Cauliflower rice sauteéd with burnt onions, garlic, and cilantro is vegetarian, grain free, and a nutritious and delicious way to cook the vegetable of the year!
Cauliflower is hot! No doubt it has been the most talked about vegetable over the past year. Everything from cauliflower steaks, mashed cauliflower, Buffalo cauliflower wings, and cauliflower pizza crust has been made and for months I have been seeing Pins, Tweets, and Instagrams of cauliflower “rice.” I have been intrigued, as I often am when I see new culinary trends online, but I hadn’t set out to try some of these myself until a few weeks ago, when I finally got on the cauliflower “rice” bandwagon.
As I planned my menu for the week, I decided to make Ropa Vieja, a traditional Cuban dish with pimiento peppers, olives, braised meat, and cilantro. When I made it once before, my children’s Dominican babysitter made a side dish of burnt rice, also known as concón. I have had burnt rice on many occasions (as I have previously mentioned, cooking rice hasn’t always been my strong suit), but concón is not just any burnt rice – it’s a delicacy in the Dominican Republic (where we happened to be last week!).
Concón is the crunchy rice at the bottom of the pot, the part most people complain about when cleaning said pot, but the part of I like best. I know I’m not alone – Serena at Teaspoon of Spice recently wrote about this for her USA Rice Recipe ReDux contest entry!
Anyway, back to the ropa vieja with concón. When I decided to remake this dish, I figured what better time than now to try making cauliflower rice in the style of burnt rice – neither of which I had ever made. The babysitter told me how she makes traditional concón and from there I came up with this recipe for Cauliflower Concón. I had a feeling my husband was going to be skeptical about this recipe as he often is when I makeover tried and true recipes, but it turned out he loved the cauliflower rice, as did the guests we had for dinner that night. So the following week I made it again. And I have no doubt it will be a staple side dish in my house for a long time to come.
Cauliflower Burnt Rice (aka Cauliflower Concón)
- 2 heads cauliflower cut into florets
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 large onions sliced into half moons
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- In a food processor, pulse cauliflower florets until finely grated and rice-like granules.
- Heat canola oil in a straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sauté onions for 8 minutes, then lower heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring often, for another 3-5 minutes until onions are nicely browned. Add garlic, coriander, and cilantro and stir for 1-2 minutes until fragrant and cilantro is wilted.
- Add riced cauliflower to pan and carefully toss with onions. Cover and cook 15 minutes. Stir in lime juice, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and serve hot.
Like actual rice, it’s tasty and nutritious on it’s own, but it’s especially fabulous for soaking up sauces, like that from a hearty stew like ropa vieja! I can’t wait to experiment with cauliflower rice in a variety of other ways, including as a version of my recent rice balls.
Have you ever made cauliflower rice?
What’s the most interesting way you’ve prepared cauliflower?