Food Story: Willow & Secret Ingredient Asian Stir-Fry – fool me once, fool me rice…

Willow is the June winner of the Food Stories Award for Excellence in Storytelling. She’s been blogging for just a year now, and considers herself an adventurer in the land of food – join her at her blog,

Cauliflower Stir Fry - Will Cook for Friends Follow Me on Pinterest

Secret Ingredient Asian Stir Fry – Will Cook for Friends

I’m not entirely sure how I came to earn this award, but I am certainly honored. Of all the things I could be praised for as a food blogger – the food, the photos, the use of ingredients – being acknowledged for storytelling means the most to me. As a youngin’, my heart was always set on writing… I was constantly lost in some story, or off in some fantasy world, slaying dragons and the like. Writing, however, doesn’t fill my belly. And filling my belly, my friends, is another thing I’ve always been fond of.

Thus was born, the food blog. That’s how it started – just me and my spatula, on a mission to feed the beast that is my appetite. Willow Arlen, culinary adventurer! As an amateur photographer on the side, it was like my three favorite things all rolled into one.

Along my foodie adventure, I’ve made a lot of friends. To me, that’s been the best part of the whole experience… discovering that there are so many people who take joy in the same things I do. Food, as with storytelling, is about so much more than just a recipe, or a formula… it’s about connecting through shared experience, and bringing people together.

So gather ‘round the table, friends – dinner is served!

Cauliflower Stir Fry - Will Cook for Friends Follow Me on Pinterest

Cauliflower Stir Fry – Will Cook for Friends

This may look like a simple rice stir-fry, but there’s something a little different this time. Can you see what it is? There isn’t any rice in it. This dish is entirely grain free. I know it, I know… it looks like rice… but really, it’s a vegetable in disguise. I recently discovered that cauliflower makes a quite a convincing substitute to grains… and while I don’t have any personal grudge against good ol’ rice, I’m quite taken with it!

First, a disclaimer – no, you will probably not fool your guests once they start eating it… but you will impress them! And also, omitting the rice leaves this dish a little light. If you plan to make it as a meal, I suggest serving with your favorite protein to beef it up a little.

Cauliflower Stir Fry - Will Cook for Friends Follow Me on Pinterest

Cauliflower Stir Fry – Will Cook for Friends

Cauliflower Stir Fry

Grain-free, gluten-free, optionally vegan – serves 3-4. Recipe by Willow from Will Cook for Friends (


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin coconut oil, or olive oil
  • 2 TBSP toasted sesame oil
  • ½ large yellow onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 head broccoli, cut small
  • 2-3 large carrots, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas
  • ½ cup sweet green peas
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
  • 3-4 TBSP tamari, to taste
  • Sriracha or cayenne pepper, to taste - optional
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish - optional
  • Protein of choice – tofu, tempeh, shrimp, chicken, etc. – optional


  1. Quarter the cauliflower, and remove the stem/leaves. Cut it smaller if necessary, and pulse in your food processor until the pieces are about the size of short-grain rice. If you have a small food processor like I do, you may have to do this in a few batches. Set the cauliflower ‘rice’ aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the coconut oil. Sauté the onion and garlic for 1-2 minutes, or until softened slightly. Add the remaining vegetables, ginger, and 2 TBSP of tamari. Cook until the liquid has mostly evaporated, about 1 minute.
  3. Add in the toasted sesame oil, and dump in the cauliflower ‘rice’. Stir to combine, and add an additional 1-2 TBSP of tamari to taste. If you like a little heat, stir in some sriracha or cayenne pepper. Let cook for 1-2 minutes more.
  4. Remove from heat, and garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Serve with your favorite protein, and enjoy!

Recipe note: as with any good stir-fry, feel free to mix up the veggies any way you like. Use up whatever’s on hand, or throw in something you especially like.

Cauliflower Stir Fry - Will Cook for Friends Follow Me on Pinterest

Cauliflower Stir Fry – Will Cook for Friends

Willow did a great job on this post, just as she does on her own blog which is why she won the Food Stories Award for Excellence in Storytelling. Thanks, Willow! You can follow her at her blog, on Twitter or on Facebook.

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What do you think?

  1. The stir fry looks delicious!
    Asmita recently posted … Raspberry Orange TrifleMy Profile

  2. These pics look amazing. I have never heard of using cauliflower in this way.

  3. That’s a great idea. Thanks.
    Joy recently posted … Your Questions About Healthy Diet PillsMy Profile

  4. Indeed a delectable stir-fry!
    Angie recently posted … Rolled Spelt Flakes Cheddar CrackersMy Profile

  5. Congratulations Willow!! Your stir fry looks amazing! Think I’ll give it a try with shrimp!

  6. This looks yummy, trying to catch up on all your new blog posts!

  7. Looks amazing. Congrats to Willow!
    Christine recently posted … Italian Sausage RiceMy Profile

  8. Well, you certainly fooled me! I could have sworn it had rice. What a healthy and tasty bowl of goodness! Love this! Congratulations on being the Food Story winner!!!!!
    mjskit recently posted … Cantaloupe Walnut Salad with Lime DressingMy Profile

  9. Yay for Willow so deserving :D
    And this post was awesome my friend! Delicious and with a funny title :)

    Choc Chip Uru
    Choc Chip Uru recently posted … Wishing For SpringMy Profile

  10. Wow, does this look outstanding! Congrats to Willow!!!!

  11. I love the photos!! It looks great :)
    Erin {Recimplicity} recently posted … Recent Finds and FavesMy Profile

  12. I’m so trying this! I snuck cauliflower into a Fritatta the other night and ALMOST made it to clean plates undiscovered….. even discovered it was eaten though!
    Heidi recently posted … Thirsty Thursday and an awesome ShandyMy Profile

  13. Congratulations to Willow! I love her blog and the dish looks delicious too!
    DB-The Foodie Stuntman recently posted … Tomatillo Shrimp Ceviche Soft TacosMy Profile

  14. Just gorgeous and I feel healthier just reading it. Beautiful post, and once again, congrats Willow!!
    Jen recently posted … Bacon Onion Balsamic Jam…It’s My New Jam!My Profile

  15. Shut the front door, I can’t believe that’s not rice. It’s like magic. Yer a wizard, Willow.
    Kim recently posted … Cinnamon Roll Ice CreamMy Profile

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