Cauliflower + Brown Rice Fried Rice
Why is fried rice so dang gooood? There is something about eating it that immediately brings me home. My family didn’t even make fried rice that often, but I know it’s coming when the fridge would get sparse and there’d be a lone bag of frozen vegetables in the freezer. You know the one. Frozen over and covered in ice, but nothing that a quick flash in the pan and toasty, wok-kissed rice can’t fix. Bam! Out of the kitchen comes this glorious, steaming bowl of fried rice, the magical whole of which is much greater than the sum of its parts.
I can eat fried rice all the time, any time of the day. But before this year I never made it myself because I knew I wouldn’t be able to replicate my grandmother’s/dad’s/mom’s (all different). Until I realized I could NOT replicate them, and make it my own. And I did! That’s right, I’m a free, independent bird basking in her own, very non-traditional cauliflower + brown rice fried rice. To be fair, this recipe is meant to be a very different dish than what you’ll find in a traditional Chinese restaurant. I wanted a version that is rooted in similar tasty principles as my family’s (no wet rice, light on the soy sauce, fluffy eggs), but satisfying and balanced enough so that I can enjoy it as a complete meal without needing to sink into bed right after.
Enter the cauliflower. I had seen cauliflower fried rice pop up on the ‘Gram as a “low-carb” way to have fried rice. But I wasn’t exactly looking for a low-carb option (the rice is just so satisfying!), and I wanted a meal that wouldn’t leave me feeling hungry two hours later. So I opted for a 2:1 rice to cauliflower ratio, and it worked beautifully. You’ve still got the toothsome chew of the rice grains, plus the crunch (and all the antioxidants) of cauliflower. Also added more mixed veggies, added fragrant fresh ginger, and opted for brown instead of white rice. So here you go. Make this fried rice, throw on your comfiest pair of pants, let go of the day, and get ready for a giant hug in a bowl. May this bring you warmth and comfort, and a kitchen that smells like the heavens.
You guys, this sauce is minimal effort with maximum payoff and it’s so stinkin’ good! Both whole wheat and gluten free pastas work great here. The main star of the show are the tomatoes, so use the freshest, in-season ones you can find. I would advise against trying this with out-of-season tomatoes from the grocery store, as your sauce won’t be nearly as flavorful or delicately sweet. The main lift in the recipe is coring the tomatoes, which you can do while you cook the pasta and it only takes 5-10 minutes. Option to top with shaved parmesan or fresh ricotta (never a bad thing), but I didn’t use either and didn’t miss them. Serve as a main meal with a side of veggies and your preferred protein or as a side for a dinner party. This sauce is uncooked cooking at it’s finest! See my recipe notes for ideas to add more veggies.
Better than Chinese takeout
So flavorful, fragrant, and comforting!
Everything is cooked in one pan
Loaded with veggies and whole grains, so less chances of a blood sugar spike and crash
Nutritiously packed with fiber, protein, vitamins and phytochemicals
Gluten free optional with tamari instead of soy sauce
If you try this recipe, I’d love to hear what you think! Tag your photo #eatwelleatreal on Instagram. I’m excited to see your kitchen creations!
Cauliflower + Brown Rice Fried Rice
Recipe Notes: For fried rice, I highly recommend using leftover rice (1 day, even 2-3 days is good), or at least make sure freshly cooked rice is completely cooled before using. You can even flash freeze fresh rice for about 30 minutes before using it for fried rice. Using warm rice could lead to goopy, mushy grains when you add the sauce ingredients. I’ve also used previously frozen (defrosted) rice (such a time saver to make a ton and freeze the leftovers) and it worked really well.
Why the salt + soy sauce combo? Because too much soy sauce here and the flavor overwhelms the dish instead of highlighting the fragrant rice, plus the rice gets dark brown. The goal is to aim for a toasted golden brown. Also, sesame oil isn’t traditionally in fried rice (neither is cauliflower ; ), but I find using just a few drops adds a great aroma to the rice and egg combo. Option to swap out the edamame with green peas.
4 cups cooked, cooled brown rice (day-old rice works great)
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups cauliflower rice
½ yellow onion, diced medium
1 carrot, diced small
1 cup edamame (I used frozen, but room temp is fine too)
2 tsp freshly grated (or finely minced) ginger
4 stalks scallions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tbs soy sauce or gluten free tamari
2 tbs + 2 tsp mild flavored oil like avocado or grapeseed
Fresh ground black pepper
Sesame oil (optional)
Heat a large wok or pan over medium heat. Add 1 tbs of oil. Once the pan is hot, add the onion and carrot and stir fry for 3-4 minutes, until slightly softened but not cooked all the way.
Add the ginger and stir fry for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the edamame and cauliflower rice and cook for 2 minutes. Add the scallions (saving a small handful on the side) and stir fry for 1 more minute. Lightly sprinkle salt over the mixture. Move the vegetables to a plate and set aside.
Before cooking the eggs, have a plate nearby so you can remove the eggs immediately once they’re done (they overcook quickly!). Place the same pan back on the stove on a low flame and add 2 tsp oil. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper if using. Add the eggs and swirl the pan, stirring gently throughout, making a number 8 with your spatula. Once the eggs are about 80% cooked (still slightly runny), break it up into small pieces with your spatula and transfer to a plate.
Place the pan back on the stove again over high heat and add the last tbs of oil. Add the cold rice and stir for 3 minutes, until toasted, making sure to break up any clumps. Next, add the tamari and a couple drops of sesame oil if using. Stir the rice so it’s coated with the sauce.
Add the vegetables to the rice and stir fry for 2 minutes. Stir the eggs back into the rice and cook until everything is heated through, about 1-2 more minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt or pepper as you’d like. Remove from heat and garnish with the remaining scallions. Serve and enjoy!