Cajun Spiced Farro and Cauliflower Pilaf

Birthday cake…this is not. This is more like a fridge clean out -slash- way of using up some odds and ends of leftovers situation. Cooked black beans, one corn cob, half a head of cauliflower and some shredded kale – all tied together with my guiltiest spice-blend pleasure: Cajun seasoning.

This wasn’t a well thought-out dish, but it’s a perfect example of my no-wasting, often experimental lunchtime cooking.

Have you heard about this whole “ricing” of cauliflower thing? I think its main selling point is as a low-carb/low-cal substitute for rice. My regular diet is neither of those things, but I was curious – so I took to the food processor.

The idea is to get your cauliflower chopped up so finely (but not too finely) that it becomes rice-like in texture. Then you use it like you would rice – as a bed for a stir-fry or in a pilaf like this one here. I would recommend applying some heat to the chopped cauliflower along with a little olive oil and seasoning, otherwise it’s straight up dry and bland.

Since I had some farro lying around, I added it for some chewy good-for-you grain-ness. But you could leave it out altogether or swap it for quinoa, barley, wheat berries or brown rice.

This pilaf is a total texture party with a great kick to it. It’s perfect as a side for some grilled salmon, chicken or beef. Or, just serve up a bowl with a poached egg on top and some lashings of hot sauce for a good time.

In related news, I’m thinking about changing my middle name to “put an egg on top”. It’s my favorite remedy to magically turn a salad or side into a meal. Poof!

I would also really like to name a pet Oprah, but we can talk about that another time.

Cajun Spiced Farro and Cauliflower Pilaf
– 1/2 cup dry farro (you will have leftover)
– 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, divided
– olive oil
– 1 shallot, finely chopped
– 1/3 cup diced red pepper
– 1/3 cup corn kernels either fresh or frozen and thawed
– 2 cups “riced” cauliflower
– 1/3 cup cooked black beans
– 2 cups of kale, shredded or finely chopped
– salt, to taste
– a handful of cilantro chopped, to serve
– fresh lime, to serve

To cook Cajun farro: place 1/2 cup farro, 1 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 15 minutes until the grains are tender and chewy. Allow to sit covered for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork. Set aside. Can be made without Cajun seasoning

To rice cauliflower: roughly chop a half a head of cauliflower and place in the food processor. Pulse until the cauliflower is chopped into small pieces the size of rice.

In a large pan with high sides, heat a splash of olive oil over a medium high heat, add shallot and cook, stirring for 2 minutes until softened.

Add red pepper and corn kernels and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, until the corn is browned in parts.

Add remaining seasoning and riced cauliflower and cook for 2 minutes, stirring until the cauliflower has softened.

Reduce heat to medium and stir in black beans and kale and cook covered until kale is wilted – about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup farro. Season with salt as needed.

Top with cilantro and a spritz of lime. Serve warm, cold or at room temperature. Keeps for a few days in the fridge.

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