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Truth be told, most new recipes or foods I try in my kitchen are inspired by restaurants or food trucks that serve something I eat and then hope to replicate. Often I do a little online investigating then devise a formula that is similar to what I have in mind, then I start and tweak until I am satisfied that I have created something delicious.
Not this time. I truly concocted this pilaf in my head – simply basing it on what I had in the refrigerator at the time and CA CHING! I hit the jackpot. I was on a mission to incorporate additional vegetables and lentils into my diet too so I was doubly pleased.
Just to be sure I wasn’t delusional, I made this shortly thereafter for two of my kids on separate occasions without a lot of explanation and they both LOVED it. Of course they asked me how I made the pilaf… how much of this and that … and of course I didn’t know at the time because I cook with my eyes. Regardless, I’ve made it almost daily now as part of my lunch, followed by a homemade salted chocolate chunk cookie. Perfection.
As it turns out, this is vegan, gluten free, dairy free..not anything I started out to do but hey, it’s tasty and easy. What I do is keep the chopped cauliflower and cooked beluga lentils (It could have been beans too) and cut-off-the-cob sweet corn ready and waiting, and it literally takes me minutes until I am chowing down. I pretty much always have cherry tomatoes and tahina and lemons and cilantro in my house too. After all, I cook daily.
I don’t know that this recipe is that exact. I plan to change out things depending on what I have around too: today I’ll add sliced asparagus spears, diced red pepper, diced sugar snap peas and yellow cherry tomatoes for example. Use your imagination!
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups cauliflower “rice” (cut cauliflower in flowerettes and whirl to make it rice – like in the food processor. Easy instructions are explained well here. Alternately, you can buy this at Trader Joe’s.)
- ½ cup cooked and drained black or regular lentils (Garbanzo beans are a good substitution)
- ½ cup sweet corn kernels, uncooked
- Chopped cilantro if desired
- 1 Tbsp tahina (Soom is the best!)
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1-2 Tbsp water to thin the sauce
- Dash of curry powder or cumin if you like
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a 10-inch fry pan, add the olive oil, and when it is hot dump in the cauliflower “rice”, lentils and corn. Saute for a few minutes until the cauliflower is cooked a bit.
Whisk together the dressing ingredients, taste and add more water/lemon juice as needed. Stir this into the cauliflower mix, top with fresh herbs and serve.