A few months ago, I discovered Curry Fried F’Rice over on Paleo-Steve’s blog, and it drastically changed my relationship with cauliflower. Cauly and I went from casual acquaintances to intimate confidantes immediately. Then I made this Cauliflower Fouscous Pilaf (faux + couscous = Fouscous), and were are now lifetime BFFs. (If you need some rationale for why cauliflower should immediately become a staple in your diet, read this.)
Cauliflower FousCous Pilaf
Makes two servings of pilaf, with enough cauliflower left over for another meal
1 large head of fresh cauliflower
1/4 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 a small onion or 1/4 large)
2 tablespoons pine (pignola) nuts
2 tablespoons raisins, dried cranberries, or chopped dried apricots
1 tablespoon olive oil, separated into two 1.5-teaspoon servings
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Note: I used pine nuts, but walnuts, pistachios, almonds, and pecans would all be very tasty. Mix it up and see what you like best!
1. Make the Fouscous.
Wash the cauliflower and break it into florets. Cut off the stem part. The stems can be chewy and unpleasant, and they don’t cooperate with the food processor. The processing of the cauliflower has to be done in batches to get the right consistency. Sorry! If you want deliciousness, you’re gonna have to do a little work.
Place a handful of florets in a food processor and PULSE until the cauliflower looks like couscous. (If you don’t know what I mean, look at this.) Dump that batch into a bowl and repeat until all of the florets have been reduced to cauliflower dust. Measure about 3 cups for now, and put the rest in the fridge for later.
2. Sautée the onions.
Heat 1.5 teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat. When it starts to shimmer, add the onions and dried fruit, if you’re going that way. (And I recommend you do… like, plan your other fruit that day around this pilaf. For real. Or leave the fruit out if you must. I made this without the pine nuts and fruit in a pinch, and it was almost as good.)
Sautée the onions and nuts and fruit over medium-ish heat until the onions and nuts begin to brown. Be gentle and give them time. The natural sugars in the onions will carmelize into a deep, rich flavor.
3. Add the spices and cauliflower.
Mix the spices together in a little cup. To replace their fabulousness, they need to be in embraced by some fat, so here’s what you do: Push the onions to the side of the pan, and add the remaining 1.5 teaspoons of oil. Let it heat up a bit, then add the spices and stir stir stir everything together: onions, nuts, oil, spices, all co-mingling in happy harmony. When things get all fragrant, toss in the cauliflower and stir stir stir. Sprinkle the whole shebang with salt and pepper. Stir stir stir.
4. Eat! Oooh! Aaah!
Revel in your vegetable awesomeness. Maybe even feel slightly superior to people still making their pilaf with rice, bulgur, or couscous. (That’s just SO Bactrian).
I’ve eaten this alongside a grilled chicken breast, as a bed under grilled and sliced chicken thighs, nestled next to a somewhat sad turkey burger found in the back of the freezer and heated in a pan while I growled that I really didn’t buy enough protein at the store this time. Each meal was elevated by the Cauliflower Fouscous Pilaf. I hope you like it, too! (Next time I make it, I’m topping it with a pile of ground lamb sauteed with pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and parsley.)
*FREE BONUS RECIPE*
Here’s one for the leftovers. Make it salad-y.
Toss the leftover Fouscous with whole olives, chopped fresh parsley, chopped fresh chives or the green part of a few scallions, a chopped cucumber, a chopped tomato, and equal amounts of lemon juice and olive oil. Let it rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Eat. Enjoy!
*AND IF YOU ACT NOW*
Here’s another favorite cauliflower recipe that’s totally low-maintenance… Spiced Cauliflower.
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