I'm A Food Editor. Here's The One Ingredient I Keep In My Freezer To Whip Up A Healthy Dinner

As the food editor at mindbodygreen and a cookbook author, I a) am always trying to eat as well as I can and b) have very little time to do so. While I sometimes love languishing at the farmers market, relishing in the local produce (my, what fine ramps you have there, sir!) most of the time, I find myself stumbling through my front door around 8 or 9 p.m., bone-tired from my day, with a hungry cat, husband, and self to feed (before we get into it: Yes, I'm a feminist; yes, my husband often handles the cooking; yes, this is a digression from the point of this piece).

Because eating is my favorite activity (see above about being a food editor, etc.), even on the tiredest, laziest nights, I want my food to taste amazing, with salty, sour, sweet, and umami notes; playful, contrasting textures; and flavor combinations that take my tongue on a mini-vacation to France or India. I was constantly on the hunt for the easiest, healthiest way to make that happen—and then I found frozen cauliflower rice.

Frozen cauliflower rice is a game changer. It essentially makes the base of your meal a vegetable, and a cancer-fighting, longevity-boosting, inflammation-busting one at that. Paleo? Vegan? Gluten-free? Just looking to boost your vegetable intake? No problem; cauliflower rice works for you. I get mine at Trader Joe's for less than $2 a bag, although if you can't find any at your local supermarket, it's super easy to make.

How to make your own cauliflower rice.

Wash a head of cauliflower; remove leafy bits. Cut off woodiest part of the stem but leave the rest, then either grate the whole cauliflower with a box cheese grater or cut it into chunks and pulse it a few times in your food processor. One cauliflower head makes a LOT of cauliflower rice, so pour all of that into a freezer bag and chuck it in your freezer before proceeding to step 2—the meals.

Congratulations, you great planner-aheader, you—now you have a freezer full of cauliflower rice. Here's what to do with it:

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1. Make a stir-fry.

Heat up a frying pan, add some ghee or coconut oil, then chuck in some frozen veg and your cauliflower rice. Saute until brown, then toss in a few shakes of tamari, some toasted sesame oil, and a few fresh green onions or cilantro.

2. Make a taco bowl.

Heat up a frying pan, add some ghee or coconut oil and your cauliflower rice, then chuck in some taco seasoning (or a mixture of cumin, smoked paprika, powdered garlic, and onion and salt). Top with a can of drained, rinsed black beans and some green onions or cilantro.

3. Make a Middle Eastern-inspired bowl.

Heat up a frying pan, add some ghee or coconut oil and your cauliflower rice, then toss in some chopped pistachios and figs. Cook till tender then add chopped mint and parsley. So exotic!

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4. Now, you try!

Heat up a frying pan, add some ghee or coconut oil and your cauliflower rice, then experiment! Have a curry sauce in your fridge? Toss that in! Leftover chicken from last night's dinner? Sounds delish!

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