Thursday, November 21, 2019

Cauliflower Rice Bowl

I’m still a big fan of Buddha bowls. I try to branch out once in a while, like with this avocado BLT with basil mayonnaise or this succotash with bacon and croutons, though neither was popular with the Fox. I also really liked this tuna salad that is made with yogurt instead of mayonnaise – I served it once with apples, cucumbers, and hard-boiled eggs, and another time as part of a salade niçoise composée, so there was usually something there that my toddler might appreciate.

Then I had leftover riced cauliflower in the freezer and didn’t really know what to do with it, so when I came across this cauliflower rice bowl recipe, I decided to go for it. It turned out I had less than called for, but you don’t have to be so finicky about amounts with bowls, so it worked out. I had crumbled feta on hand, and the pieces seemed too small to go in the oven without making a mess, so I served it cold with the warm vegetables (sweet potato, in my case). For me, the pepitas were what really made this dish, and they were SO delicious roasted! That being said, I think I really took them to the edge by roasting them for 7 minutes (whereas the cauliflower rice should have gotten at least 10 minutes in the oven), and they don’t keep as well stored with the other ingredients in the fridge, so I’d consider roasting them separately, in a dry pan on the stovetop. The amounts below should make 4 servings.

1 ½ lb. root vegetables (such as sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, or a combination), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
freshly ground black pepper
4 oz. lactose-free feta cheese, drained
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
3 cups fresh or frozen cauliflower rice (I had less)
½ tsp. ground turmeric
1 (15.5-oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
finely grated zest of 2 medium limes
juice of 2 medium limes, plus more wedges for serving
1 medium avocado, pitted and quartered (I used 2 total)

Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat to 425 °F. Place the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil, then season with ½ teaspoon of the salt and several grinds of black pepper. Toss to combine, then arrange into an even layer. Roast on the lower rack until beginning to brown, about 20 minutes.

Flip the sweet potatoes and push them to one side. Add the pumpkin seeds to the now-empty portion of the baking sheet and crumble the feta into large pieces over the sweet potatoes (see note above). Place the cauliflower rice (if using frozen, break up any clumps first), turmeric, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and several grinds of black pepper on a second rimmed baking sheet and toss until evenly combined. Spread into an even layer.

Place the sweet potatoes on the upper rack and the cauliflower rice on the lower rack. Roast until the pumpkin seeds are toasted, the sweet potatoes are golden-brown, and the feta is warmed through, 7 to 10 minutes more. Meanwhile, place the chickpeas, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper in a medium bowl and toss until evenly coated; set aside.

For each serving, transfer ¼ of the rice, ¼ of the sweet potato and feta mixture, and ¼ of the chickpea mixture into a bowl. Sprinkle with ¼ of the pepitas and top with a piece of the avocado. Drizzle with more olive oil and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve with a lime wedge.

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