Once you stock up on some essential spices, throwing together a last minute meal like this one becomes just too easy. A pulao (pronounced poo-laav) is a fancy word for a rice dish/pilaf. You will typically find an Indian pulao made with basmati or sometimes jasmine rice, but to paleoify this dish, of course I use cauliflower rice. Cauliflower to the rescue! You can throw in any sort of combination of vegetables and spices. For this dish, I use cabbage, zucchini, jalapeño, and onion. I always have these vegetables on hand. You could also use green beans, bell pepper, broccoli, etc. Whatever it is, just grab it and chop it and into the pan it goes!
Caramelizing the onions for the dish is the the most time-consuming part of the recipe, but it’s also the easiest part, because there’s not much to it. Throw them in a pan and let them cook. That’s it! Just stir the onions occasionally. You know, so they don’t feel lonely. I find that 20 minutes over medium heat works perfectly for a medium onion, but go longer or slower depending on the amount of caramelization you prefer. I grabbed a white onion for this recipe, but yellow or red is a-ok, too. An entire onion goes into this dish, because well, it’s delicious and onions just make everything better. It does add in some extra carbs, so adjust the amount of onion you use as necessary based on your preferred carb intake. If you’re in a crunch for time, you could skip the onions entirely (insert sad face here) or caramelize a huge batch of onions ahead of time and have them ready in the fridge for recipes.
While the onions caramelize, I prep the other veggies and tackle the ubiquitous pile of dishes in the kitchen sink. That’s multi-tasking! By the way, your kitchen should be smelling amazing at this point.
This pulao makes for a great side dish, or if you are looking for some one-stop shopping, throw in some cashews or almonds and you have a complete meal. It is fragrant and delicious, and don’t forget to top it with some herbacious goodness like cilantro and parsley.
Questions? Comments? Just want to say hi? Leave your words of wisdom below! Enjoy the recipe, and thanks for reading!
- 16 ounces frozen cauliflower
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- 1/2 cup diced carrots
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- 1 large jalapeño, deseeded and diced
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 3 black cardamom pods
- 3 cloves
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tbs olive oil
- Finely chopped cilantro and parsley, for garnish
- Microwave cauliflower for 8 minutes, let cool for 1-2 minutes, and then process in food processor. Set aside. Process cabbage until it is finely shredded. Set aside.
- Warm a pan over low-medium heat with 2 tbs olive oil. Once pan is hot, add cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, cardamom, and cloves. Stir around in pan for about 1 minute.
- Increase heat to medium and add diced onions. Let onions cook until they are brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic, carrots, zucchini, jalapeño, and remaining spices. Cook for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Stir pan occasionally.
- Add cabbage and riced cauliflower to pan and mix in gently. Cook for 5 minutes, occasionally stirring pan.
- Turn off heat and remove cinnamon stick, cloves, and cardamom pods from pan. Garnish with cilantro and parsley.