If you’re like me, you have probably experimented with what I call “diet food”. When I say this, I don’t necessarily mean salad and grilled chicken and streamed vegetables. I’m talking about all the foods that you use to trick yourself into thinking you’re eating something hearty and satisfying, but deep down, you know it’s just not the same.
For instance, whose brain has ever successfully convinced them that using a lettuce wrap instead of a buttery, toasted bun makes a hamburger taste better? Not to be insensitive to my gluten intolerant babes, but there’s just no comparison. And what about cacao nibs in place of chocolate chips? I haven’t even tried that one and I already don’t believe it.
I’ve tried the cauliflower pizza crust, and the breadsticks, and the mashed “potato” cauliflower, but every one of those recipes has left me yearning for the real deal. In fact, I’m ashamed to admit that once after eating a less-than-filling cauliflower pizza, I gave in to my still-hungry gut and ordered a real pizza… and ate more calories than if I had just gone with the classic pizza!
But, on one of my recent no-carb kicks, I tried doing the cauliflower rice instead of real rice, and I have to admit, I actually really liked it!
This has been one gleaming success floating in a sea of dietary disasters, mostly because I’ve never been able to convince my brain that healthy food = delicious food. When I think of food that satiates my soul, I think of chewy Italian bread and al dente pasta and creamy mashed potatoes. Basically, I drool over the thought of carbohydrates. In fact, I 100% believe that people can be addicted to carbs the same way they can be addicted to drugs. Wheat and gluten are definitely my drugs of choice.
I do have to admit, rice has never really been a staple of my diet. I always preferred pasta. But, this cauliflower rice is making its way onto my table more and more. I love the texture because it’s so close to actual rice. And, it basically absorbs any flavor you give it, just like this chicken fried version. Nothing about this dish screams “diet food” at all.
The best part about this dish is that it leaves you with a feeling of actually being fed”. I can’t tell you how many times I chewed down on what felt like 5 lbs. of salad only to feel like I’d eaten air. I was hungry again in less than an hour! With this cauliflower rice, I feel full. I feel like I actually ate something satisfying. I don’t have to force my brain to believe something untrue. I can actually enjoy this meal and feel good about it after!
I typically pair this with chicken cooked in a variety of sauces. After getting a pressure cooker for Christmas, I’ve been experimenting with Asian-style chicken recipes to go with my chicken fried rice and it definitely does not disappoint. I can’t wait try some other cauliflower recipes soon!
Cauliflower Chicken Fried Rice
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 white onion
3 cups frozen vegetable medley (corn, carrots, peas), thawe
2 cups chicken stock
1 head of cauliflower
2-3 tbsp soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Whisk eggs in a small bowl and pour into pan to cook. Cut the eggs into small pieces. Set aside.
In another large cooking pan, cook the onions over medium heat in the other 2 tbsp of olive oil for 3-5 minutes, or until the onions become translucent. Add the vegetables and chicken stock and cook another 10 minutes.
Cut the cauliflower head into large chunks and chop finely in a food processor. Use the pulse setting to control the size of the cauliflower pieces until it looks like uncooked rice. Add the cauliflower to the hot chicken stock. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat. Stir in soy sauce and season to taste. Stir to fully incorporate.
Serve hot. Makes 8-10 servings.