Today’s Cauliflower Fried Rice recipe is a colorful, healthy, and paleo version of fried rice, a classic Chinese restaurant staple.
When I first played around with the idea of starting a food blog, I asked Mark what HE would make if he could pick anything. Without hesitation, Mark replied, “I’d do a fried rice dish.” I was a little surprised because I wondered if that would be too basic for my food blog, but after we developed this recipe, I’m happy I went with Mark’s suggestion!
Now that I think about it, I guess Mark’s simple fried rice idea shouldn’t have surprised me! Don’t get me wrong, Mark is a great cook and continues to impress me. But, before we got married, Mark kept his cooking pretty basic to save time and money, since he was only cooking for one. Fried rice used to be one of his favorite easy meals to throw together, using whatever he had on hand – frozen peas, carrots, corn, egg, sometimes beans, and teriyaki sauce. Little did he know, he would end up with a girl with crazy dietary restrictions! 😉
And one of those restrictions just so happens to be rice.
After going gluten-free for a year and then realizing that grains (even gluten-free ones) were bothering my tummy, I gave them up and went primarily paleo. I still eat legumes, dairy, and corn occasionally, but rice remains to be something that I can’t stomach easily.
Since I bid rice farewell, cauliflower has become one of my best friends in the kitchen! It’s a great substitute for rice, works well to thicken sauces and soups, and makes a worthy mash in place of white potatoes.
This Cauliflower Fried Rice is an ode to the humble cauliflower. What would I do without it?! I don’t like to go there.
This recipe is extremely versatile, as you’ll find with several of my recipes, since I like being able to change things up based on what I have on hand. We used chicken and egg to make it a main course and added pineapple to give it a little sweetness. Plus, the sauce is only 3 ingredients! Score! Most fried rice dishes call for peas, but I really can’t stand peas! (New fun fact about me.) So, I went with chopped broccoli instead. Pea-lovers out there are welcome to use frozen peas, though! You could also leave out the chicken and/or eggs and make it a side dish, or leave the pineapple out if it’s not your thing. Make it your own.
The fastest and easiest way I’ve found to “rice” your cauliflower is by using a food processor. (If you don’t have one, you could try pulsing the florets in a sturdy blender or go the old-fashioned route and grate your cauliflower with a hand grater.) This photo shows the texture you’re aiming for.
One head of cauliflower makes a surprisingly large amount of rice, but keep in mind that it’s not nearly as calorie-dense as regular rice, so you can get away with eating more of this than with a traditional fried rice dish! I set the serving size for 4 people, so enjoy a large helping without the guilt and if you have any left, it makes a perfect lunch! Eat up! 🙂
For this recipe, I cooked the cauliflower rice in a separate skillet and then used a large wok for everything else. You could try to cook everything together, but I wanted to make sure the rice cooked evenly and my chicken didn’t overcook.
Once my chicken and veggies were done, I added in the cauliflower rice and then made a well for the eggs. Stir gently to lightly scramble the eggs before mixing them into the rice.
Time to finish things off with our 3 ingredient sauce!
- Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) or coconut aminos (a soy-free alternative)
- Chili garlic paste
- Pineapple juice.
Instead of throwing away the juice from your canned pineapple, you can actually put it to good use! I love that.
Once your sauce is mixed in, you are good to go! Throw in some green onions for a burst of extra color and flavor and get out the sriracha (hot sauce) if you like spicy. We LOVE spicy.
In short, I’d say Mark’s choice of fried rice for my blog was a good one and I hope you like our take on this classic Chinese dish!
Break out your chopsticks and enjoy!
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or grass-fed butter, divided
- 1 to 1.5 lbs chicken tenderloins or breasts
- salt and pepper to season chicken
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 (10-oz) pack frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 (12-oz) can bamboo shoots
- 1 (8-oz) can sliced water chestnuts
- 1 (20-oz) can pineapple chunks, save the juice!
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 4 scallions, chopped
- sriracha (optional)
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- ¼ cup Tamari (g-free soy sauce) or coconut aminos**
- 1 tablespoon chili garlic paste
- Cut your cauliflower into florets. Add to a food processor and pulse several times until the texture resembles rice.
- In a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon of oil or butter and heat it over medium/high heat. Add your cauliflower rice and and garlic powder and give it a stir. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the texture softens a bit, but is not mushy. Turn off heat and set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix the sauce ingredients together and set aside while you cook the chicken.
- Chop your chicken into bite-sized pieces and season lightly with salt and pepper.
- In a wok or large skillet, heat the remaining oil or butter and add chopped onion, garlic, and ginger. Stir frequently and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
- Add in the carrots and chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes, until chicken is cooked.
- Turn down the heat and add in the broccoli, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, and pineapple chunks.
- Add cauliflower rice and stir to incorporate.
- Make a well on one side of your skillet or wok and add beaten eggs. Stir to scramble and then mix throughout rice once eggs are cooked.
- Stir in sauce and top with chopped scallions and sriracha.
~Feel free to substitute any of your favorite stir-fry vegetables in this!
~I preferred cooking my cauliflower rice separately and then combining it at the end to avoid over cooking my chicken and under cooking my cauliflower, but use whatever method you find works best for you!