As I've mentioned since my Paleo Challenge at my Crossfit gym earlier this year, I've since maintained a totally grain free vegan diet. I had such great results I now can't fathom eating any other way. When I mention I'm grain free to other vegans, their first usual reaction is "I love grains! They're the basis for every meal for me. I could never do that!" This is kind of ironic to me considering it's the same type of answer we all usually get when speaking to an omnivore about eating meat, dairy or eggs! Truth is I've actually found it pretty easy to make similar recipes to what I'm used to by using grain "substitutions", similar to how people will eat faux meats and cheeses when transitioning to veganism. Over the next few weeks, I'll give you some of my tricks as to how I've easily made this transition along with some of my new favorite recipes I've both adapted and created to make it possible. First up today is grain free rice! I used to absolutely love rice, especially fried rice. Believe it or not, grated cauliflower has a very similar taste and texture to the real thing, so it works perfect in these kind of dishes. It's also really easy to prepare. Here's my vegan adaptation of Urban Poser's Paleo Masala Cauli-Rice. To make this more of an entrée for vegans, I've added some delicious dry rubbed masala tofu to the dish. This recipe smells as amazing as it looks and tastes! When I brought leftovers of it into work one day everyone kept ducking into the break-room to see where the smell was coming from.
Masala Tofu and Cauli-Fried RiceServes 4
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 medium cauliflower head, grated (about 4 cups)
- Half a large yellow onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 medium-sized carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 whole jalapeno, seeded and diced or 1/4 cup diced green pepper
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
- 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled & grated ( about 1 teaspoon)
- 1/3 cup frozen petite green peas
- 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 1/2 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon Garam Masala seasoning (I used the pre-made type)
- salt and pepper to taste (amounts will vary depending on if your masala mix was salted or not).
- Garnishes: lime wedges & cilantro
- Set your broiler to high so it gets nice and hot while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
- Press your tofu to remove as much moisture as possible. Then cut into triangles. Dry rub each piece with the reserved 1 tablespoon of Garam Masala. Lay on a broiler safe baking sheet coated in cooking spray and set aside until we're ready to broil it.
- Grate the cauliflower with a hand grater or with a grating blade on a food processor. You can also use the regular blade on the food processor but it may result in a wetter, less "rice-like" product.
- Prep the rest of the veggies minus the frozen peas (dicing, mincing) and set aside.
- Mince the garlic and pepper, grate the ginger mixing them all together in a small bowl.
- Mix together the spices in another small bowl and set aside.
- Pop the tofu under the broiler for 6 minutes. When browned, flip the tofu and give it another 6 minutes. Tofu should be golden and crispy on the outside. When done set aside.
- Heat a wok over high medium/high heat (on the "high" side), add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and then add the cauliflower. Toss it in the oil then spread it out in a thin layer as evenly as possible. Turn the burner up to high. Allow cauliflower to fry till it starts to brown a little then stir/flip it around, again spreading it in a thin layer. Do this a couple of times till the cauliflower starts to get brown and black flecks all over it, almost like it has been grilled. Transfer to a large bowl and place the wok back on the heat, turning the heat back down to medium/high. Spreading out the cauliflower and cooking it at a high heat like this keeps the cauliflower from steaming itself and getting soggy, and produces a very "rice-like" texture.
- Add another tablespoon of coconut oil, then add the garlic, ginger and jalapeno/green pepper mix to the oil. Fry for about a minute but not so long that the mixture burns. Stir & toss often to keep from burning.
- Add the prepared veggies (minus the peas) to the wok and cook just as you did the cauliflower. Spreading out and allowing them to fry and brown, stir & toss often till the veggies are cooked through and browned slightly. Transfer to the bowl with the cauliflower.
- Return the wok to the heat and add the last tablespoon of coconut oil plus the spice mixture. Fry the spice mixture in the oil for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then add the rest of the ingredients back into the wok. Add the green peas and continue to fry and toss all the ingredients together for about 1-2 minutes more. Add coarse sea salt and cracked pepper to taste. Salt amounts will vary depending on if your masala mix was salted or not. If it doesn't contain salt, I start with about 1 teaspoon of salt and work from there.
- To serve, plate a serving of the cauli-rice and top with the masala tofu wedges. Serve with a wedge of lime, to be squeezed on top of the "rice" just before serving and some cilantro.