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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Atkins Diet/Low Carb Recipe: Cajun Faux Rice

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If you are on a low-carb diet, you know that you get carb cravings. Specific ones too, like not just rice, but fried rice. Well, if you haven't tried using cauliflower as a rice substitute yet, get cracking! Here are two recipes I've posted in the past, one for beef fried rice, and one for curry rice.

The last time I did the curry dish, I got it in my head that the next time I do this, I'm going to figure out how to do a Cajun rice dish out of cauliflower, something like red beans & rice (without the beans). How hard could it be? Well, depending upon your aptitude and desire to really cook, it's not too bad. It's not fast, and it's a bit messy. But it is really, really good! This is my first try, very loosly based upon a couple of different recipes I found online for different Cajun rice recipes, and my own intuition.
One medium-large head of cauliflower
One medium onion
One red bell pepper
One green bell pepper
Two tablespoons diced garlic (I used prepared from a jar)
Liberal splash of olive oil
One pound of low-carb sausage, browned ground beef, or other meat*
Two Bay Leaves
1/2 tp Cayenne Pepper, 1 tp Thyme, 1/4 tp Sage, 1 tp Cajun Seasoning
1/2-can Chicken Broth

Chop the onion, bell pepper and garlic (if it is not prepared), as well as the meat you are using (*Casual Gourmet Chicken Sausage pre-cooked Roasted Red Pepper & Spinach is what I used). In a large skillet, sauté meat, onion, bell peppers and garlic, med-high heat, duration: 15 minutes more or less. (I sprinkled some chili powder & cajun seasoning over entire mixture before sautéing, on a whim).

While the skillet is going, prepare your cauliflower. Make it rice-like in your preferred way (this is the messy part), whether that is chopping, a food processor, or a cheese grater.

Add spices and bay leaves to the skillet. Add 1/2-can Chicken Broth (otherwise, it's a bit dry). Pour "rice" into skillet, stir, cover, keep heat med-high. Duration: About 20-25 minutes, let your intuition be your guide. Stir occasionally, to make sure all the spices and ingredients get thoroughly mixed, and that the "rice" gets evenly cooked. If it's too soupy to your taste, uncover and simmer for a while.

Carb Count: Sausage: 5 g (1 per link), Cauliflower: 20ish, entire batch, Peppers: 8ish for both, Onion: 6ish. Entire skillet-full of food: 29 grams. Serves at least 8 servings, so a generous serving size is about 4 g of carbohydrates, max! 

In a word: it's delicious. The consistency of the rice won't fool anyone, and I wonder if the cauliflower should be cooked "dry" and added to the rest later in the process. In my previous "rice" dishes, there was no broth, but this dish seems to require it. But what this dish does, is satisfy a craving. There is virtually no trade-off, you don't feel deprived at all that it isn't the real thing. And you don't have to like cauliflower, either, you'd never know that's what it's made of unless you were told.

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