Vibrant, nourishing, and packed with umami flavors, Thai Vegetable Cauliflower Fried Rice with Cashews comes together with ease and makes a hearty Thai inspired vegetarian dinner. Top this cauliflower rice stir fry with an optional fried egg or prepared tofu to stretch this main further. This recipe is vegan, vegetarian and gluten free.
Have you tried Cauliflower Rice?
Being that cauliflower is one of my most favorite vegetables, I knew I’d be a fan long before I tried it. Cauliflower’s versatility is endless. I find it steps in fabulously on the plant based table for things like shrimp, scallops and fish, and even steak (my dad would roll his eyes). But rice…. who knew?
It’s super simple to create cauliflower rice too. All you need is a food processor to break the cauliflower down into little rice bits, then it’s ready to use in a recipe.
For cauliflower fried rice, I prefer to rice my own cauliflower as opposed to buying it pre-riced. Those little cauliflower bits are a sort of a mess, but here’s why I DIY cauliflower rice:
- I can buy whole cauliflower from local farms and co-op when in season
- It’s more cost effective than buying previously frozen riced cauliflower, less package waste too
- It takes just a few minutes and a bit of clean up to create fresh cauliflower rice
How to Make Thai Vegetable Cauliflower Fried Rice with Cashews
This cauliflower rice stir fry is simple to make. Just be sure to have all the ingredients prepped before turning on the heat.
- In your largest nonstick pan, wok or Dutch oven, start with a bit of toasted sesame oil, then stir-fry the onions, mushrooms and bell pepper.
- Next, add the fresh garlic and ginger – take a long breathe in; ahhhh can you smell that (!!) then deglaze the pan with Tamari and Liquid Aminos (this keeps the cauliflower fried rice plant based).
- Spoon in the cauliflower rice, toss in the broccoli florets and after a brief stir fry, add the snow/snap peas, cashews and basil.
- Last, adjust the seasonings to taste and dinner is done!
Have some of those umami building toppings to add to each heaped bowl of cauliflower fried rice like sesame seeds, Tamari, more cashews and Thai basil, green onions and lime.
A Few Recipe Notes for Cauliflower Fried Rice
- Be sure to have all your ingredients prepped and ready to make cauliflower fried rice before turning on the stove. The veggies cook super fast and over-cooking can result in mushy veggies. We’re going for tender crisp veggies.
- For meal prep, rice the cauliflower a few days ahead and store in a lidded container in the fridge until ready to use. I didn’t prefer the results of pre-frozen cauliflower.
- No need for wringing or drying out the cauliflower before using it. Just rice it and it’s ready to go.
- Freezer friendly? I wouldn’t recommend it. The veggies are best just after cooking or gently reheated the day after.
- There are many ways to change-up this cauliflower stir fry using veggies on hand or those that are in season. I love adding a cup of shredded cabbage in place of broccoli or frozen peas in place of snow or snap peas… bean sprouts, carrots…
- Don’t throw out those broccoli stems! Shred it in a food processor and include it in cole slaw or broccoli slaw.
- Liquid Aminos: I use it in place of fish/oyster sauce in my Asian cooking. It tastes similar to Tamari, but perhaps teases out more of that umami flavor in Thai recipes without using fish/oyster sauce.
- Cauliflower fried rice is vegetarian and vegan friendly; a fried egg or prepared tofu is a delicious addition to this recipe.
- Looking for more information on cauliflower rice? Denise has a How to Make Cauliflower Rice tutorial.
More Cauliflower Recipes to Love:
- Roasted Cauliflower Tinga Tacos
- Roasted Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
- Harissa Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Coconut Sauce – from Floating Kitchen
- Cauliflower Potato Red Lentil Curry
- Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad – from The Beach House Kitchen
Thai Vegetable Cauliflower Fried Rice with Cashews
- 1 C (145g) Raw Cashews
- 1 1/2 lb (680g) Cauliflower
- 4 Tbs Toasted Sesame Oil
- 1 1/2 C (150g) Purple Onion Medium dice, about 1 medium onion
- 5 oz (135g) Shiitake Mushrooms stems removed, sliced thin
- 1 C (250g) Red Bell Pepper medium dice, about 1 medium bell
- 1 Tbs Fresh Garlic microplained
- 1 Tbs Fresh Ginger microplained
- 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes this is about a spicy 2 - increase to 1/2 tsp for spicy 4
- 1 Tbs Brown Sugar
- 3 Tbs Tamari divided
- 1 1/2 Tbs Liquid Aminos* see note - or more tamari
- 3 C (250g) Broccoli Florets cut into bite size pieces, don't throw out the stems! see notes
- 6 oz (180g) Snow or Sugar Snap Peas sliced on the bias into bite size pieces
- 1 Tbs Thai Basil chopped - cilantro is fabulous too
Serve With (optional):
- Lime, Sesame Seeds, Thai Basil or Cilantro, Green Onions Sliced Thin, Sriracha
- Fried Egg or Prepared Tofu on the top!
- For the Cashews: Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Place the cashews in a baking pan and bake for about 12-14 minutes until fragrant and golden. Set aside to cool. Rough chop.
- For the Cauliflower: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the S blade, and working in batches, add about 1/2 the head of cauliflower in large chunks. Pulse 8-10 times to break the cauliflower down into 'rice'. Scrape the work bowl down as needed. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- To Make The Cauliflower Fried Rice: In a large Dutch oven, add the sesame oil and heat until shimmering. To test to see if the oil is hot enough, toss in a piece of onion. If it starts frying, it's ready! Add the onions and saute for two minutes on medium heat. To the onions, add the mushrooms and stir fry for two minutes. Add the bell peppers to the onions and mushrooms and stir fry for two more minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes to the vegetable mixture and saute for one minute on medium-low. The garlic and ginger will start sticking to the bottom of the pan.. Add two Tbs Tamari, Liquid Aminos (or more Tamari) and sugar, stir to deglaze while scraping the garlic and ginger off the bottom. To the Dutch oven, spoon in the cauliflower rice and broccoli. Stir fry for about three to four minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan as needed, until all the cauliflower rice is coated with the oil, the broccoli is tender and the veggies are evenly distributed. During the last minute of cooking, stir in the snow or snap peas, stir to warm through for about a minute. Keep an eye on it at this point because the veggies can go from tender crisp to mush quickly. You may notice a bit of moisture form in the bottom of the Dutch oven. This is normal and it typically tends to steam off as the recipe cools.
- Work quickly here because the 'rice' is still cooking at this point. Remove from heat and stir in about one Tbs of chopped Thai basil. Taste the rice for seasoning adjustment, adding one more tablespoons of Tamari (or more) if desired. This will also help deglaze the Dutch oven. Squeeze in 1/2 lime juice and stir in the cashews and fresh basil or cilantro. Add more herbs to taste. Serve immediately.
- Spoon the Fried Cauliflower Rice into big bowls, sprinkle or serve with green onions, sesame seeds, more herbs and lime wedges. If serving with tofu or fried eggs, add to the bowls now. For those that love even more spicy, serve with Sriracha.
- Store in a lidded container for up to three days in the refrigerator. This recipe does not freeze well.