People often ask how to substitute meat with plants, and while initially it’s a tricky game, after a while the game becomes a fun challenge. Like anything in life, it’s how you look at it that helps the process, so with a primarily meat or chicken-based dish like larb we look for ingredients that emulate the original texture and then roll in the flavours to make it shine. In this case, it’s cauliflower. Once cauliflower is chopped or blitzed or ‘riced’ it can become many things, and in our vegetarian larb it takes the place of mince – enriching the dish with plants, low starch veggies and nutrition to boot.
GF : DF : SF : VEGAN
1/2 small head cauliflower (approx 4 cups florets)
2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped red chilli, seeds removed
1/2 bunch coriander, leaves picked, stems finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 stalk, lemongrass, finely sliced
1 tablespoon mint leaves, finely chopped
3 asian shallots, white part only, finely sliced
1 teaspoon lime zest + 4 lime wedges to serve
100g green beans, trimmed
1 small lebanese cucumber, finely sliced
1 cup cabbage, finely shredded (opt: lettuce or lettuce cups)
Toasted peanuts, to serve
1/4 cup lemon juice, approx 1/2 lemon
2 teaspoons lime juice, approx 1/2 lime
1 teaspoon tamari
1 teaspoon coconut sugar
1 teaspoon chilli (optional)
To make the cauliflower into a consistency similar to mince, simply finely chop the florets, or place in a food processor and blitz until mince-like, and set aside.
Place a frypan on medium heat and add coconut oil, chilli, coriander stems and garlic and fry until fragrant (about one or two minutes). Add cauliflower and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Once cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, then fold through lemongrass, mint, one tablespoon finely chopped coriander leaves, shallots and lime zest. Whisk together ingredients for dressing and toss through.
Place on a platter or bowl with green beans, lebanese cucumber and cabbage, top with lime wedges and extra coriander leaves if desired and serve.
Jacqueline Alwill is a qualified, practicing nutritionist, author of Seasons to Share and director at The Brown Paper Bag.