Cauliflower rice and split peas will change the way you look at cauliflower rice. Truth: I was really excited when the good folks at Whole30 announced that peas were now compliant (Green beans and most peas (including sugar snap peas, snow peas, green peas, yellow peas, and split peas)). Click here to learn more about this change and why it happened. I knew I would now be able to enjoy some dishes that were so uniquely Caribbean. Like split peas and rice or split peas cook-up. So of course the first thing I tried to replicate was split peas and rice or rice and split peas if you must. Rice and peas is such a large part of Caribbean Cuisine that I am thrilled that peas are now in!
Gather your ingredients!
For this recipe you will need:
Cooked Split Peas: I boiled mine in a few cups of water and a pinch of salt until it was tender.
Coconut milk: For this recipe canned is better than fresh because you really need the think, coconut cream type coconut milk to stick to the cauliflower rice. I love this Thai Kitchen coconut milk because it comes in a container versus a can and only has two ingredients: coconut and water.
Cauliflower Rice: I used frozen cauliflower rice that I microwaved to loosen it up but not to fully cook it. Click here to read why I prefer frozen cauliflower rice over freshly made cauliflower rice.
Green Onions: Thinly sliced is my preference for this dish and I reserve some of the green parts to garnish at the end.
Garlic: Grated garlic adds depth of flavor to the rich coconut flavor of the rice.
Wiri Wiri Peppers (or other whole pepper): Wiri wiri pepper is a pepper unique to Guyana. Every time I go to New York I buy some and keep it in my freezer. It is rich in flavor as well as heat. So often I just add it whole to dishes (so do most Guyanese people). It flavors the food without adding any of the heat. Don’t know what wiri wiri pepper is or don’t have any on hand! Don’t worry, you can use a whole habanero pepper or scotch bonnet or just skip it all together.
Cooking the Cauliflower Rice and Split Peas
Once you have your cooked yellow split peas, everything else comes together pretty quickly. I want to build all of the flavors before adding the cauliflower rice because I don’t want it to get mushy. When making this dish with real rice, you would cook the split peas in the herbs, then add the coconut milk, then add the rice and cook together. For this version, I cooked the fresh herbs in the coconut milk broth, then added the cauliflower rice and then I added the split peas. At the very end I toasted the combines dish in the pan for a few minutes to amplify the flavor. It was a huge success!
For the best results, let the cauliflower rice steam in the coconut milk for a few minutes so that it could soap up all the flavor of the coconut milk.
At this point you have a complete dish without adding any peas. If you don’t have peas, you can stop right here and you’d have an amazing coconut cauliflower rice.
Adding the yellow split peas
If you love yellow split peas then proceed to this next step. It is so worth it. For this Cauliflower Rice and Split peas recipe I used 1/4 cup of split peas to 4 cups of cauliflower rice it had a great peas to rice ratio. However, if you want to add less peas or more cauliflower rice, go for it!
The brightness and flavor of the split peas complimented the dish so well. It made the cauliflower rice so hearthy!
This cauliflower rice and split peas dish was so tasty that when my husband had it with his dinner he said he couldn’t even tell that it wasn’t rice. It tasted real deal good. Since I promised in another post that I wouldn’t say that cauliflower rice tastes exactly like rice, I will not, but the flavor was very, very close to real rice.
The Cauliflower Rice and Split Peas Recipe Card:
- ¼ cup of dried split peas
- 4 cups of water
- 4 cups of riced cauliflower (I prefer frozen)
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, grated
- 2 wiri wiri peppers or other chili (added for flavor and not heat)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- pinch of black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ cup of thick coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- Add split peas, a pinch of salt and about 4 cups of water to a small saucepan on high heat
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium for a slow simmer
- Simmer until split peas are fork tender and all the graininess is gone
- Drain split peas from the water and set aside
- In a large skillet on medium heat, bring 2 tablespoon of coconut oil up to temperature
- Add the garlic, wiri wiri peppers (if using) and green onions, reserving a tablespoon of the green part of the green onions for garnish
- Sauté for a minute or two, then add the coconut milk
- The coconut milk should start boiling immediately
- Add the riced cauliflower, salt, black pepper and dried thyme
- Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes stirring often
- Next add the cooked and drained split peas and mix together well
- Increase the heat and let the dish toast for a minute, then remove from the heat
- Garnish with the remaining green onions and serve hot