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The best cauliflower rice starts by pulsing chunks of the vegetable to bits in a food processor. It’s quick and easy to do, and the “rice” has fresher flavor and better texture (because the pieces are more even in size) than store-bought fresh or frozen riced cauliflower. For this side dish, we took inspiration from Mexican arroz rojo, which cooks rice in a puree of tomatoes and aromatics plus chicken broth, ingredients that supply hearty, satisfying flavor. Since cauliflower rice doesn’t require liquid for cooking, we depend on umami-rich tomato paste plus a few spices to add savoriness and depth. Peas, a common addition in Mexican rice, add sweetness and pops of color. We add cilantro for fresh, herbal notes.
pound head cauliflower, trimmed and chopped into 1- to 1½-inch chunks
tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
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