Fact: cauliflower is the new kale. Yes, it’s true and you’re hearing it here first, folks. Or maybe you’re not since it’s the new kale and everyone and their uncle (at least your veggie loving uncle) can’t shut up about it. But still – it seems to be hitting everyone’s plate (or smoothie) and I want it to hit yours! So today I’m bringing you a new recipe I am pretty much obsessed with because it’s SO easy and perfect for summer, and that’s my Lemony Walnut Pesto Cauliflower Rice!
Now you may be thinking, “what the eff is cauliflower rice?”, so let’s start there. Cauliflower rice (or “cauli rice” to the cool kids) is simply raw cauliflower processed in a food processor or grated by hand until it’s a rice-like consistency. In the US you can buy pre-packaged bagged options, but since as far as I know this option hasn’t come to the great white north (maybe a TNB business opportunity??), you have to do it yourself. Sorry. But I promise the effort is worth it! Why? Oh man, lemme tell ya.
Lots of you have mentioned you’d like to hear more about hormonal imbalance and adrenal fatigue, and one major contributor to both of these issues is stress and the inflammatory response it has on the body. I won’t get into too much detail in this post, but cauliflower is packed with antioxidants that will combat the effects of stress and therefore help support both hormone balance and your adrenals. It’s also one of the best liver supporting vegetables out there. And since your liver is required for balancing hormones by filtering out excess or mutated forms, cauliflower is the ideal lunch or dinner date if you want to show your liver some much needed love. And since few people love crushing pieces of raw cauliflower (evidenced by them always being the rejects on any sad veggie platter), this is a great way to get it in you in a way that tastes great and is easily digestible!
So in truth you kind of get two recipes for the price of one this week – the vegan pesto and the rest of the dish that showcases the deliciousness of said pesto. After all, it only makes sense that if you’re going to pull out your trusty food processor you might as well give it a real workout, right? And the pesto makes more than you’ll need for the recipe so you can use the leftovers for zoodles, pizza, eggs, or whatever the heck else your little heart desires! This dish also makes a great side if you wanted to remove the chickpeas and pair the rice with salmon or tofu or another main. Ok and with that I’ll shut up about cauliflower and get to the recipe!
The Natural Blonde
P.s. For those of you who are not veterans in dealing with cauliflower, I apologize in advance for the pain in the ass it can be to clean up. It really is the nutritional equivalent of that friend you had when you were little who was kind of annoying but you put up with them because they had such awesome toys.
Lemony Walnut Pesto Cauliflower Rice
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 Tbsp. coconut or avocado oil
- ¼ cup Vegan Walnut Pesto (recipe below)
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1½ cups cooked chickpeas (or one 400mL can – preferably BPA free)
- Juice from ½ a lemon
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Handful of basil, chopped (optional for garnish)
Roughly chop cauliflower into large pieces. Pulse half the cauliflower in blender at a time until it is finely ground. Repeat with other half.
Heat oil in a large sauté or frying over medium heat and add in cauliflower. Cook, stirring frequently until cauliflower has lost some of its moisture and is fluffy, about 10-15 minutes.
Fold in peas, chickpeas and pesto with cauliflower to heat. Drizzle lemon juice over rice and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm with additional basil and a slice of lemon if desired! Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 3 days.
Vegan Walnut Pesto
- 2 cups (tightly packed) fresh basil, rinsed and thoroughly dried
- ⅓ cup raw walnuts or pine nuts (I actually did half and half)
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 large cloves garlic, chopped (depends on how garlicky you like it! I used 3)
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- ¼ tsp. black pepper (or a few “turns” from a grinder)
- 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend, until combined but leaving some texture (so not completely smooth). Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for 1-2 weeks or freeze for later. I actually like to use my silicone ice cube trays to freeze individual servings for fast meals later!