Tomato Basil Cauliflower Rice with Sweet Italian Sausage

Cauliflower what?

If someone were to tell me 10 years ago that I would be sitting here writing a recipe for cauliflower rice I would laugh straight in their face. Well, actually, first I would be incredibly surprised that I made it through my early teens without getting kidnapped.  The point is, I did not like cauliflower when I was younger. You probably couldn’t bribe me with a puppy to eat that crap. My parents would force me to eat cauliflower at the dinner table as a child. I would take each steamed, slimy piece like a pill, swallowing it down whole with a sip of water and a gag. At that age, I dreamed of independence and the euphoric days when I would finally be old enough to eat chocolate for dinner.

Well, here I am today… eating cauliflower, and my words.

If you have yet to be convinced that cauliflower is, in fact, edible than this is a fantastic gateway recipe.

 

Tomato Basil Cauliflower Rice with Italian Sausage

  • Yield: 4 large servings
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 20

The goods:

  • 3 1/3 cup riced cauliflower
  • 1 - 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1/2 c. sundried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • 4-5 marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1/2 small yellow onion
  • 2 Italian sausages, removed from casing
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp each: garlic powder, oregano, paprika
  • 2 tsp each: rosemary, thyme, dried basil
  • Dash of Cheyenne pepper - optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil - or any cooking oil
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese - optional
  • Fresh basil to garnish

Prep:

Riced cauliflower – Simply grate a head of cauliflower using a food processor or box grater. Remove the leaves from the head of cauliflower, and cut into chunks. Place in the food processor or begin to grate the raw cauliflower until it is in rice-sized pieces. If using a food processor, do not run so long that you end up with a puree or you may need to move on to a cauliflower mash recipe. Trader Joe’s carries a packaged riced cauliflower near the prepared veggies/salad section if you want to save a step!

Vegetables – Mince the garlic. Dice the onion, artichoke hearts (trimming the tough ends), and sundried tomatoes keeping them all separate.

Instructions:

Begin by cooking the sausage. Remove it from the casing and place in the large frying pan breaking it into smaller pieces with a spatula. Let it brown.  Once the sausage has cooked, remove from the pan and set aside. At this point you can either continue with the same pan using the fat from the meat to add flavor to the dish, or you can clean the pan and start fresh. If you buy high quality, grass-fed meat than using the fat from the animal can be a good option, but it is not for everyone.

Add the oil to the clean frying pan and begin heating. Once the oil has warmed begin adding the garlic and diced onions. Saute for several minutes or until lightly browned. Add the diced artichoke hearts, and allow them to cook for 1-2 minutes. Follow by adding the riced cauliflower in all it’s glory, and start incorporating the tomato paste.  There is not a lot of moisture in this dish, which gives the cauliflower a nice rice-like texture, but it also makes the ingredients more difficult to incorporate. Just keep mixing and stirring. The tomato paste will eventually start to color the cauliflower a reddish color.  Now begin adding the sundried tomatoes and dried herbs. Again, just keep mixing until everything is well incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The cauliflower should take about 15 minutes to cook. It should be tender but not soggy when it is finished. Once the cauliflower is done, top with chunks on the fresh mozzarella. If you pan can go into the oven, you can broil the cheese so it becomes gooey. You can also just move the cauliflower to one side of the pan, and place the cheese on the hot surface of the pan and allow to melt for 1 minutes and then transition to the top of the dish.  Top with fresh basil, and enjoy!

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15-20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Notes: This is a very moderate recipe in terms of seasoning. Because cauliflower doesn’t have much flavor on it’s own, be sure to season to taste. More basil, garlic, black pepper, or spicy peppers make it much more flavorful. This meal can be made Paleo by omitting the cheese. Soy chorizo makes a great sausage substitute for vegetarians. Omitting the sausage can turn this full meal into a satisfying side dish.