Saffron Cauliflower Rice

Saffron Cauliflower Rice, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Is there a more gorgeous looking vegetable than cauliflower? This is, of course, a rhetorical question because the answer to anyone who has ever held a perfect head of cauliflower in their hands should be an obvious “No!”.

Cauliflower florets are a perfect ingredient for things like vegan Buffalo wings – if you haven’t tried those yet drop whatever you are planning to make, and prepare the Buffalo wing right now! Cauliflower is also great for soups, pickled, and in curries.

In addition to all that, cauliflower can also be made into rice. Yes, you read that right – cauliflower = rice. It may strike you as strange but do follow along and you’ll thank me later. The cauliflower rice is something that was invented to fit the whole paleo eating craze – an alternative to rice that’s carb-friendly. I had it as a sort of cauliflower “risotto” and that was OK. I’ll make it again one day, and share here once I work out the ways to improve it.

The recipe here, on the other hand, is great as is, which may be hard to believe given that it’s just cauliflower with some saffron in it. The inspiration for Saffron Cauliflower Rice was my recipe for basmati rice, one of the favorite side dishes I serve with most of my Indian-inspired dishes, like Chicken-less Tikka Masala, Jackfruit Tikka Masala, Creamy Mango & Chickpea Curry Tofu, or Tofu Saag.

I was looking for something to serve with my meatless Koftas, and since I had a lovely head of cauliflower on my hands I went for it. All you need to do to make the rice is to run your cauliflower through a food processor. I used relatively closely chopped florets but you can use as much of the stems as you like. Depending on the size of your food processor you may need to do the zapping in batches. The ricing itself takes only a couple of 2-5 second pulses. At the end your cauliflower should be the size of rice grains. For basmati rice texture, the grains should be a bit larger than for risotto. But, the size of cauliflower rice “grains” will have no impact on cooking, it’s for esthetic quality only, so use your judgment to decide whether you need to be that nit picky.

Making of cauliflower rice takes less time and is more hands off then making rice, so all in all once you are done grating, using a food processor or a grater, the cauliflower rice will be ready in about ten minutes. You can serve this saffron as a side with any Indian, North African or Middle Eastern recipe, like the lovely koftas I already mentioned!

Saffron Cauliflower Rice

What you’ll need:

1 large head of cauliflower

1/4 cup water (if needed)

3-5 springs of saffron

Cooking spray or olive oil


What you’ll do:

  1. Wash the cauliflower, cut the florets and place them into a food processor. Process the cauliflower into rice grain size pieces.
  2. Spray the bottom of a large pan with cooking spray, or use a tablespoon of oil. Place over the medium heat and add the cauliflower rice. Let the cauliflower sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the water to help scrape any cauliflower rice that’s stuck to the bottom off, stir well, than place saffron on top, put the lid on the pan, lower the heat and let the cauliflower rice simmer for another 5 minutes. The saffron will release its magic yellow-orange color and the cauliflower rice will be done. Don’t stir it too much – I like the non-uniform color and it makes for a striking plate presentation!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2018

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