Happy Friday, everyone! With school either in full swing or about to start, who needs a 5-ingredient, kid-friendly, healthy recipe? This Fast with Five Fridays Dirty Cauliflower Rice (more on the name later!) is just that, and I’m not exaggerating when I say my kids love this meal!
Cauliflower rice…I know, this is not the first time I’ve used this versatile veggie swap for traditional rice (and it won’t be the last time you’ll see it either!). It just works so well that I can’t stop using it in my recipes. It’s so quick to make and is a fun way to work more vegetables into weekly meals. Check out this Toasted Sesame Cauliflower Rice or this Confetti Cauliflower Rice if you can’t get enough of it either!
Okay, about the name. My high school English teacher gets the credit for the inspiration for this recipe because she used to make a dish called Dirty Rice. She would bring it to school potluck events for sports or other occasions (I grew up in a really small school, so everyone knew each other well). Anyway, she shared the recipe with me once (yes, I was a recipe junky from a very young age!), and I would make it from time to time. It, too, was about 5 ingredients (rice, ground beef, and some seasoning mixes), and it tasted really good.
With my Dirty Cauliflower Rice, I wanted to stay true to the speed and look of her original recipe, while healthifying it a bit by adding vegetables (the cauliflower) and eliminating the less-than-healthy seasoning mixes (swapping in chopped onion, garlic, and jarred pasta sauce in their place). This dish is not a thing of beauty, but given the name, I think you can see why. The rice, or in this case, “cauliflower rice”, is meant to look dirty, which the ground beef and pasta sauce take care of.
There’s a very tiny bit of pasta sauce in this recipe, which is most definitely not meant to make this taste Italian in any way, shape, or form. It adds a bit of flavor and prevents the dish from tasting dry. You can use any flavor of sauce you like, and the leftover jarred sauce can be used the next night for a quick pasta meal.
For a school night when you have next to no time to cook because you’re running in multiple directions, or for a Friday night when you’ve had a busy week and you want to get to the relaxing part of your weekend more quickly (which is exactly why I started the Fast with Five Fridays series!), make this 5-ingredient, kid-friendly, healthy recipe.
Dirty Cauliflower Rice How-To Photos:
Cook ground beef (bison, turkey, and pork work well too!) with onion and garlic.
After meat is cooked through, drain off fat if necessary.
Add a tiny bit of jarred pasta sauce.
Stir the sauce into the hot meat mixture – this helps deglaze the pan so any browned bits won’t be difficult to clean later! Remove meat mixture from skillet.
Cut a head of cauliflower into florets – you’ll use 4 cups total.
Pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles the size of rice. I like to use this food processor for the job.
Cook the cauliflower rice with salt in the same skillet in olive oil until just tender.
It doesn’t look much different after cooking.
Add back the meat mixture; cook and stir until heated through.
All done and ready to enjoy!
- 1 pound ground beef, ground bison, ground turkey, or ground pork
- ½ cup onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup jarred tomato-based pasta sauce (any flavor)
- 4 cups cauliflower florets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- Chopped fresh chives (optional)
- In a large skillet cook ground beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink and onion is tender, using a potato masher to coarsely break up meat as it cooks. Drain off fat if necessary. Add pasta sauce. Stir until well combined. Transfer meat mixture to a medium bowl; set aside.
- While meat is cooking, place cauliflower florets in a food processor. Cover and pulse until very finely chopped (cauliflower should resemble rice).
- In the same skillet used to cook the meat mixture, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add finely chopped cauliflower; sprinkle with salt. Cook, uncovered, for 5 to 6 minutes or until cauliflower is just tender, stirring occasionally.
- Add meat mixture to cauliflower rice. Cook and stir over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until well combined and heated through. If desired, sprinkle with chopped chives to serve.
- I consider olive oil and salt pantry ingredients and don’t count them in the number of ingredients for this recipe. As for the chives, I couldn’t resist adding a bit of color for the photo, and you can do the same if you choose – again, I didn’t count the chives as an ingredient because you can leave them off and the flavor is still great.
- 4 servings (about 1 ¼ cups per serving)
- 293 cals, 25 g pro, 9 g carb, 17 g fat, 72 mg cholesterol, 5 g sat fat, 3 g fiber, 324 mg sodium