For quite some time I have been reading about cauliflower rice. Finely grated cauliflower, steamed and served as a healthy, low calorie, low carbohydrate alternative to regular rice. Whilst I have never tried cauliflower “rice” it started me thinking. I’ve always loved the nutty flavour of roasted cauliflower. Why not take finely grated cauliflower, dry toast it in a smoking hot heavy based pan and add to a couscous salad? So here is my latest 5-2 fast day offering. Cauliflower couscous. Jam packed with roasted vegetables, fresh herbs and a spicy harissa. Providing a delicious and powerful flavour punch for under 200 calories a serve.
Grating the cauliflower is quickest and easiest using a food processor. Toasting the cauliflower “grains” very quickly in a searing hot pan until just golden imparts a wonderfully nutty flavour and retains a robust ‘al dente’ texture. Prepared this way the cauliflower is almost indiscernible from regular couscous. That said this recipe includes a combination of cauliflower and regular couscous to provide the dish with a little more structure and depth. The result is light and fluffy. Filling and decidedly moreish. at just 172 calories a serve, there is even leeway for a second helping.
Cauliflower Couscous with Fresh Harissa, Roasted Capsicum and Sweet Potato
Makes 8 cups (172 calories per cup serve)
1 tablespoon olive oil (120 calories)
1 onion , thinly sliced (30 calories)
1 medium head cauliflower (146 calories)
good chunk fresh root ginger ( 3 calories)
1 tablespoon fresh harissa paste (65 calories), recipe follows
1 red capsicum (30 calories)
2 medium sweet potatoes (250g) (215 calories)
1 1/4 cups (200g) couscous (400 calories)
1 cup (250 ml) hot chicken stock (40 calories)
3 long green spring onions, finely sliced (21 calories)
handful coriander , finely chopped, to serve (2 calories)
handful mint, finely chopped, to serve (2 calories)
handful coriander, finely chopped (2 calories)
freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon (2 calories)
Prepare the Sweet Potato and Capsicum
PREHEAT oven to 200 C. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
PLACE whole capsicum and unpeeled sweet potato in the oven and bake until soft, about 30 minutes.
REMOVE from oven and when cool enough to handle peel sweet potato and peel and deseed the capsicum.
SLICE capsicum and sweet potato into a small, even dice. Set aside.
Prepare the Cauliflower
SEPARATE the cauliflower into florets and grate using either a box grater or food processor.
HEAT a large heavy based fry pan or wok until smoking. Toast grated cauliflower in two or three batches until golden, stirring often to ensure cauliflower doesn’t burn. Set aside.
Assemble the Couscous
HEAT olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion for 1-2 minutes until just softened.
ADD grated ginger and harissa paste. Fry until fragrant.
ADD couscous. Stir fry for a minute or so to lightly toast the grains.
POUR over the hot chicken stock, stirring once to combine.
REMOVE from heat. Cover the pan tightly with a lid or foil and leave for about 5 mins until the couscous has absorbed the stock and is soft.
FLUFF the couscous with a fork. Stir through toasted cauliflower and roasted and diced capsicum and sweet potato.
TO SERVE: Squeeze over the juice of one lemon and scatter with finely chopped spring onions, parsley, coriander and mint.
Fresh Harissa Paste
Makes 2-3 tablespoons (approximately 65 calories per tablespoon)
4 long fresh red chillies (16 calories)
2 garlic cloves, crushed (8 calories)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin (8 calories)
1 teaspoon ground coriander (8 calories)
1 tablespoon olive oil (120 calories)
HALVE chillies and finely chop.
COMBINE chilli, garlic, salt, cumin, coriander, and olive oil in a mortar and use a pestle to pound until a smooth paste forms.
STORE in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.