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Hemp & Goji “Rice” Salad

October 26, 2014

Cauliflower "rice" salad

Cauliflower “rice” salad

Now you know when I say ‘rice’, I don’t mean ‘rice’, right?! Now that Summer is descending and the barbeque season is about to start, I thought another “rice” salad was in order. Of course, I mean cauliflower rice to those uninitiated!

By the way, have you tried goji berries?

I never really got on the goji berry bandwagon. I tried some, many years ago and thought they tasted bitter and chewy. I guess I was expecting something sweeter. They were hailed as last year’s “superfood” and have been touted as being able to cure everything from diabetes to hypertension to obesity, and everything in between, but there really isn’t any concrete evidence to these claims.

The goji berry, also known as the wolfberry, is a member of the nightshade family. They have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and I know that you can buy them for a fraction of the cost in Chinese grocers rather than your local health food store where they can cost up to $60 per kilo!

Goji berries are commonly eaten dried but can also be eaten raw or cooked, and are used in herbal teas, “health” bars, juices, and medicines. The main benefit of goji berries is specifically that they contain powerful anti-oxidants which may help protect the body against oxidative damage. They also are rich in vitamin A, which confers with health benefits regarding immune support and skin damage.

If you have pollen allergies you may want to stay away from this fruit, although I suffer from pretty bad seasonal hay fever and I have never had a problem. There are case reports that have linked goji berry consumption with skin photo-sensitivity, causing a skin rash on exposure to sunlight. Goji berries may also interact with diabetes and blood pressure medicines, so check with your pharmacist about possible interactions. Despite this they do have nutritional benefit but not enough to justify the price, I reckon, but I’m not a nutritionist. Get yours at the Asian grocer!

I like the idea that these berries are not too sweet and have an almost savoury or herbal flavour. And I also like the colour in this otherwise brown salad. If you don’t have any on hand, substitute the goji with currants – I think cranberries would be too overpowering and sweet.

Traditionally this recipe is made with brown rice which lends a lovely nutty flavour with plenty of bite but I tweaked a few things and added some toasted hemp seeds which do a good job of providing crunch. You could also use them raw if you prefer.

A great ‘do-ahead’ salad, this improves overnight so if you have an after-work barbeque, it’s safe to make the night before. Just don’t add the hemp seeds or the macadamias until just before serving.

600g cauliflower, chopped
1 knob fresh ginger (about 2 cm)
1 clove garlic
90g olive oil
2 tabs tamari or soy
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tab honey
1/2 teas salt
3 tabs chopped parsley
2 tabs chives, sliced
4 tabs hemp seeds, lightly toasted
75g green capsicum, finely diced
1 rib celery, finely diced
30g goji berries
40g toasted macadamia nuts, chopped
Prepare the cauliflower by chopping on SP 4 until resembling rice size pieces. Add 100g water and cook on100ºC for 7 minutes.Drain well.

Chop the garlic & ginger on SP 9 for 10 seconds. Add the olive oil, tamari, lemon juice, honey & salt and blend on SP 5 for 10 seconds.  In a wide bowl, mix together the warm cauliflower, dressing & goji berries to absorb for at least 20 minutes.

Assemble the salad with the celery, capsicum, herbs and just before serving, stir though the hemp seeds and macadamia nuts.

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