Super flavorful cauliflower rice bowl with sautéed bell peppers and seasoned with the best almond butter sauce. The addition of black beans and lentils makes it a grain-free alternative to rice and beans.
Sautéed cauliflower rice
If you're looking for the best way to make cauliflower rice, this is it. Simply sautéed in a skillet and well-seasoned, this cauliflower rice and beans is my absolute favorite cauliflower rice recipe. It's one of the basic gluten free vegan recipes you need to try if you're on a plant-based diet. For more details on how to sauté cauliflower rice, including how to rice cauliflower and whether you can use frozen cauliflower, have a look at this article.
You can use it as a base for your bowls (e.g, burrito bowl, buddha bowl), for your salads (as an alternative to rice or quinoa), as a filling for wraps, and so much more. This recipe is very versatile, especially depending on the way you season it (see paragraph below).
How to build your cauliflower rice bowl
- Sauté the cauliflower rice and the beans.
- Season the cauliflower rice, which will be the base of your bowl.
- Add the vegetables.
- Finish it off with some toppings.
Step by step with pictures
Prepare and sauté the bell peppers. Wash the bell peppers and cut them into thin strips. Heat a relatively large pan or skillet with olive oil and sauté the bell peppers until golden brown. They will caramelize in their own juices.
Prepare and sauté the cauliflower rice. First, rice the washed cauliflower florets in a blender or food processor (or use store-bought cauliflower rice). Then, heat a little olive oil in the same pan that you used for the bell peppers. Add the cauliflower rice and sauté until golden brown. It will absorb the juices from the sautéed bell peppers, and become extra flavorful.
Add the beans and the lentils. Drain and rinse the canned black beans and lentils under cold water. Then add them to the pan with the cauliflower rice and sauté for a few more minutes.
Season the cauliflower rice. Make the almond butter sauce as described in the recipe below and add it to the cauliflower rice and beans. If you want it to be more simple, season it with pepper and a spice blend (e.g., 5 spice, Mexican spice blend).
Finally, make your cauliflower rice bowl by adding the "rice", the caramelized bell peppers and your toppings (optional) to a bowl.
How to season cauliflower rice
The spices or dressing you chose to add to the cauliflower rice basically transform your bowl. You can either add a dressing or a sauce for an extra portion of flavor and more creaminess or use a spice blend to keep it simple. Check the recipe instructions or this post for more details. Here are 4 sauces you can use for your cauliflower rice bowls:
- The best almond butter sauce included in the recipe below. It is made with the "Café the Paris" spice blend that you might be able to find at your grocery store or order online. Otherwise, you can easily substitute it with Chinese 5 spice.
- Garlic fans should try this vegan garlic sauce made with roasted garlic.
- For a Thai-inspired version you should absolutely give this peanut butter thai dressing a go.
- And for something fresh during summer, try this vegan cashew pesto.
Now you might be wondering, do I need to add salt? The answer is, it depends. First, check the salt content of the canned lentils and beans that you added to the cauliflower rice. If they contain (quite a bit of) salt, it might be unnecessary to add more (simply take a bite and see for yourself). If the sauce you add bowl to your bowl already contains salt, you might not need to season the "rice". However, if you only add a dry seasoning mix (that doesn't contain salt), you could add about ¼ teaspoon salt to the cauliflower rice.
This recipe only calls for sautéed (but basically caramelized) bell peppers. However there's are many more options and ingredients you can add to build your bowl:
- More vegetables: avocado in this case would be my favorite option because it doesn't require any additional preparation. Simply cut it into cubes, maybe season it with a squeeze of lemon and it to your bowl. Otherwise, cut up some more veggies that cook quickly and sauté them with the bell peppers (e.g., zucchini, eggplant, soja sprouts)
- Greens: anything from arugula salad, baby spinach or mixed greens work really well. You can either double the amount of the sauce you make for the cauliflower rice and use it as a dressing. Or make a quick dressing with some olive oil and lemon juice.
- Seeds: add a handful of pumpkin seeds, crushed almonds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds or flax seeds. My go-to option is are mixed seeds that I always use as a topping for bowls and salads.
- Fresh herbs: fresh cilantro goes really well with the cauliflower rice mixture and the almond butter sauce. However, feel free to add basil, parsley or mint if you prefer.
Do you eat it hot or cold?
Whether you eat your bol hot or cold is completely up to your personal preference. On the day you prepare the sautéed cauliflower rice and the veggies, you might want to eat it warm. If you have some leftovers or made an extra portion, you can eat it cold the next day or reheat it. You can find my reheating tips below.
I find that the best way to reheat cauliflower rice is to add it to a hot pan with a tiny bit of olive oil. That way the cauliflower rice will crisp up again and not become soggy. You can reheat it in the microwave as well, but it will be softer.
- If you eat want to eat it cold, you can store everything in the same container: if your plan is to eat your cauliflower rice bowl cold, you can store all the ingredients together in the same air-tight container. Keep it in the fridge for 1 to 2 days until serving time. However, if time allows, it is recommended to add avocado and greens at the last minute. Otherwise, they might oxidate (turn brown) and become soggy.
- If you want to reheat it, store the cauliflower rice and the toppings separately: if your plan is to reheat it, store the cauliflower rice and the cooked veggies in the same air-tight container (or two separate ones if they are too small). However, keep the toppings in separate containers and only add them when serving, since you don't want to be heated up with the rest of the ingredients.
Cauliflower Rice Bowl
- 400 g cauliflower florets or frozen riced cauliflower
- 4 bell peppers
- 1 can of brown lentils 400g net weight (before draining)
- 1 small can of black beans 200g net weight (before draining)
- 1 pinch of salt
For the seasoning
- 3 tablespoon almond butter
- 1 tablespoon tamari or gluten free soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon "café de paris" spice blend or 5-spice or Mexican spice blend
- 3 tablespoon water
Addition toppings (optional)
- 1 avocado
- 2 handfuls arugula salad
- 1 handful of mixed seeds
- Fresh cilantro
- Wash the cauliflower and cut it into florets. Weigh about 400g and add it to a blender or food processor. Pulse several times until you get cauliflower rice.
- Wash the bell peppers and cut them into thin strips.
- Heat some olive oil in a large pan or skillet. When hot, add the bell peppers. Sauté on medium-high until lightly brown. Then reduce to medium heat and cook until soft. All in all, it should take about 10 minutes.
- Set the bell peppers aside and add the cauliflower rice to the same pan (don't wash it). Sauté the rice for 5 minutes over medium-high heat (if you're using frozen rice cauliflower, add it to the pan when it is still frozen).
- Drain and rinse the lentils and black beans. Add them to the pan and wait 2 more minutes.
- Make the almond butter sauce by mixing the almond butter, tamari, maple syrup, spices and water in a small mixing bowl and add it to the pan. Or add the seasoning of your choice.
- Serve the cauliflower rice and beans with bell peppers.
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