Rice and beans are a classic combination of ingredients but this Cauliflower Rice Salad and cannellini beans infused with fresh rosemary is no ordinary recipe.
Why I Love Cauliflower Rice Salad with Cannellini Beans
I enjoy warm salad recipes. Especially on those cold, wintery nights when you’re after a hot meal accompanied by equally wholesome and warm sides.
This cauliflower rice salad is easy to make, and the cooking process only takes 5 minutes!
Cauliflower rice on its own is a winner in my household. We make fried rice with cauliflower quite often. It is healthy and so filling. And when you add the honey lemon salad dressing through it, it gives it a little sweetness and tang, all at the same time.
I also love sautéing the cannellini beans with fresh rosemary. Rosemary is such an aromatic herb with complex flavours. It is slightly woody, peppery, has a tinge of bitterness and ever so fragrant.
When you toss it about with the cannellini beans, it gives it a whole new flavour. You can in fact just do a whole bunch of these and serve it as a side on its own.
What are Cannellini Beans?
Cannellini beans, also known as white kidney beans, are kidney-shaped beans that hail from Italy. They are ivory in colour, and you’ve probably eaten them a bunch when you last had minestrone soup.
If ever you read a recipe that requires white beans, cannellini beans are your best bet.
When cooked, cannellini beans are fluffy or even powdery in texture and have a mild, nutty flavour.
Cannellini Beans Substitute
If you can’t find cannellini beans, you can use Great Northern beans, white navy beans or as a last resort, red kidney beans.
Canned Cannellini Beans
You can easily find cannellini beans in a can in your supermarket. It is always my preference to get them in a can for a few reasons:
- Convenience: A simple grab and go, and they taste good to me! Just the soaking process of dried cannellini beans is 5 hours. I don’t have the time.
- Budget: A can of cannellini beans is so affordable.
- Portion Control: No wastage here as I know exactly how much I can get without having to worry about how many cups dried beans will yield when cooked etc…
- Less Wastage: Unless I’m feeding a village or I’m planning to eat cannellini beans every day, I can’t possibly finish a whole packet of dried beans. It then just sits in my pantry for the longest time and takes up unnecessary space or like many things, it has expired by the time we remember it’s even there.
So yeah, just get the can. Just make sure you give them a good rinse before eating them.
How to Prepare Dried Cannellini Beans
If you are a purist or you just can’t handle the thought of using canned products, you can, of course, get the dried version.
1 cup of dried beans will yield 2 ½ cups of cooked beans.
Rinse the dried cannellini beans and then soak them in cold water either overnight or for a minimum of 5 hours. The soaking should be done at room temperature.
Place the beans in a small saucepan with about an inch of cold water and bring to the boil. Let it boil for about 10 minutes and if it starts to foam up, skim it off and discard.
Then bring it down to a simmer with the lid half off (otherwise it will boil over) for about 1 hour. Check on the saucepan every so often to ensure there is enough water. Add a little more if you feel it’s drying up too fast. Drain and eat!
Who Invented Cauliflower Rice?
Cauliflower rice was originally invented as cauliflower couscous by Chef Benjamin Ford, son of famous actor Harrison Ford. What a cool piece of trivia!
Benjamin Ford founded a gastropub in Los Angeles. In 1998, he decided to whizz some cauliflower florets in a food processor as he was experimenting new menu concepts for his opening menu.
He said he loved the flavours and the fact that he was “keeping it real” and maintaining the authentic flavours of the cauliflower.
Why Cauliflower Rice Is So Popular?
Cauliflower rice ticks all the boxes in terms of nutritional benefits as well as becoming a substitute for many staples.
If you’re on a diet, be it for lifestyle reasons or dietary restrictions, cauliflower rice appeals to many of these groups. Its low carbs, gluten free, vegan, plant based and follows paleo guidelines.
Apart from that, it’s just delicious. So fluffy and flavoursome.
Why Cauliflower is the Best
To us, cauliflower has got to be one of the most versatile vegetables around. Over time, we have been very good at re-inventing the way we eat this vegetable. I mean, who would have thought we could make “rice” out of it?
We have a small love affair with the purple cauliflower and our Purple Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Mustard Tahini remains as one of our most popular recipes.
We also do love our mini cauliflower, small gorgeous heads of compact florets and leaves. Do try our Baby Cauliflower and Spiced Chickpeas with Beetroot Tahini which is also so stunning to look at.
How to Make Cauliflower Rice Salad with Cannellini Beans
How to Make the Cauliflower Rice
Cut the cauliflower into florets and put into a food processor or hand blender and blitz to a coarsely fine texture. Make enough to yield 3 cups.
In a large fry pan or wok, dry fry the cauliflower rice for 2 minutes. This is to dry it out and cook it slightly, so it’s not entirely raw. Set aside.
How to Shave Brussels Sprouts
Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, shave the Brussels sprout. If you’re cutting it by hand, ensure they are very thin slices. Do not shave too much of the stem. We mainly want the leaves.
Don’t forget to check out our pairings chart to find out what goes with Brussel sprouts so you can make that special main course to go with this salad.
How to Sauté the Cannellini Beans
In a small saucepan on medium heat, add 2 tsp of butter. Add 200 g of the cannellini beans and 3 sprigs of rosemary. Toss for about 2 minutes.
How to Make Honey Lemon Dressing
In a small mixing bowl, add the olive oil, honey, apple cider vinegar and the juice of half a lemon.
Mix until well combined.
How to Assemble Cauliflower Rice Salad
Discard the rosemary sprigs.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add shaved Brussels sprouts and cannellini beans.
Pour in the dressing and toss.
Place the cauliflower rice on a nice, flat platter and season with salt and pepper.
Pile the dressed Brussels sprouts and cannellini beans on top.
Season with salt and pepper again.
The gorgeous aromatic rosemary infuses the cannellini beans and when you mix it through the nutty flavours of the cauliflower, it makes for a super tasty salad! It’s a hearty enough salad to have as a meal on its own.
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Cauliflower Rice Salad with Cannellini Beans
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- Cut the cauliflower into florets and put into a food processor or hand blender. Blitz to a coarsely fine texture. Make enough to yield 3 cups.In a large fry pan or wok, dry fry the cauliflower rice for 2 minutes. This is to dry it out and cook it slightly, so it’s not entirely raw. Set aside.
- Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, shave the Brussels sprout. If you’re cutting it by hand, ensure they are very thin slices. Do not shave too much of the stem. We mainly want the leaves.
- In a small saucepan on medium heat, add 2 tsp of butter. Add 200 g of the cannellini beans and 3 sprigs of rosemary. Toss for about 2 minutes.
- In a small mixing bowl, add the olive oil, honey, apple cider vinegar and the juice of half a lemon.
- Mix until well combined.
- Discard the rosemary sprigs.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add shaved Brussels sprouts and cannellini beans.
- Pour in the dressing and toss.
- Place the cauliflower rice on a nice, flat platter and season with salt and pepper.
- Pile the dressed Brussels sprouts and cannellini beans on top.
- Season with salt and pepper again.
- Serve immediately.
- To make this recipe vegan friendly, substitute the honey with organic rice malt syrup or maple syrup and the butter with cooking oil of your choice.
- If you would like this to be warm, fry the cauliflower rice last and serve immediately.
- The skin of the cannellini beans will start to dry up and come away from the bean. Don’t be worried about that. The skin is delicious with the butter through it so serve as it is.
- If you’re not a fan of cannellini beans, substitute with Northern beans or even chickpeas.
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