I have some rice leftovers in my refrigerator, but it is not enough to make a full side dish for the family. I definitely need to add something to the rice – vegetables, I guess. Onion, carrot… – it looks like I’m ready to make a pilaf.
To bring this idea to life, I opened my fridge to pull a couple of carrots and… a nice cauliflower head was on my way. Oh, I thought I should add this cabbage to my pilaf. Rice and cauliflower infused with some spices should create a tasty combination. And this is true – the pilaf turned out incredibly delicious. It happened about two years ago…
Since then this cauliflower pilaf became one of our family favorite dishes. By switching the spices I can create a bowl filled with Mediterranean, African or Middle Eastern flavors. For a more nutritious and fulfilling dish some grains can be added. Rice, farro, pearl barley, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), or lentils are really good here.
But pure cauliflower pilaf with onion, carrot, dried cranberries, with touch of almonds, and homemade seasoning is my favorite. No one can recognize what this pilaf is made of, but everyone loves it. Light, fluffy, sweet, crunchy, and very aromatic – this vegetarian dish if a winner!
Easy to make? Oh, very easy!
I will publish homemade pilaf seasoning recipe shortly.
Here is the recipe.
Break the cauliflower head into florets. Cut large florets with their stems and green parts into small pieces.
In a food processor, working in batches, ‘pulse’ the florets until the size of navy beans or large peas.
In a large deep pan, heat 1-2 tbsp oil. Add the onion and sauté it for 5-7 minutes.
Add the carrots, chili pepper and garlic; cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add 2-3 tbsp oil, cauliflower, pilaf seasoning, salt, and black pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-8 minutes until cauliflower is done but is not mushy.
Stir in the cranberries (optionally, you can add the cranberries along with cauliflower). Adjust the seasoning. Add more oil if needed. Let it sit covered to develop flavors.
Serve sprinkled with almonds and fresh herbs.
Optionally, top the pilaf with the pomegranate seeds.
A mixture of cumin, ground coriander and paprika (sweet or hot) can be used in place of pilaf seasoning.
If using grains, add them along with the cranberries and reheat the pilaf.
Cook with pleasure and enjoy the world!