Real Food Whole Life

Thai Basil Beef and Cauliflower Rice Bowls

RecipesRobyn Downs4 Comments

Fresh Thai flavors combine in Thai Basil Beef and Cauliflower Rice Bowls, a simple, gluten- and grain-free weeknight recipe.

Fresh Thai flavors combine in Thai Basil Beef and Cauliflower Rice Bowls, a simple, gluten- and grain-free weeknight recipe.

Have you guys tried cauliflower rice yet?

I'll admit, it was one of those things I was skeptical to try at first. I mean, how could cauliflower possibly stand in for rice?

I'll tell you though, I'm glad I gave it a try because it really is an amazing alternative to rice. It's perfect if you follow a paleo or grain-free diet, or if you're watching your carbs.

I like it simply because it's another way to add veggies to your plate and because it just tastes so darn good. I swear. Try it. I think you'll like it. 

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I've been making a version of this Thai Basil Beef for years as a weeknight standby and realized recently that I hadn't yet shared it here. It's one of my favorite ways to use ground, grass-fed beef, and the sweet-salty-sour flavor combo really can't be beat.

If you've followed along with the blog at all, you know I try really hard not to write recipes that contain esoteric or hard to find ingredients, and have done my best to keep this one to the absolute essentials.

You will find fish sauce on the list, which is generally available at most grocery stores these days. It doesn't add a fishy taste to the final dish, rather it imparts that unmistakable Thai flavor that you just can't get from anything else.

If you can't find or don't want to use fish sauce, though, gluten-free tamari can be used in its place, or even soy sauce in a pinch. The final dish won't taste quite the same, but it will still be super tasty.

The results of this one will remind you of your favorite Thai takeout, only fresher and a bit lighter with the addition of the cauliflower rice. I hope you'll give it a try soon. Now, let's make some Thai Basil Beef and Cauliflower Rice Bowls!

Fresh Thai flavors combine in Thai Basil Beef and Cauliflower Rice Bowls, a simple, gluten- and grain-free weeknight recipe.

RECIPE & KID-FRIENDLY ADAPTATIONS


1 | If you don't feel like making the cauliflower rice, substitute cooked brown or white rice, or quinoa.

2 | Look for fish sauce on the Asian or ethnic foods aisle of your grocery store, near the soy sauce. It adds a very distinctive Thai flavor, but if you don't want to buy a bottle, use 2-3 tablespoons gluten-free tamari in its place. 

3 | If you're feeding resistant eaters, pull aside some of the cooked ground beef prior to adding the fish sauce, honey, lime juice and basil, and serve it plain on the side of the cauliflower rice or regular rice.

4 | Freshly grated carrots do a much better job of soaking up the quick pickling marinade, but if you don't have time, pre-crated carrots will also work.


THIS RECIPE IS . . .


Naturally Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Grain-Free, and Paleo Friendly


Fresh Thai flavors combine in Thai Basil Beef and Cauliflower Rice Bowls, a simple, gluten- and grain-free weeknight recipe.

Thai Basil Beef and Cauliflower Rice Bowls

Ingredients

For the Beef

2 teaspoons coconut oil

4 garlic cloves, minced or finely grated

1 pound lean ground beef, grass-fed if possible

2 tablespoons lime juice (from about 1 lime)

1 teaspoon raw honey

3 teaspoons fish sauce

1 cup loosely packed basil

For the Cauliflower Rice

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 head medium cauliflower, riced*

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Zest and juice of 1 lime

For the Quick Pickled Carrots

2 tablespoons lime juice (from about 1 lime)

1 teaspoon raw honey

¼ teaspoon salt

2 carrots, shredded or grated

2 green onions, thinly sliced

Hot sauce (optional)

Instructions

1. Heat 2 teaspoons coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds, stirring frequently until lightly golden brown.

2. Add the beef, stirring to break into chunks. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and just cooked through, about 5-8 minutes. Turn the heat to low, then add 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 teaspoon honey and the fish sauce, stirring to combine. Turn off the heat, then add the basil and stir again. Remove from beef mixture from the pan and set aside.

3. To the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil over medium heat. Add the cauliflower, ¼ teaspoon salt, and lime zest. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is tender and lightly  browned, about 5-8 minutes. Turn off the heat, add 2 tablespoons lime juice, then stir to combine.

4. Meanwhile, make the sauce for the Pickled Carrots by whisking together 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 teaspoon honey, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Add the carrots and green onions, tossing to combine.

5. To make assemble, divide the cauliflower rice between 4 bowls. Top with the beef and Pickled Carrots. Top with hot sauce if you like.

*Make the cauliflower rice by cutting the cauliflower into large pieces. Pulse the pieces in a food processor into very small pieces, about the size of rice. Alternatively, grate the cauliflower using the large holes on a box grater.

Inspired by Shutterbean Thai Beef with Basil

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