Yeah, I know. You’ve had “cauliflower rice” before and it sucked. Well, this ain’t that. Although I employ the method of pulsing cauliflower in a food processor to yield ricelike pieces, think of this as a complexly flavored cauliflower recipe that could easily be a main. It’s actually a grain-free reinvention of my Dirty Millet from Afro-Vegan, but even better. The cauliflower is sautéed quickly so it still has a little bite, the tempeh and mushrooms add a “meaty” texture and loads of umami, and the scallions and parsley brighten each bite.
Pro Tip: If you are trying to infuse plant-based dishes with umami, use dried porcini mushrooms.
- Put the porcini mushrooms in a small heatproof bowl and pour in the boiling water, making sure it covers the mushrooms. Use a small plate or the like to weight down the mushrooms to ensure they stay submerged. Soak for 20 minutes, then drain through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, reserving the soaking liquid. Finely chop the porcini mushrooms and set them aside. Strain the soaking liquid to remove any grit and set aside.
- While the porcini are soaking, in a food processor, pulse the cauliflower until it is broken down into small, grainlike pieces, using five to ten 1-second pulses. Transfer to a medium bowl.
- Line a plate with paper towels and set it nearby. In a large skillet, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the cremini mushrooms and cook, undisturbed, until brown and crisp on one side, about 5 min¬utes. Sprinkle with salt, then flip the mushrooms and cook until well browned and tender, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to the prepared plate and set aside.
- Add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet. Add the crumbled tempeh and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Lower the heat to medium; add the onion, bell pepper, celery, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and sauté until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Drizzle the tamari over the mixture and stir to combine. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl.
- In the same skillet, combine the chopped porcinis and 1 cup of the reserved soaking liquid and bring to a simmer over high heat. Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower is just tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Transfer the cauliflower to the bowl with the vegeta¬bles and tempeh. Add the cremini mushrooms and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and black pepper, transfer to a serving bowl, and gar¬nish with the scallions and parsley before serving.
Reprinted with permission from Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes by the Bryant Terry, copyright © 2020. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Photography copyright: Ed Anderson © 2020