Pink (Beet) Cauliflower Rice (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Before this month, I've never officially lived alone. My most recent roommate just moved away to New York and the new one I had lined up for the month of March fell through at the last minute. I endured a fair amount of stress during the first week of the month. Rent was due, the roommate search was on, and my apartment became a spacious wood-floored rectangle empty enough to rollerblade in. 

I moved to Los Angeles a little over a year ago with nothing but a suitcase of clothing, my macbook, and a yoga mat. I believe I've spoken before about the nights I spent on different couches until I was lucky enough to obtain the perfect two bedroom, two bathroom apartment. Moving into a place of my own after living in approximately ten different rooms over the course of six months felt so much like a dream that I needed to pinch myself to make sure it was real. 

The day my roommate and I signed the lease and received our keys, I slept over a few layers of blankets on the hardwood floor in my new bedroom. The utilities weren't quite in check, so this was also the night that I realized how cold California can feel during the winter. It was a miracle I didn't catch a cold from that shivery night of restlessness. 

I spent a week living on a bed of blankets. I ate cereal from my one bowl with a spoon I picked up from the thrift store after a busy day of washing dishes at work. Hilariously enough, my yoga mat doubled as a dining table and sofa. I wasn't broke in the least; I just didn't know where to start.

One month later, I was hanging curtains in a room fit with a bed, a desk, and a cute n' cozy rug. The kitchen was stocked with enough equipment to expand my diet from bran flake cereal to cooked vegetables. There was even a dining table to sit at while I ate. It was glorious. I spent a year living comfortably as a successful young adult in the city. 

Photo by Janée Green
On March 1st, I unlocked the door after a day of work to find much the apartment cleaned out of furniture, decor, and a roommate. Her set of keys still rests in the same spot as they did sixteen days ago when I was frantic about a roommate mishap. At the time, I was experiencing a relapse of feelings encased around the idea of starting from scratch with a bowl of cereal for dinner while sitting criss-cross applesauce on my yoga mat table. 

Fresh starts seem to be a recurring theme in my life. The good news is, I didn't have to sleep on a floor this time around (it's funny how many of my new beginnings have gone that way). I turned myself around from this one pretty quickly. I wrote an insane list of things I needed right away, things I should buy soon, and things I wanted, but could wait to buy. Again, I'm not broke, so I'm trying hard to live stress-free through my current situation.

The good news is that I found a new friend to live with come April. Until then, I'm allowing myself to experience the joys of living alone for a month. Y'know, like walking around in my underwear and playing loud music while I cook late at night. I've also felt freedom in making the apartment my own (finally) by hanging some of my own artwork and allowing the items I hid in my storage cabinet to see the light.

I was able to rearrange my kitchen to reveal a pretty little white space adjacent to the window, which now allows me to style my food photos similarly to this beet cauliflower rice. This style is new to me, so I'm excited to see how I'll adapt to using this new photo spot!

I'm also happy to bring you a new playlist perfect for singing and dancing along to in your undies while alone in your kitchen cooking cauliflower rice before work (c'mon, you know I'm not the only one who does this). 

Also, because I haven't posted enough about beets this year, I'm adding beet cauliflower rice to my small list of savory recipes. Cauliflower rice can be purchased in a bag near the packaged lettuce. I usually buy mine from Trader Joe's. You can also follow Minimalist Baker's directions on how to turn a head of cauliflower into rice using a box grater or food processor. 

This recipe is extremely simple and beautifully delicious. Perfect for a springtime lunch or the moments when you feel inspired to start fresh.

Pink (Beet) Cauliflower Rice 
Vegan, Gluten-Free
Yield: 3-4 servings

- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups cauliflower "rice"
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
- 1 cooked beet, diced
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 3 stems kale, de-stemmed and chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
- nutritional yeast for topping

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large rimmed sauté pan. Add the cauliflower rice and stir to coat. Place a lid over the pan and lower the heat down to let steam. 
  2. In a separate, medium sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the fresh onion and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until onions brown slightly. Add the chickpeas, chopped beets, and carrots. Continue to cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until vegetables are cooked and tender.
  3. Add the sautéed vegetables, chopped kale, rosemary to the cauliflower rice and stir. Watch as the beets turn the cauliflower pink, it's beautiful. 
  4. To serve, spoon the cauliflower rice into a bowl and sprinkle with nutritional yeast. 

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Maira Gall