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The ‘dream dinner triad’ of a meal that is quick to prepare, satisfying and healthy can be a challenge in winter. Fear not - with a little inspiration from the Mediterranean and some adaptations, it can be done with this Greek-inspired pilaff.

Wondering how a pilaff can be low-carb? The answer is the use of riced cauliflower as the base, which also reduces calorie content. The chicken adds protein and the extra vegetables fill it with flavour and colour.

If the vegetable shortage starts to affect cauliflowers, or you prefer a more standard dish, then simply substitute long grain or basmati rice.

These quantities make two generous servings and the meal only takes half an hour to make. One cauliflower produces a lot of ‘rice’ so the extra can go in the fridge for another time.

Want more no-rice rice recipes ? Try this Persian chicken rice or this Italian-style risotto.


2 chicken breasts, chopped into chunks

1 chopped onion

1 cauliflower

1 chopped pepper

1 chicken stock cube, made up with boiling water as instructions

Juice of 1 lemon or equivalent from a bottle

Pinch of saffron or turmeric

Olive oil

Small knob of butter

Salt and black pepper

You will also need a large frying pan with a well-fitting lid.


  1. First make the cauliflower rice. Remove the outer leaves, quarter and core the cauliflower and then chop into chunks. Put through the food processor until it looks like fine rice. You can also use a hand grater although this will take longer.
  2. Heat the olive oil in the frying pan and put in the chicken breasts. Once cooked, remove and set aside.
  3. In the same pan (don’t clean it!) add more olive oil and then fry the onions and red pepper until soft. Tip in the cauliflower rice and butter, and continue cooking for another five minutes.
  4. Now add the chicken stock and lemon juice and mix well to ensure all the flavours are blended. Return the chicken to the pan, add salt, pepper and spice. Put the lid on and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
the author

Jessica Ambrose

Jessica is a fitness writer who loves long distance running, yoga, strength training and healthy eating.