Cauliflower Arroz Con Pollo is definitely a healthy modern take on traditional Cuban food.
Traditional Cuban food is a lot of things. It is delicious, savory and flavorful on top of so many other things, but what doesn’t come to mind is healthy. However, Cuban food can be healthy with just a few substitutions of ingredients. Healthy Cuban recipes are actually easier to find and make than you would think.
So how do you transform a Traditional Cuban Recipe like Arroz Con Pollo, one that is special and big enough for a Sunday night meal into a healthy Cuban weekday recipe that is packed with vegetables and half the the calories? It’s easy- we sub the arroz in arroz con pollo for Cauliflower and use boneless cuts of chicken.
This leaves you with the same big flavors you would find in the usual Arroz Con Pollo Recipe, but a lot healthier and lighter. Cauliflower “arroz” con Pollo has a lot less calories and takes a lot less time than the OG dish.
Riced cauliflower (which you can even sub for riced butternut squash) are the perfect base for Cauliflower “Arroz” con Pollo. Riced veggies take on whatever flavor you add to them and this dish is no stranger to flavor. The chicken braises in a sofrito and then the riced veggie is incorporated soaking up everything that’s around it. The colors and flavors of cauliflower “arroz” con pollo are so delicious, you may not even notice you are missing the rice.
Some Tips to Making Cauliflower Arroz Con Pollo
Like our traditional Arroz Con Pollo Recipe, this one is moist and served “a la chorrera” style, which means it’s soupy and very moist. We listed 3-4 cups of broth in the recipe list, so that you can adjust the liquid according to your preference.
Under no circumstance are you to just pour frozen cauliflower rice over the braised chicken. While his seems like a good quick way to get the meal on the table, you will end up with watery soup! The cauliflower rice, will let out water, and if you don’t cook it on high enough heat, the water will not evaporate and you will end up with an off tasting soup. You must cook the cauliflower or butternut squash separately before adding it in.
Make extra, even if you think it’s too much. It’s one of those that is great for leftovers because it will taste just as good or even better the next day. You will be the envy of the lunch room with these leftovers.
Caulifower Con PolloCourse: EntreeCuisine: Cuban AmericanDifficulty: Easy
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut crosswise into 3 even pieces (It will be about 1 ½ pounds)
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, each cut in half (It will be about 2 pounds)
2 large onions, chopped
5 bell peppers, I like using a combination of red, orange, yellow, poblano and cubanelle
8 cloves of garlic, finely minced
40 ounces of riced frozen cauliflower or butternut squash, thawed
1 ½ cups of vino seco, I like the brand Artañan. If you can’t find this brand a dry white wine will work too.
3 to 4 cups of chicken bone broth
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of bijol
2 tablespoons of Sazon
2 -4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup of extra Virgin olive oil (I like carbonell and colavita), plus 4 tablespoons
1 cup of frozen peas
2 oz jarred piquillo peppers, sliced, well rinsed and dried
4 tablespoons of green olives, I like manzanilla or pitted castelvetrano olives (add in a little bit of brine too)
1/8 cup parsley, chopped
Lime wedges for serving
- In a large pot place the riced cauliflower. (we used a combination of riced cauliflower and riced butternut squash for this one.) Turn the heat to high. Add 3 tablespoons of oil, bijol and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Cook it on high so the cauliflower begins to take on the flavors and dries out. This will help it absorb the sauce later on in the recipe.
- Place chicken on a sheet tray and dry the chicken well with a paper towel. Drizzle the chicken with 1/8 cup of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
- In a LARGE non-stick or ceramic skillet heat to medium high. In batches, sear the chicken on both sides evenly for 5 minutes on each side until they are golden brown and place on a plate. Finish searing all the chicken. Set aside.
- Now it is time to build your sofrito. In that same pan (without cleaning!!!) add the remaining olive oil with the onions, peppers, salt, pepper and sazón and cook until tender. Then add garlic and cook until slightly golden.
- Once the veggies are nice and cooked, add tomato paste, vino seco, 2 ½ cups of broth. Mix well, and return chicken to the pan along with all of the juices that came out of the chicken. Bring to a boil on high cook for 10 minutes.
- After about 10 minutes, lower heat to medium low and cook for about 30 minutes covered.
- After about 30 minutes, the chicken should be tender to the touch. You can pull it out onto a plate and break it up with tongs to shred slightly. Don’t over shred. It will break apart as it sits.
Taste for salt and pepper and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Once the chicken is tender, raise heat to high to get to a boil, add another cup of broth and the riced cauliflower. Gently mix together. Cook on high for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom.
- After the 5 minutes, it should be “a la chorrera” style which means there should be liquid at the bottom of the pan. Add the olives, peas, piquillo peppers and parsley. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Serve immediately so it can be served “a la chorrera.” If you want to make it more soupy then add another 1/2 cup of broth or water. Serve with a squeeze of lime and more p