My wedding is slowly creeping up so I’m doing everything in my power to get back in the best shape of my life. And honestly, I’m doing this not just for my wedding but for me as well. Truth be told, becoming a chef and working for myself has been ROUGH on my body. While I love my job, it’s taken a serious toll on my body. Over the last two years, I’ve gained 30lbs and I have no idea how I let it get this bad. You think you have a handle on things until you look in the mirror and suddenly you’re unrecognizable…. This is currently my life.
Nonetheless, I don’t let this get me down. As a chef, I NEED to have a healthy relationship with food otherwise, I’ll be in BIG trouble. It’s precisely because of this that I’ve developed a serious of low carb and healthy recipes that incorporate and celebrate my favorite Hispanic flavors. I want to feel like I’m eating my grandmother’s recipes without the added carbs and calories. Honestly, if food doesn’t taste good– healthy or not– I don’t see the use in eating it.
Alas, Cauli Moro aka Cauliflower Moro de Gandules was born! I was playing around one evening and I had the sudden urge to have regular Moro de Gandules. However, I had just hit a fitness-weightloss milestone and I didn’t want to set myself back. You guys don’t understand… I LOVE rice and beans and can eat the whole entire pot by myself! Knowing my weaknesses, I knew I couldn’t risk making actual rice. So instead, I made cauliflower rice and much to my amazement it was DELICIOUS.
Now I’ll be honest, nothing compares to actual rice, but this dish satisfies all of your urges. It tastes just like Moro de Gandules and even has a similar texture. You can indulge and rest assured that your waistline will be good the next day. Cauli Moro has quickly become a staple in my house. I love that it’s completely vegan and plant based. While I’m no vegan, I do try to eat plant based a few times a week.
Before you jump into the recipe, here are a few tried and true tips to making Cauli Moro or any cauliflower rice.
- Ricing your cauliflower yourself is cheaper and will yield more cauliflower rice than the ready-made/ pre-rice cauliflower rice from the store
- Using fresh cauliflower rice is better than frozen cauliflower rice. Frozen cauliflower rice has too much moisture and you run the risk of your cauliflower rice coming out mushy
- When making your own cauliflower rice, it’s best to rice it using a food processor vs. blender. The food processor will give you perfect rice bits vs. the blender which will break it up too small and smooth it out. A blender is great for making cauliflower mash
- Be sure not to let the sauce dry up too much when making Cauli Moro. You need a good amount of sauce to coat the cauliflower rice
- Once you’ve mixed in the cauliflower rice with gandules, simmer it covered on low for 5-10 minutes. This will allow your raw cauliflower rice to soften and absorb the awesome flavors from the gandules
- Don’t overcook the cauliflower rice or else you run the risk of it becoming mushy. The same is try if you rice it too small or if you use frozen cauliflower rice
If you’d like to see a step-by-step video on How to Make Cauli Moro- Cauliflower Moro de Gandules, be sure to visit my YouTube Channel: Chef Zee Cooks.
And now for the recipe….
- 1 Large head of Cauliflower
- 1 ½ cups Gandules
- 1 White Onion
- ½ Green Bell Pepper
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- ½ Celery Stalk *optional
- 1 tbs Cilantro
- ½ tbs Sazón
- 1 tbs Tomato Paste
- ½ tsp Dominican Orégano
- Olive Oil
- ½ -1cup Water
- In a food processor, add cauliflower and pulse for 2-5 seconds to rice cauliflower. Remove and repeat again until all of the cauliflower has been rice. Note: do not over crowd your food processor when making your own cauliflower rice
- In a deep sided skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. Once the olive is hot, add onions, peppers, celery, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Mix everything and saute for 2-3 minutes until veggies are translucent
- Add gandules (feel free to use canned or freshly softened gandules) and oregano. Mix until well combined. Then add tomato paste, cilantro, and water. Be sure to stir until tomato paste has fully dissolved. Let simmer for 2 minutes
- Once the gandules, have begun to simmer, adjust seasonings to your liking. Feel free to use adobo or your favorite seasoning salt in place of Kosher Salt and black pepper
- Now add cauliflower rice and gently mix in until all of the cauliflower is completely coated in sauce. Be sure not to let sauce dry up too much before adding cauliflower.
- Once the cauliflower is mix in, reduce flame to low and simmer covered for 5-10minutes until cauliflower reaches desired softness
- As soon as cauliflower is done, remove from flame and serve with your favorite side dish