Growing up in the south, soul food was a regular staple in my house, especially on Sundays and holidays. One of my favorite dishes was/is dirty rice. It’s a cajun rice dish of meat and rice and peppers. While it sounds pretty basic, the flavor is anything but.
It’s not uncommon to see variations of the recipe with different types of meat and sausage; however, the most common ingredient is ground/chopped liver. I’ll make a “wild” assumption in that most of us are not fans of liver – it has a very harsh gamey taste that’s not pleasing to most palates. You’ve really got to pair liver with other foods in order to enjoy it. Dirty rice is one of those dishes that’ll make you LOVE liver.
The spicy creole seasoning, the savory broth and herbs give this dish – and your tastebuds – new life. For my meal prep version, I’m taking out the liver and just using ground beef and making our own creole seasoning, which is a distinct characteristic of cajun recipes. It may not be as good as the kind that I had growing up – it’s impossible to compete with my Aunt Annie’s dirty rice recipe – but this version is tasty and nutritious.
I suggest pairing it with a sweet side dish – such as my maple roasted carrots – since it is such a spicy and savory dish.
HEALTHY DIRTY RICE RECIPE
Ingredients for 4 large servings:
- 24oz (1lb 8oz) raw cauliflower florets
- 24oz 90% lean ground beef
- Substitutes: fatty meat to make this recipe more ketogenic-friendly; or leaner meat to reduce calories; veggie ground
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 small red onion, diced
- Creole Seasonings:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons creole seasoning
- OR the following:
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
- 2 teaspoons cracked pepper
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
- 1 1/2 cup beef stock
- Substitute: veggies stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 sage leaves, fresh
- spray olive oil
- Place raw cauliflower florets in a food processor or blender and pulse blend to create rice-like chunks. Careful not to overdo it and create “quinoa-like” pieces where it is too fine. Set the cauliflower rice aside. Note: usually when I create cauliflower rice, I like to dry out of the cauliflower rice by wrapping it in a thin towel or cheesecloth and squeezing the moisture into a bowl. This prevents the final product from being watery and runny. However, since we’ll be adding broth to this recipe and lightly cooking the cauliflower, it is not needed.
- Set a nonstick pot on medium heat, spray with olive oil and add garlic and ground meat. Chop and cook until the meat is about 90% finished with only a few visible pink pieces, about 5 minutes.
- Add in the bell pepper, celery and red onion and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the seasonings – either Creole or individual – and season to taste with sea salt & pepper. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes, then add in the Worcestershire, only 1 cup beef stock, bay leaves and sage. Stir, bring it to a light simmer on low heat, then cover and cook for about 15 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower rice and stir the ingredients together. If there is enough liquid in the pot after rice has been added, then cover and cook for an additional 8 to 10 minutes. If not, add the remaining stock, then cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Season to taste with sea salt & pepper and enjoy.
Approximate macros for 1 of 4 large servings WITHOUT the maple candied carrots:
364 calories, 13g carbohydrates, 17g fat, 38g protein, 6g fiber, 6g sugar