Cauliflower and a box grater? ‘Rice’

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Bowls, or grain bowls as they’re often referred to, are a creative way to serve up grains, protein and veggies in one satisfying, colorful meal. Not a new concept–-references to bibimbap, a traditional Korean dish combining rice, a variety of vegetables, proteins and sauce in a stone bowl, can be found in cookbooks dating back to the 1800s. Modern day bowls mix and match quinoa, brown rice, farro, and other healthy grains, often giving a second life to leftovers. While the combinations are endless and the ingredients can be simple, a memorable sauce and crunchy toppings are essential to pull the flavors together. One of my favorite bowls combines charred broccoli, sautéed onions and cubes of crispy tofu smothered in a sriracha-spiked, garlicky ginger peanut sauce. It hits all the notes -- a balance of sweet, sour and spicy. I usually add a mound of brown jasmine rice to the bowl, but I was short on prep time. After a quick survey of my options, the answer was cauliflower. Using the large holes of a box grater the cauliflower was instantly transformed into rice-like kernels that could be infused with a multitude of flavor profiles. A little ginger, a clove of garlic and my grain-less bowl was born.

Broccoli tofu peanut bowl

Vegan, gluten free

Serves 2

Spicy peanut sauce

1 teaspoon grapeseed oil

1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger

1 clove garlic, minced

½ cup water

¼ cup peanut butter

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce

1 tablespoon agave or other sweetener

¾ teaspoon sriracha, or more to taste

Heat oil in a small saucepan. Add ginger and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the water; bring to a boil then lower heat to simmer. Add peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, agave and sriracha and stir until well combined. Set aside.

For the bowl

3 teaspoons grapeseed oil

8 ounces organic extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed and cubed

Sea salt

4 cups cauliflower florets

1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 small onion, quartered and cut into ½”slices

3 cups broccoli florets cut into bite size pieces

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Shredded carrots and chopped toasted peanuts for topping

Heat 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil in a non-stick skillet. Add cubes of tofu, sprinkle with sea salt and cook, turning until all sides are lightly browned. Remove from pan and keep warm. While the tofu is browning, grate the cauliflower florets on the large holes of a box grater (or use a food processor) until you have about 2 cups. Add 1 teaspoon of oil to the pan. Cook garlic and ginger on low 1 minute. Add grated cauliflower and stir constantly for 3 minutes. Remove from pan and keep warm. Add ½ teaspoon of oil to the same pan and sauté onions for 5 minutes on medium heat. Remove from pan. Add remaining ½ teaspoon of oil to pan. Stir in broccoli and 1 teaspoon water. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until fork tender, crisp and slightly charred. Season with sea salt and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Remove from heat.

To assemble, spoon cauliflower rice, tofu, broccoli and onions into individual bowls. Top with chopped toasted peanuts and shredded raw carrot. Serve with spicy peanut sauce.

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