Kale & Chestnut Cauliflower-Fried “Rice”

This is the kind of quick side dish (read : massive bed of vegetables) that usually sits underneath whatever is parading around as protein at our place. A jazzed up version of your basic cauliflower rice, it’s inspired by Japanese Gomoku – a mixed rice dish. It’s also inspired by the Macrobiotic classic of short-grain brown rice cooked with chestnuts : a dish that I sorely miss since having stepped away from grains for a time yet to be determined. This is my nod to them both, without the rice, and far heavier on the veggies.

Yield: 1-2 servings (1 for me…)

What you need:

  • 2 cups smallish cauliflower florets
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and diced
  • 5 or 6 small or 4 large leaves of lacinato kale (or any other kale or green you like), thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 scallion, sliced thinly on the diagonal
  • 1 small bag of cooked and peeled chestnuts (100g), chopped
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon avocado oil, coconut oil, lard or ghee (depending on your dietary needs)
  • salt and/or coconut aminos and/or tamari and/or fish sauce and/or ume plum vinegar (depending on your dietary needs)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon rice vinegar (optional; definitely omit if using ume plum vinegar)
  • spices or herbs you like (optional)

What you do:

  1. Put the cauliflower florets and the diced carrot in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the cauliflower is broken up into “rice” and the carrot chopped up a bit. Don’t over-process or you’ll end up with purée (which is not so much what we’re going for here). If you don’t have a food processor, then you can also use a box grater to grate the cauliflower and carrot instead (messier, longer and you don’t dice the carrot first – grate whole – but it will do the job).
  2. Heat a non-stick (read cast iron) pan over medium heat. When hot, add the oil, scallion and riced cauliflower and carrot from the food processor. If using crystal salt rather than a liquid salt, then sprinkle the vegetables with the salt. Cover the pan and let things cook while you slice the kale and chop the chestnuts.
  3. Uncover the pan, toss the vegetables around a bit and add any spices if you choose to use them. Stir to mix, cover the pan again.
  4. After 6-8 minutes, the cauliflower and carrots should be getting soft and tender. If they aren’t, give them a bit longer. If they are, then add the kale, chestnuts and sesame seeds if using. Stir to mix and distribute throughout. Check for salt if you’re using crystal salt and adjust as desired.
  5. Cover again and let cook 2-3 minutes, until the kale is wilted and cooked but still beautifully green and bright.
  6. Turn off the heat and if using liquid salt (tamari, fish sauce, coco aminos) add it now along with the optional rice vinegar if using.
  7. Serve immediately. Any leftovers make a great addition to omelettes, scrambles, frittatas and casseroles.

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