Turmeric Cauliflower Rice Pilaf

AIP Approved: Turmeric infused cauliflower rice mixed with pomegranate seeds and a hint of cinnamon and cloves.

A common complaint I hear when it comes to cooking dinner is what exactly to "pair" with the main dish.  Typically in the US, the meal is centered around a protein and everything else needs to fall in line. However, in my experience this doesn't allow for a lot of creativity when making quick, easy sides that are not only a crowd pleaser but also make sure you are filling the majority of your plate with vegetables.

My advice? Start with the sides, which is what I did with this Turmeric Cauliflower Rice Pilaf. Ready in less than 20 minutes and full of good for you, anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric and cinnamon, this side dish pairs perfectly with any protein and is grain-free, gluten-free AND vegan. Plus, by using cauliflower in "rice' form, you are already getting an extra serving of vegetables on your plate. 

The other great thing about this side dish is that it's a great substitute for the full Middle Eastern flavors I love but can't have right now while I am following the elimination phase of the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). Thankfully turmeric is allowed (and recommended!) but many of the other traditional spices like allspice, cumin and cardamom are not. 

I chose to use this as a base for sautéed spinach and this amazing Middle Eastern Glazed Chicken over at Autoimmune Wellness (by Alaena Haber).

Hope you give this recipe a try!

Turmeric Cauliflower Rice Pilaf

Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4-6 (as a side dish)


1/2 head (small of cauliflower), cut into florets 

1 tablespoon unrefined, virgin coconut oil (if you are not vegan can also use ghee or duck fat)

1/3 cup yellow onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon turmeric 

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 tablespoon coconut aminos

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt or sea salt

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped


1. Place cauliflower florets in your food processor and pulse until all of the florets are chopped into small, rice-like pieces. This will take about a minute or two and yield about 3 cups of cauliflower rice (depending on how big your cauliflower was). Make sure not to hold down the button as you don't want to puree the cauliflower.

2. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until softened. Add in the garlic, turmeric, cinnamon and ground cloves. Stir frequently so the garlic does not burn and let cook another 2 minutes.

3. Add cauliflower to the pan and continue to stir occasionally for about 5 more minutes before adding in the coconut aminos, salt and pomegranate seeds. Stir well to combine and cook an additional minute.

4. Turn the heat off and transfer to serving platter. 

5. Garnish with parsley and enjoy!