A huge, steaming bowl of fried rice is definitely a “comfort food” for me, but some versions of fried rice can be a bit heavy – P.F. Chang’s version of Chicken Fried Rice has 1240 calories, 25g fat, 2050g sodium, and 206g carbohydrates – yikes! (Don’t get me wrong, life is not about counting calories, but I prefer to save bigger meals like that for special occasions, and make my own health-ified versions for an everyday meal!) Like I mentioned in my post on whole grains, I think brown rice is a healthy addition to most diets, and don’t have anything against rice in general. But if you’re eating rice as a main meal, those carbs can really add up.
I bet you’ve guessed by now that I have a solution for you! My Healthy Cauliflower Chicken “Fried Rice” is not only delicious (and basically indistinguishable in taste from regular fried rice – trust me on this one!), but it’s packed with vegetables, nutrients, fiber and protein. I’ve seen several bloggers experimenting with cauliflower as “rice,” but had never tried it myself, and I’m so glad I have now. So what are we waiting for? Let’s dig in …
Healthy Cauliflower Chicken “Fried Rice”
Serves 3 really hungry people (like me!), or 4-5 “regular” diners
- 1 head cauliflower, or 1 bag cauliflower rice
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
- 10 baby carrots or 2 full carrots, chopped
- 4 cups additional vegetables, chopped. I used: 1/2 large red bell pepper, ~2 cups chopped zucchini and/ or yellow squash, 1 baby bok choy, and 1/2 cup chopped baby portobello mushrooms, and 1 cup bean sprouts. A bagged “stir fry mix” with no sauce would also work here!
- 1/2 cup frozen peas (fresh or canned will also work)
- 1 cup egg substitute, or 2-3 whole eggs, scrambled
- 5 Tbsp. coconut aminos, tamari, or (if you don’t need gluten-free) low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp. minced ginger paste
- 12 ounces raw boneless, skinless chicken breast (tempeh would also be great here if you’re vegetarian!)
- 2 tsp. sriracha (optional)
- (Only necessary if you are not using pre-riced cauliflower). Chop cauliflower into large chunks, about the size of your fist. In a food processor (or Vitamix!), pulse the cauliflower until it is chopped into rice-sized fragments. I pulsed about 20 times, shook the entire canister of my Vitamix, pulsed 20 more times, and repeated until it was all the consistency I desired. Set aside in large bowl. (Note: you could also easily do this step with a box grater or, if you’re really patient, just chop with a knife.)
- Chop your onions, carrots, pepper, zucchini, and squash into small, bite-sized pieces.
- Heat your largest, non-stick skillet with 1T olive oil. Add garlic, onion, and carrots, and saute 3-4 minutes.
- This is a good time to get your chicken cooking. I used a grill pan on the stove to cook mine, but you could bake it, grill it on a regular grill, or pan fry it with a bit of olive oil.
- Add pepper, squash, and zucchini, and saute 4-5 more minutes, or until vegetables are getting soft.
- While vegetables are sauteing, chop your mushrooms and baby bok choy. Add both to pan, along with bean sprouts, peas, and cauliflower bits. Stirring regularly, saute another 5 minutes or until all vegetables are tender.
- Add egg substitute (or eggs), ginger, and coconut aminos or soy sauce. Give it a few good stirs, and keep cooking until the eggs have set.
- Chop fully-cooked chicken breast into bite-sized pieces, and add to skillet.
- Stir one more time, and divide across three (or more) serving dishes or storage containers. Enjoy!
Like I said, this makes pretty large portions. But you’ll be very glad you have a lot on your plate, because it is so delicious! And really, what’s better than delicious and guilt-free? Just look at these amazing nutritional stats! If you make 3 servings according to these instructions, the recipe will have 362 calories, 6g heart-healthy fat, 34g carbs, 11g fiber, and 44g protein. Take that, P.F. Chang’s!
So tell me in the comments … have you tried cauliflower “fried rice”? What’s your favorite “comfort food” that you’d like to see me try to health-ify?