Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Coconut Lime Rice (Grain-Free!)

One of my favorite grain-free discoveries has been cauliflower "rice". And just like regular rice, the versatility of it. Two of my go-to recipes are my Mexican Rice Bowls and my Mediterranean Paella . I love making both of these dishes because they are great one-pot meals and you can eat leftovers for days.

Last week, I wanted to switch it up and try something new but still using cauliflower as the rice component. That is what so great about it. You can find your favorite rice recipe for inspiration and then do your own grain-free version using cauliflower.


I was inspired with this particular dish while browsing food sites the other day, and I saw a side dish for tropical rice. It sounded fantastic so I decided to do my own grain-free version, Here I use coconut, cilantro and lime for a great tropical flavor. A natural sweetness comes from the raisins and a crunch from the toasted almonds. It turned out great and I served citrus marinated grouper filets over top.


Feel free to tweak the recipe as you wish - macadamia nuts instead of almonds and adding a different dried fruit all are great options!

COCONUT LIME RICE (GRAIN-FREE!)
1 head of cauliflower, trimmed and roughly cut into 4 or 5 segments
1 small onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup of celery chopped
1/3 cup of toasted coconut (recipe below, can make ahead of time)
1/4 cup of blanched almond slivers
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
The zest of 3 limes
The juice of 3 limes
1/3 cup of light coconut milk
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
1/3 cup of raisins
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra lime zest and cilantro for garnishing

In a food processor add the cauliflower (one section at a time) and pulse until it's chopped into the consistency of  rice. (Do not over pulse/chop the cauliflower. You want it to have the right texture, and over chopping it will make is too mushy). Continue to chop the cauliflower one section at a time, adding the finished product to a separate large bowl. Put the cauliflower aside. Next, take a large skillet over medium heat and add the two tablespoons of coconut oil with the chopped onion, pepper and celery. Cook until the veggies are softened and the onion is translucent. Add the cauliflower to the skillet and turn the heat up to medium-high. Using a wooden spoon, stir around the cauliflower allowing it to brown and crisp up in some areas. This part is important in achieving the perfect texture for the "rice". Slowly start to add the 1/3 cup of coconut milk while stirring well. Eventually, the cauliflower should start to brown up (even sticking to the bottom of the pan at times) but keep stirring. You don't want to add too much liquid because you lose the consistency of the rice and it will get too soft and mushy. So don't overdo the coconut milk. Let it sit and "fry" up a bit while you stir frequently for about 10 minutes. In the mean time, heat a dry skillet over medium/medium-low heat and add the almond slivers. Stir frequently until toasted and fragrant (about 6 minutes). Add to the cauliflower along with the toasted coconut, raisins, lime zest, lime juice and cilantro. Stir and let cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add additional chopped cilantro and lime zest over-top. Serve with grilled fish, chicken or tacos!

TOASTED COCONUT
1/2 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
2 to 3 packets of splenda, stevia or truvia

Combine coconut and splenda in a bowl. Toast in a dry skillet over medium heat until brown and fragrant. Stir frequently so it doesn't burn (about 3 minutes). Store left over coconut in an air tight container in the fridge to use later.

I also use this as an ice cream topping in my Piña Colada Ice Cream. So good!

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