Curried Cauliflower Couscous with Chickpeas and Chard

Curried Cauliflower Couscous with Chickpeas and Chard | A Sweet SpoonfulIf I asked you about what you like to cook at home when the week gets busy, I’m willing to bet it might be something simple. While there are countless websites and blogs and innumerable resources to find any kind of recipe we may crave, it’s often the simple, repetitive dishes that we’ve either grown up with or come to love that call to us when cooking (or life in general) seems overwhelming or when we’re feeling depleted. While my go-to is typically breakfast burritos or whole grain bowls, this Curried Cauliflower Couscous with Chickpeas and Chard would make one very fine, very doable house meal on rotation. The adaptations are endless, and its made from largely pantry ingredients. I never thought I’d hop on the cauliflower “rice” bandwagon, but I have to say after making it a few times, I get the hype. 

Curried Cauliflower Couscous with Chickpeas and Chard | A Sweet Spoonful

I recently came across Tamar Adler’s piece in Bon Appetit in which she lays out the concept of the house meal. The idea is simple: it’s your go-to, the meal that’s in your wheelhouse, and that you can always rely on. Repetitive by nature, the house meal is the dish you fall back on when there’s no other plan, so it’s best if it’s comprised of simple ingredients, is easy adaptable, and is healthy-ish.“Why one needs such a meal is perhaps evident—because having to become inspired and think and plan and shop each time one wants to eat a home-cooked meal is a tall order,” Adler writes. And for me this was never more clear than when we had Oliver. There are many nights (most nights, really) when we end up piecing together a meal from leftovers or odds and ends in the fridge — and it’s often delicious, but there are many nights when it’s also quite basic and reliable — our version of the house meal.

Curried Cauliflower Couscous with Chickpeas and Chard | A Sweet Spoonful In Adler’s house growing up, rice and beans was in rotation and today she finds she and her partner reaching for eggs and greens as their house meal. As I mentioned, ours is typically some form of a whole grain bowl: leftover grains, leftover roasted veggies, a crumble or two of cheese, a few nuts or seeds, something creamy like yogurt or sour cream. Homemade pesto in the summer, maybe. Preserved lemon in the winter.  Because I’m in the habit of cooking a pot of grains on the weekend, we generally have some lurking in the refrigerator waiting for their big moment, but if not, there are a number of quick-cooking grains that make this house meal doable in a pinch (quinoa, millet, bulghur wheat).

Curried Cauliflower Couscous with Chickpeas and Chard | A Sweet Spoonful While I realize the recipe I’m sharing with you today doesn’t include grains at all, it’s a very, very close cousin to the kind of whole grain bowls I’m talking about. As you know, Sam is Lebanese so we always have cans of chickpeas in the pantry and rely on them at least a few days a week; I found some organic cauliflower on sale at the market and we had greens in the crisper already, so this one came together rather by whim.

I’ve never made cauliflower “rice” before but I’ve been seeing it everywhere lately, and I like the concept of using it as a base for a lighter meal. Instead of simply pan-cooking it with the veggies, I decided to cook it more like a couscous, adding vegetable broth to plump up the chickpeas and raisins and slowly softening up the riced cauliflower. To adopt it and make it your own, play around with any vegetables you’d like to fold into the cauliflower base and use any greens you’d like (kale, spinach or arugula would be great). You could add some leftover shredded chicken or pork or baked tofu for even more protein. Maybe lentils call to you rather than chickpeas. The options feel endless. I would say, however, that the Greek yogurt on top feels pretty essential to me (although it is obviously dairy free and vegan without it): the creaminess helps cut some of the  heat from the warmer spices. And the nuts add a nice crunch. The couscous keeps really well for a few days in the fridge — as any house meal worth its weight should.

Curried Cauliflower Cousous with Chickpeas and Chard

Curried Cauliflower Cousous with Chickpeas and Chard

  • Yield: 4-6 Servings
  • Prep time: 20 mins
  • Cook time: 12 mins
  • Total time: 32 mins

This vegetarian main dish comes together quickly once you chop the greens and cauliflower, and I think leftovers are even better the second day. While you could certainly grate the cauliflower on a box grater if you’d like, I prefer to process it in the food processor. Many markets now sell bags of “pre-riced” cauliflower, so if you go this route, you’ll want to make sure you have about 4 – 4 1/2 cups.

Ingredients

1 medium head cauliflower
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped (1 cup/120g)
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely minced
1 15-ounce can chickpeas
1/3 cup (45g) golden raisins
2 teaspoons ground curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to season
1 cup vegetables stock
2 cups (100g) finely chopped Swiss chard (or spinach or kale)
1/3 cup (10g) finely chopped parsley, plus more for serving
3 green onions, chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
Freshly-ground black pepper, to season
1/4 cup (60ml) Greek yogurt (or sour cream), for serving (optional)
3 tablespoons toasted cashews or sliced almonds, for serving (optional)

Instructions

Cut the cauliflower into large florets, and discard the inner core. Working in two batches, pulse the cauliflower until finely chopped in a food processor – be careful not to over-process or it’ll turn to mush. You will be left with about 4 cups (460g) of cauliflower “rice.”

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the cauliflower rice, chickpeas, raisins, curry powder, cumin, coriander and salt and stir well. Add the stock and cook for 7-8 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender.

Fold in the chard, parsley and green onions. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as desired. Serve in your favorite bowls, topped with a dollop of yogurt, pinch of parsley and toasted almonds or cashews.

Comments

  1. Andrea | Juniper & Rye Kitchen

    Golden Raisins! Curry Powder! Ginger! Onions! Oh my!

    I wasn't so sure about cauliflower rice. I, like you, am reticent of food trends. BUT! That flavor profile does sound delicious, so I may just have to give this a try.

    P.S. My house meal is chicken souvlaki salad! It's always delicious and so easy to throw together!

  2. Sara Forte

    we made this last week and love it! I ended up adding a can of reduced fat coconut milk because we wanted it sort of stewy and it worked great (esp given that our curry powder is pretty spicy). Great recipe and idea. I'm already ready to make it again!

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