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Cauliflower Rice with Zingy White Beans and Kale

Cauliflower Rice with Zingy White Beans and Kale

There’s something very powerful about turning a pile of vegetables into a proper meal. The satisfaction/general victorious feeling that I get from finding a place for produce in our daily meals is one of the main reasons I’m attracted to cooking with plants, besides the more obvious nourishment factor. Another powerful feeling is finding a way to whip up a solid, plant-centric meal when you seemingly have no food left in the house. For me, that usually involves surveying the bottom of my crisper and pulling heavily from my pantry. That was the case with the recipe I have for you today, which took me from panicking about not having enough groceries to being well-fed and quite satisfied. I had a head of cauliflower I’d been ignoring, kale that was getting dangerously old, a bag of random Florida citrus, and mushrooms that didn’t make it into a stew (which are also optional in this recipe). The rest of the ingredients came straight from my pantry.


We eat a lot of cauliflower around these parts in the fall and winter months, and at this point, everyone under my roof is pretty tired of the roasted-cauliflower-with-one-spice-or-another scenario. So cauliflower ‘rice’ is a good option when roasted cauliflower fatigue hits – it makes for a great, neutral bed for whichever ingredients you choose to serve with it and can be flavored so many different ways. It’s also a nice option for those trying to stay away from grains and looking for a sub that’s still tasty and comforting. I wanted to give a zingy, citrusy flavor kiss to the whole dish, since nature is awesome enough to supply us with the brightness that is citrus in the dark of winter. The ‘rice’ is cooked simply with onions and garlic, then finished off with some lemon juice. Served on top there’s a humble mix of sautéed kale, white beans and mushrooms if you have them. The white beans are also a base for the sauce, which involves orange juice and zest to get more of the sunny factor into the dish. This meal comes together pretty quickly, even more so if you make the cauliflower rice ahead of time. It’s a good candidate for a weekday meal, especially if you too happen to have all the ingredients on hand :)

Serves: 3-4
for the white bean sauce
  • 1 cup cooked white beans (butter, navy, etc.)
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 2 small oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons tamari
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt - to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • zest of 1 orange

for the cauliflower rice with zingy white beans and kale
  • 1 head cauliflower - roughly chopped into florets
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil - divided
  • 1 shallot - diced
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup water
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • sea salt - to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • 8 oz crimini mushrooms - sliced (optional)
  • 1 medium bunch kale - stemmed and chopped
  • ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon tamari
  • 1 cup cooked white beans (butter, navy, etc.)
  • white bean sauce (from above)
to make the white bean sauce

  1. Combine all the ingredients, except orange zest, in a blender until smooth. Mix in the orange zest on the lowest blender speed setting or by hand with a spoon.

to make the cauliflower rice with zingy white beans and kale

  1. Make the cauliflower rice. Divide your roughly chopped cauliflower florets into two even portions. Place the first portion into a food processor and pulse a few times, until you have pieces that are approximately the size of rice grains. Take care not to over-chop, you don't want your cauliflower to turn to mush. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat with the second half.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the shallot and sauté for 5 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for another 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the chopped cauliflower, then mix in the water, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cook for 8 minutes until the liquid absorbs and the 'rice' becomes cooked but not mushy. Take care not to overcook. Transfer to a large bowl, keep warm and covered.
  3. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel. Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon coconut oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, mix, then let them sit for about a minute to start releasing liquid. Add a pinch of salt to the mushrooms, mix and sauté for another 4 minutes, until all the liquid released by the mushrooms evaporates. If not using mushrooms, proceed with the kale. Add the kale, balsamic and tamari. Mix and sauté until the kale starts wilting. Add the white beans and let them warm through until the kale is completely wilted. Add the sauce, starting with ¼ - ½ cup and tasting as you go. Add more if needed. Let the sauce warm through and turn off the heat.
  4. Serve the kale and white beans over the cauliflower rice, garnished with more orange zest and more sauce, if desired.

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