raw mexican rice pilaf

Man. The funnest part of writing out raw recipe names is seeing how many things will go in quotation marks Smile

After two days of awesome conversation, I think it’s time to turn to something we can all agree on: our love of great, raw recipes. This one was the highlight of last week’s dinners.

A few posts ago, I mentioned that student life makes it a challenge to prepare proper, homemade dinners during the week. I do, though, have weekends on which to prepare soups and stews—like my butternut squash and split pea, which many of you have tried and love already—grain dishes, pastas, and more. What I’ve had less time for, in the end, is any significant array of raw entrees. Not raw meals, per se—I have plenty of nutrient dense salad dinners, plenty of collard wraps, and plenty of raw soups. But when it comes to more elaborate raw meals—“cookbook meals,” I call them—I’ve fallen short.

It’s partly a matter of creativity: I find that constructing a raw entrée that’s not a salad takes a fair bit of creativity, and I’m a little too zapped to offer up much of it in the kitchen these days. It’s partly scheduling: many raw entrees demand time in a dehydrator or other methods of prep, and it’s time I don’t have. And it’s partly a function of weekends with M, when I tend to focus more on cooked meals we enjoy together than on the raw meals I enjoy more than he does (an interesting mini-segway into the topic of dating, eating, and relationships, right?).

So one of my goals right now is to do what I originally set out to do as a blogger, before my blog expanded and became a lot more than a raw food recipe collection: I want to share raw entrée ideas that are simple, time-saving, and that don’t demand too much fancy equipment or prep. I’ve always had a knack for this, but that knack has been tested by the hustle and bustle of school, late night labs, and weekend commuting. It shouldn’t take much to revive it.

On the list of raw entrees that never demands too much time or planning is cauliflower rice. This is exactly what it sounds like: cauliflower that’s chopped up finely to resemble rice. In some recipes, the cauliflower is mixed with nuts or seeds. I kept it simple in this one, and just used cauliflower as a base, but I often chop in cashews or pine nuts (I will probably never be able to afford the latter again).

I made this version of “rice” on an unseasonably balmy February night last week. What better way to welcome a little gasp of spring, I thought, than with some avocado? And with that avocado, I thought to mix in some Mexican flavorings. The recipe that follows is what I came up with. It’s simple, quick, flavorful, and absolutely delicious—the best kind of raw entrée.

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Raw Mexican Rice Pilaf With Spicy “Cheese” Topping (Vegan, raw, gluten free if you use shoyu)

Serves 2-3

1 small head cauliflower (or 1/2 large one), loosely chopped
1/2 large red bell pepper (or 1 small), chopped
1/2 lb green string beans, raw or blanched or lightly steamed, then chopped
1/2 large avocado, chopped
2 tbsp lime juice
2-3 tsps agave (use your own taste here)
2 tsps nama shoyu or tamari
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Black pepper to taste (if you make the topping below, you may not need this)
1/2 tsp coriander

For the spicy “cheese topping”

1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup cashews
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Cayenne pepper to taste

1) Place the cauliflower in a food processor…

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…and process till it resembles rice, like so:

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You should do this by pulsing it repeatedly, and not by turning the motor on, which may over-process the rice.

2) Empty the cauliflower into a bowl and toss it with the lime, agave, shoyu or tamari, spices, and the chopped veggies.

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3) To make the spicy topping (optional), process all ingredients in a food processor till well mixed.

4) Serve the cauliflower rice alongside other veggies, on top of a salad, or to accompany a grain, bean, or soy-based entree with similar flavors. Top it with the spicy topping, and enjoy!

My rice went over kale salad. Are we surprised?

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What a fabulous and easy dinner! Note that you could also throw in different vegetables: I think tomatoes, corn, and carrots would all be great.

Since it’s another goal of mine to talk about power foods lately, this is also a powerful meal: healthy fat from avocado, protein from the nutritional yeast, Vitamins C and K from the cauliflower, and any nutrient you can think of from the kale.

Like this recipe? You should also check out my chard leaves stuffed with Middle Eastern rice!

Happy almost Friday!


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