[Photograph: Henry Fong]

What did a rice-lover like Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo do to satisfy the craving once she switched to a Paleo (a.k.a. rice-free) diet? Started making rice from cauliflower, of course. Okay, perhaps cauliflower "rice" is not an obvious choice to anyone unfamiliar with the Paleo diet, but the bright white vegetable makes for a texturally similar dish to rice once spun around in a food processor for a few minutes. The flavor won't fool anyone, but cauliflower "rice" does indeed work as a substitute in many rice-based dishes.

Take, for example, Tam's fried "rice" in her new cookbook. Steamed and tossed with vegetables, bacon, eggs, and a Paleo-friendly blend of fish sauce, coconut aminos, and vinegar, the cauliflower soaks up the salty sauce and meshes with the vegetables in a way that rice rarely does.

Why I picked this recipe: I had never considered making cauliflower "rice" before opening this book. Adding the flavors of fried rice seemed like a good way to introduce this Paleo staple.

What worked: I was surprised to find out that I actually really liked this dish. While the final dish had a texture more like couscous than fried rice, the flavors were totally balanced and ultimately very satisfying.

What didn't: Be sure to stop processing the cauliflower before it reaches couscous size. Think long-grain rice. You may also need to process in it in batches if you don't have a mammoth food processor.

Suggested tweaks: I cooked the eggs in a separate nonstick skillet, knowing that my large stainless skillet would be no match for the sticking power of scrambled eggs (no matter how much bacon grease I used). If you're not following a strict Paleo diet, you could use soy sauce and rice vinegar in place of the coconut aminos and coconut vinegar. Paleo-friendly fish sauce is any brand that contains only anchovies and salt (Red Boat is Tam's choice).

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Nom Nom Paleo to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. She blogs at Cooking Wolves. Follow her @KateHWiliams.


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