Spring is here, and in North Carolina that means one thing–the return of the dastardly yellow pine pollen. It coats everything in its smothering path. Cars. Sidewalks. Window screens. Our cat. When we finally have rain, the roads feature yellow rivers of stormwater. Lakes start to resemble chemical waste spill sites. Our dog (a hound mix) lives for sniffing everything, so she spends about a quarter of her waking hours sneezing. In my book, there is little to celebrate about this crazy tree sex business. Except aspargus.
Yellow pine pollen season, while annoying, is a visual marker of the seasonal change from winter to spring. It also means fresh, local asparagus is due at the farmer’s markets, and that is definitely something to celebrate. I love fresh asparagus in stir fry, steamed or sauteed. But my favorite way to eat asparagus is to roast the spears with a little olive oil and salt. Simple and easy. If we eat outside on the deck, they also get a slight dusting of pollen, but we won’t complain.
This bowl meal is easy to put together and is really delicious. If you haven’t tried making cauliflower rice, give it a go–it is very easy and a great, grain-free substitute for rice. The eggs give this dish some needed protein, but you could replace them with sautéed tofu for a vegan meal as well. We are hearty eaters, so this recipe fed two of us, but you could add more vegetables and stretch it out to four servings (it could also serve four if you have lighter appetites than we have!).
Spring is here! Clean off the deck furniture, wash off the pollen and enjoy a fresh season of delicious fruits and vegetables!
Asparagus and Cauliflower Rice Bowl
Serves two hungry adults
1 bunch fresh asparagus
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 head of cauliflower
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or other vegetable oil)
1/2 onion, peeled and chopped
4 farm eggs
1 tablespoon coconut oil
4 tablespoons homemade vinaigrette dressing
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Trim the asparagus stem ends, removing the tough bottom 2 inches, if necessary. Add asparagus to the baking sheet.
Add the cut bell pepper to the baking sheet.
Toss the asparagus and pepper with the olive oil, salt and pepper and arrange vegetables in an even layer.
Roast vegetables for about 10 minutes or until your desired level of roasting.
While vegetables are roasting, wash the cauliflower and trim the florets of the stem and leaves.
Add cauliflower florets to the bowl of a food processor (you may need to do this in two batches).
Process the florets on low until the cauliflower is in rice-sized pieces (about 30 seconds or so).
Heat he coconut oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and cook for 7-8 minutes or until the cauliflower is cooked and slightly soft, but not mushy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and keep warm.
Remove vegetables from the oven and keep warm.
In a small skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil and cook the eggs until your desired doneness (I like the yolks to be a bit runny).
Assemble your bowls by dividing up your cauliflower rice, topping that with the asparagus and peppers, and topping all of that with the eggs.
Drizzle the bowls with the dressing and a bit of grated cheese.