If I’m being completely honest, Chinese food is one of those things that I tell most of my patients and clients to avoid eating on a regular basis. Why, you ask? Because most of the dishes are either a) fried, and/or b) loaded with sodium. Not exactly the best choice for someone who is trying to follow a heart-healthy, low-sodium diet.
But I have a confession. I actually love Chinese food. I often forget just how much I love it because it’s something that I rarely eat. In other words, I probably haven’t gotten Chinese take-out in like, five years. Maybe more. However, this past weekend, both my dad and brother had Chinese and sent a picture of their meals to our family group text (I think I started a trend…), so I must’ve been subconsciously craving it. Especially crab rangoon. I have a very intense love for crab rangoon. I’m slightly salivating just thinking about it.
I strongly believe in balance, and since I’m trying to give myself a little more wiggle-room with my diet lately, crab rangoon is something that I think I need to eat very soon, because I love it so much, and it’s been so long. My fiancé will be very pleased to hear those words. ; ) He’s probably already dialing the nearest Chinese restaurant as we speak.
Unfortunately, I always feel crummy after eating heavy, greasy foods, and I can really tell when I’ve eaten out a few times because my stomach feels blah, and my engagement ring barely fits on my finger. (That’s how you know the bloat is real.) Needless to say, I try to avoid foods that make that happen. ; ) But, on the weekends I tend to splurge a little bit more than I do during the week, and that’s A-okay, as long as I get right back to eating foods that make me feel good.
With all of that said, making your own Chinese food at home is a great way to cut down significantly on sodium, calories and bad fats, and you can easily make any other modifications you’d like. You will also save money — bonus! Fried rice is another one of my favorite food items at Chinese restaurants, but I think this version is way better than any other fried rice I’ve had, and I’m not just saying that. The riced cauliflower is the perfect substitute for white rice, and provides a ton more fiber & nutrients for way less calories. I bulked this dish up with lots of extra veggies too, so it is extremely filling, but doesn’t leave you feeling weighed down and wanting to lay on the couch with your pants unbuttoned for the rest of your life.
You can serve this fried rice a ton of different ways. Want to make it vegetarian? Leave it as is. You’ll still get some good protein from the eggs and the edamame that I added to it. I personally love it with shrimp that has been sautéed with just a few spices and a small splash of soy sauce, but it’s super tasty with grilled chicken as well. Totally your call! You can easily make it gluten-free by using gluten-free soy sauce.
Buy the cauliflower rice pre-made to save yourself tons of time and mess. It’s obviously a little pricier, but in my opinion, it’s so worth it. Most people I talk to say that “lack of time” is their biggest barrier to eating healthy, so if spending a couple extra bucks on pre-made cauliflower rice gets you to make this recipe at home rather than ordering take-out from the nearest Chinese restaurant, I say do it! (Original recipe can be found on iowagirleats.com!)
Okay, let’s get to the good stuff.
Cauliflower Fried Rice
- 1 small head of cauliflower, grated into rice (OR a bag of Green Giant fresh cauliflower rice)
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp hot chili sesame oil
- 2/3 cup frozen carrot coins
- 2/3 cup frozen peas
- 2/3 cup frozen shelled edamame
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2-3/4 of a small white onion, chopped
- 2 eggs (or 1/2 cup Egg Beaters)
- 2 tbsp less-sodium soy sauce
- 1 bag frozen, cooked, peeled, deveined large shrimp (thawed)
- 1/2-1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Black pepper and garlic powder, to taste
1. Rinse and chop the green onions, white onion and garlic cloves. Measure out frozen peas, carrots and edamame. Set aside.
2. Next, grate cauliflower into “rice” using a box (cheese) grater. (We used the side with the larger holes.) OR you can cut cauliflower into florets, put in a food processor and pulse to make the “rice”. (If you purchased the pre-made cauliflower rice, you get to skip this step!)
3. Heat 1 tbsp of sesame oil over high heat in a large non-stick skillet. Add cauliflower, green onions, peas, carrots and edamame and stir-fry until cauliflower starts to get tender, around 5-6 minutes. Add minced garlic and chopped white onion, season with black pepper, and continue to stir-fry another 30-60 seconds.
4. Whisk 2 eggs in a small bowl with 1 tsp of sesame oil. Make a circle in the middle of the cauliflower-veggie mixture in your skillet, and pour the eggs inside. Let them cook for a minute, then scramble and stir to combine.
5. Add soy sauce and mix in until combined. Keep pan on the burner but turn heat off.
If you are adding shrimp, follow the next few steps to finish:
6. In another large skillet, add 1/2-1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat and then the whole bag of thawed shrimp. Season with black pepper and garlic powder, and a small splash of soy sauce. Sauté for a few minutes until heated through and slightly browned on both sides.
7. Serve cauliflower fried rice with 6-8 pieces of cooked shrimp (optional; serving size may vary depending on size of frozen shrimp you get.)
Add additional soy sauce and black pepper as desired.
Keep making healthy dishes like this homemade, veggie-packed fried rice, and your next fortune might look something like this:
Shanna Stewart, RD LD
#WellnessForTheWin #HomemadeTakeOut #AllTheVeggies