
Cut cauliflower into florets, removing any large pieces of stem. Either grate the cauliflower on the large holes of a box grater, or pulse florets in food processor until you have fine, rice sized pieces. You will need to work in two or three batches to ensure you don’t over process the cauliflower. You want it fine, but don’t take it to the point where it becomes wet.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet and add the cauliflower. (**The stir-fry I served this with is so flavorful I don’t even bother with seasoning the rice in this recipe, but if you are serving it as a plain side dish add a sprinkle of salt and pepper**)
Cook over medium-low heat stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let steam off the heat for 5-10 minutes.

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Chickpea and Mango Salad

This is a surprising little salad that I became addicted to during my last semester. I found it at an Indian restaurant on campus, Indaroma, that also makes the most delicious curries — their butter chicken is another addiction of mine.

I picked this salad up one night because I wanted something filling, (how embarrassing is it when your stomach growls really loud in the middle of class?), but not something that would make me so full I’d need a nap. I’m so glad I tried it. It really is filling and satisfying from the chickpeas, and it’s packed with flavor — tart from the lime, spicy from the chili pepper, and sweet from the mango.

I spent plenty of time eating it, so I think I’ve done a pretty good job recreating it. The mint was my addition; I just thought it would be good. I also think some finely diced cucumber would be nice… maybe next time. It’s a perfect summertime salad, and would go great with pretty much anything grilled, but especially seafood or chicken.

Here’s how I made it:

 

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Chickpea and Mango Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 15 ounce cans of chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/2 of a red fresno or jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and finely diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

To prepare:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. Serve right away or cover and store in the fridge. It will just get better as it sits.

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Crispy Potatoes with Pancetta and Herbs

I get really excited about these potatoes. I’m excited right now just typing about them. I wish I had some… And I’m really excited to share them with you! They are obviously meant to be a side dish, but I made them the other day just because–all by themselves. It seemed like the right thing to do, and it was. Once you make them, you’ll understand why. They are crispy and salty, but the insides are still soft and pillowy. They can accompany anything–fish, chicken, beef, even eggs. (I just thought of the egg/breakfast/brunch possibilities!)

My friend introduced this recipe to me and I was hooked at first taste. Of course I doodled around and made it my own, ’cause that’s just what I do. That’s the fun of cooking; you can adjust any recipe to suit your tastes, your mood, or your whim. I call these “with herbs” because you can really use any hearty herb while roasting them: bay, rosemary, thyme, oregano or a combination. And you can toss on any soft herb just before serving: chives, parsley, or dill. You pick! And if herbs aren’t your thing, you can’t go wrong with just salt and pepper. The spicing and herbing is completely up to you. Be creative and use what you love! I grew up eating my dad’s rosemary roasted potatoes, so I have to add it, and I add bay leaves and garlic anytime I boil potatoes–whether for mashed potatoes, potato salad, or these wonderful babies. It really adds something, but again, this is totally up to you.

The technique is really neat, too. Besides being really fun, the shaking breaks up the potatoes, and coats them all in a thin layer of mashed potato, so when they roast they get really crispy on the outside.

This is how I made mine.

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Crispy Potatoes with Pancetta and Herbs

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs small potatoes; I prefer yukon gold, but any “new” potatoes will be perfect
  • 8 ounces diced pancetta (or bacon–whatever salty,porky goodness you prefer)
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2-3 whole peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (from 1-2 sprigs)
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

To Prepare:

Preheat oven to 375.

Slice the larger potatoes in half, and if you have smaller ones leave them whole, even if they are all the same size, leave a few whole. Add potatoes to a large pot that has a tightly fitting lid (the lid will come into play later), cover with water so that potatoes are covered by 1 inch. Salt the water generously (like you’re cooking pasta), add bay leaves and garlic cloves, and bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place pancetta or bacon and herbs on a sheet tray and roast while potatoes are simmering.

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After ten minutes, remove sheet tray from oven and raise oven temp to 425.

Drain potatoes in colander, return to pot, and with oven mitts or a towel, carefully and firmly grasp handles and lid of pot. Make sure it is tightly closed and shake vigorously for 5 seconds. You should have some pretty mashed up looking potatoes when you’re done.

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Add potatoes to the sheet tray, and with a wooden spoon or spatula, gently press down on the whole potatoes, so they pop under the pressure (this is very satisfying, and now you will understand why I told you to leave a few of them whole). Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon salt; keep in mind the saltiness of the pancetta/bacon), toss to combine and roast for another 20-30 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the skins get crispy.

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Serve alongside anything. Or just pile them into a bowl and enjoy. No judgment here.

*Recipe adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Foolproof cookbook.