I was the official rice maker in my family, and I perfected a water-measuring technique that involved placing my thumb against the bottom of the pan, just like my Sitti (“grandmother” in Arabic) taught my mom. I took great pride in my fluffy rice, and it was with a heavy heart that I banished my favorite grain from my diet when I started eating paleo. Then I learned the cauliflower trick, and my pilaf was reborn.
Serves 4-6 | Prep 15 min | Cook 10 min
1 large head fresh cauliflower
1 tablespoon plus 1 tablespoon coconut oil
8 dried apricot halves, minced (about 2 tablespoons) 1 1/2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons pine (pignola) nuts
1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt and black pepper, to taste
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. Break the cauliflower into florets, removing the stems. Place the florets in the food processor bowl and pulse until the cauliflower looks like rice. This takes about 10-15 one-second pulses. You may need to do this in two batches to avoid overcrowding (which leads to mush).
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, about 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and allow it to melt. Add the apricots, raisins, pine nuts, onion, and garlic. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine and cook until the onions are translucent and the nuts start to brown, about 5 minutes.
3. Push the onions to the side of the pan and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Add the cumin and cinnamon to the oil, then stir everything together – oil, spices, onions, nuts, and fruit – so they all mingle in happy harmony. When you can smell the spices, about 30 seconds, toss in the riced cauliflower and sauté until the cauliflower is tender, about 5 minutes. Try a bite, then season with salt and pepper.
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