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

Homemade 1-Minute Peanut Butter Nutella

Homemade 1-minute Peanut Butter Nutella, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Believe it or not, you can now make your own Nutella-like spread in less than a minute. Yes, you read that right – and it is not a question of gimmicky gadgets or anything like that. It’s really all about having three ingredients at hand and readily available. The trifecta in this case consists of peanut butter powder, cocoa powder and stevia.

Peanut butter powder is my newest discovery so let me rave about it for few minutes. I believe that you can now get peanut butter powder in any US-based grocery store. Even the peanut butter behemoth, Jif, has its own version of this product, which I have not tried yet so can’t really comment on whether that specific brand is any good and how it compares to others.

Peanut butter powder is mostly protein left over after you remove most of the fat (and thus lots of calories), so it is an ideal addition to smoothies, oatmeal, baking, even desserts like Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups (as a substitute for almond butter), and even Pad Thai or other dishes that ask for peanut butter. The powder adds creaminess and packs all of that peanut flavor so a little usually goes quite a long way.

Plus, as a bonus, it transforms into a peanut butter-like spread when mixed with some water!

There are couple of different peanut butter powder “formulations” out there so check the ingredients list first in order to make an informed decision. My first excursion into the peanut butter powder land involved a product that contained added sugar, and that was not what I was looking for. So, I currently use peanut butter powder that lists only one ingredient: peanuts! Needless to say, if you do have a peanut allergy, this is not for you!!!

The recipe below is my new go-to, quick fix bread spread which has less calories, is low-fat and low-sugar so completely vegan, paleo-friendly, and done in a minute. I call it Homemade Peanut Butter Nutella because it combines that rich darkness of cocoa with the peanut aromas into a creamy spread. The recipe below makes one serving – I’ve no clue whether this would store well because I make one single serving at a time, so I recommend you start off using it in this way as well.

Homemade 1-Minute Peanut Butter Nutella

What you’ll need:

2 tablespoons peanut butter powder (no sugar added)

2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder

1 packet stevia powder (or your sweetener of choice)

2-3 tablespoons hot water

What you’ll do:

  1. Combine the dry ingredients (peanut butter powder, cocoa powder and stevia) in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add hot water, one tablespoon at a time, and mix well with a spoon until you get the smooth and spreadable consistency.
  3. Enjoy on toast, fruit, or in any other way you would normally use a spread like Nutella for!!!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2018

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Basic Pad Thai is a simple noodle dish, where wide rice noodles are mixed with eggs and chopped peanuts, then sprinkled with crushed red pepper flakes, lime juice and chopped scallions (green onions) and sometimes fresh cilantro. The whole dish comes together in five to ten minutes and can be eaten as is, or customized with a range of toppings so it is definitely a very popular dish found in every Thai restaurant.

Although it is relatively straightforward to find the right type of rice noodles that are typically used in Pad Thai, I decided to explore whether spaghetti squash would work. Spaghetti squash is a squash that, as the name suggests, has a stringy flesh structure that can be forked into a noodle-like structures. The texture of these noodles is softer than the regular pasta, and they are usually shorter but the flavor is rich and delicious, and the nutritional facts are definitely on the side of the squash when compared to either rice noodles that one would use in Pad Thai or any other pasta.

One down side to using spaghetti squash in a recipe like Pad Thai is that squash needs to be roasted first, which means that a five to ten minute recipe all of a sudden becomes a sixty to ninety minute recipe. Still, I recommend you give it a try especially as the hands on time is not as intense.

Are there any tricks to spaghetti squash? No, not really. The only two tips that are worth mentioning is to roast the squash cut side down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and to let the roasted squash cool as it will help with handling the squash as well help the squash noodles come out better defined.

To make this into vegan Pad Thai, I recommend using extra firm tofu instead of eggs. You don’t need to press it, but do let it drain for just a bit. Otherwise it may make your Pad Thai too mushy.

One final modification to the traditional Pad Thai recipe I made is using peanut butter in the sauce and some chopped cashews for the topping. Reason for this? I ran out of peanuts!

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

What you’ll need:

1 medium spaghetti squash, 1 to 1.5 lbs (about 500 to 700 g)

2 tablespoons garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons peanut butter

2-3 tablespoons lime juice

14 oz. (400 g) extra firm tofu

7 scallions (green onions), finely sliced

1/3 cup cashews, chopped

Cooking spray

What you’ll do:

    1. Preheat your oven to 425 F (220 C).
    2. Wash the spaghetti squash, wipe dry and cut in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to clean out the seeds.
    3. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place spaghetti squash on the parchment paper, cut side down. Place in the oven and let roast for 25 to 30 minutes. Check with a knife and it goes in without resistance your squash is done. Take it our of the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes. Be patient because the squash needs to be cool to handle.
    4. Once cool, take half of the squash, flip over and using a large fork go in and pull the flesh to make the “spaghetti”.
    5. Spray the bottom of a large pan or wok with cooking spray and place it over medium-high heat. Add garlic and let the garlic aroma develop, which will take about 1-2 minutes.
    6. Add soy sauce and peanut butter. Stir well and cook for 1-2 minutes.
    7. Add spaghetti squash and mix with the sauce. Here, I recommend using a pair of tongs to gently fold the squash into the sauce. Once the two are well incorporated add tofu that you have crumbled to small bits that look like scrambled eggs.
    8. Mix everything well together and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
    9. Turn the heat off, add the lime juice, scallions and cashews.
    10. If you like to add some heat you can use crushed red pepper flakes, or a dash of sriracha sauce. You can also top with fresh cilantro for some added freshness.

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017