Dirty Cauliflower Rice with Smoked Sausage

by Food Hound on April 23, 2014

in Main Dishes, Meat

Post image for Dirty Cauliflower Rice with Smoked Sausage

I have learned two very, very critical things this week:

1. There is a wrong way to pump air into bike tires.  Don’t think so?  Oh, there is, and I have discovered it.  And of course I discovered I was doing it wrong in front of the bike shop owner.  He was cool- told me it happens all the time, which I doubt, but he totally had the decency to not laugh, or at least wait till I was gone to tell all his bike friends that the urban myth is real: there is someone out there who can’t pump air into bike tires.  That’s akin to those women who don’t know they’re pregnant till they give birth outside Hot Topic at the mall.  OMG, I am failing at life.

2. Cauliflower rice is SO MY NEW JAM.

I knew cauliflower rice was one of the darlings of the grain-free movement, but I never bothered to try it because I don’t have a major emotional attachment to actual rice, and therefore was just as happy to go without.  If you lack rice, you get to fill your bowl up with more meat.  I like it when math works out that way.

I also like the kind of math where you sub a rice-textured vegetable for rice, therefore kind of ‘lightening’ a dish that is laden with smoked sausage without touching the quantity of smoked sausage.

Read: from now on cauliflower rice will be a part of my life forever and ever!!!

Of course I love the idea that my dinner is +1 veggie and -1 tasteless starch, but the bottom line is that the cauli rice functions just like regular rice in this dish- it absorbs all the gorgeous dirty rice liquid.  That sounds either so gross or so delicious, but since smoked sausage is involved, I choose delicious.  My friend, Judith, is the one who turned me on to the idea of trying cauli rice, and she says it serves the same purpose in Asian dishes, too.  Yes, yes, and YESSS!

Ironically, I have spent all this time talking about the part of the dish that really just serves as the blank canvas for all the other awesome flavors.  Other awesome flavors = smoked sausage (duh- amazing), the veggie Trinity (onions, peppers, and celery), and a spot-on mix of seasonings that seriously put this whole dish on the map in our house.  As if we needed another excuse for a dish involving smoked sausage.  As if.

A note to purists: dirty rice usually involves liver.  I’m a food princess: I dig fancy pate.  I do not dig cooking liver.  My guess is that you feel the same.  You can boost the authenticity of this dish by using andouille sausage.  But you’re already going against the grain with the cauli rice, so why not just make it a faux-Cajun hat trick with cauli rice, no liver, and smoked sausage.

If you want to hear this dish is paleo… it’s paleo.  If you want to hear this dish is a new signed, sealed, delivered Food Hound fave… it’s that, too.  If you want to hear that cauli rice will be making more appearances on TFH… it will.  It’s delish and it’s genius. (As opposed to my tire-pumping skills.  Sigh.)

Dirty Cauliflower Rice with Smoked Sausage
Adapted from Always Order Dessert (seriously one of my fave blogs- check it out, peeps)
Serves: 4
  • 1 head cauliflower, cored and chopped into florets
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 T olive oil, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 bell pepper, diced
  • 1.5 lbs smoked kielbasa or andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 T smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • Pinch of ground cayenne (more to taste)
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  1. Process ½ of the cauliflower florets in food processor; pulse until florets are finely ground (about the size of cous cous). Transfer ground cauliflower into large bowl, and repeat with rest of cauliflower. Set aside. (This part can be done a few days in advance.)
  2. Heat 1 T olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, and add the onion. Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic, celery, and peppers. Saute for 5 minutes, then add the sausage, and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the sausage is browned.
  3. Stir in the spices, seasoning, broth, and add the bay leaf. Reduce heat to low, and let simmer 8-10 minutes, until the liquid is reduce by ¾.
  4. While the vegetables simmer, heat the rest of the oil over high heat in a separate large skillet and add the cauliflower. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until it is cooked, but still a little crisp. Once cooked, turn off heat.
  5. Remove the bay leaf, and add the vegetable-sausage mixture to the cauliflower. Mix well to coat, stir in the parsley, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
This dish comes together really quickly if you are able to grind the cauliflower and chop the veggies in advance. Andouille sausage can be subbed for smoked sausage, too!