Bye Bye Diets: Fueled by Real Food
Food Matters, a health and wellness site from the people who made the documentary by the same name, recently posted this on their Instagram: "There is no diet that will do what eating healthy does. Skip the diet and just eat healthily!" I wholeheartedly agree. I now understand that all the diets that I've tried and failed at weren't focussing on filling me with nutritious, real foods. Once real, healthy food became the focus, there was no need for a "diet."
There was a time when I thought eating healthily meant having to settle for no desserts and just a big bowl of lettuce. Now I know that it can really mean eating delicious, fulfilling food. I have lots of new favorite foods that happen to be nutritious. And I love the freedom of eating without counting anything. There is so much built-in nutrition with nearly everything I eat now, I no longer feel the need to keep track.
Loving Whole Grains & Nutrient-Dense Fat Sources
There are, however, two nutritious food categories that I may love a little too much. I believe they are healthy and necessary for my body - and they seem to keep my body from finding its ideal weight when I eat large amounts: whole grains, and nutritious fats like avocado and nuts. I don't stress about it, and I don't eat a set amount each day - but I do try to be aware that just a few nuts or part of an avocado go a long way. There are just those days when I know I really don't need more of either and it's not even dinnertime. On those days, I look for something like this for dinner. While this Cauliflower Fried Rice recipe contains loads of veggies, no oil (that's right- fried rice without oil! Yes, it can be done!), no whole grains, and just a tiny amount of seeds for "those days," it's great over quinoa or in a wrap like Moo Shu, too, and wonderful with toasted cashews or peanuts, for the other days.
This recipe began with the discovery that colorful cauliflower was back at the local farmers market. Yay! I bought a gorgeous chartreuse head and pondered what to make with it. When later that week I knew I had maxed out on whole grains and nuts for the day, I decided to make cauliflower fried rice for dinner, without oil or grains. While any color of cauliflower will work for this recipe, if I have the option, I will choose colorful cauliflower!
I like using my food processor's shredder blade rather than the standard blade to make more consistent rice-like bits.
For fun (I also hope you find it helpful), I created this visual ingredient guide for this recipe.
CAULIFLOWER FRIED RICE Recipe
VEGAN | OIL-FREE | GRAIN-FREE | 30 MINUTES OR LESS*
*with date syrup on-hand
I like to keep date syrup on hand for whenever I need something sweet:
Date syrup: Soak 6 dates in 1 cup water for at least 2 hours. Blend until smooth. Store in fridge for up to four days.
SERVES: 4 mains or 8 sides
Prep/Cook Time: About 30 minutes
- 1 onion, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced + 1 for sauce
- 1 head of cauliflower, or about 4 cups, cut into wedges to feed into the food processor
- 1/4 cup chopped shiitake mushroom
- 1 package organic baked tofu, diced (I used Aloha flavor)*
- 1/3 cup legumes, such as fava beans, shelled edamame, or peas (frozen is fine)
- 1 cup cabbage, sliced then cut in half
- 1 cup baby kale
- 1/4 cup garlic scapes or scallions
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 2 teaspoons date syrup
- 1 teaspoon minced or grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons Thai basil
- Optional: If desired, serve over a grain if desired, like quinoa, or in a moo shu wrap. Top with cashews, peanuts, or other nuts. Sriracha, hot sauce, or chili-garlic sauce is delish, too!
*Note: Tofu can be omitted or replaced by nuts, more seeds, or more beans/peas.
1. COOK THE "RICE": Heat a large pan or wok over medium heat on the stove. Meanwhile, with the shredder blade in place, run the cauliflower through the food processor. When the pan is hot, turn down to medium-low and add the sliced onion, stirring frequently until softened, about 8 minutes. Then add the two minced garlic cloves, stirring about a minute. Add the cauliflower rice and stir occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside in a large bowl.
2. MUSHROOMS-BEANS: In the same pan, add the mushrooms and cook about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the baked tofu, legumes, and cabbage, stirring and cooking about 3 minutes. Add the kale, scallions or garlic scapes, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes, if using.
3. SAUCE: In a small bowl, stir the broth, tamari, date syrup, ginger, and last minced garlic clove. Pour over the pan ingredients, stirring, for about one minute. Add the rice back to the pan and carefully stir until all is combined. Cook a few minutes to combine flavors.
4. PLATE: Top each serving with minced basil.