No More Mr. Rice Guy! Try Cauliflower Rice Instead
Cauliflower transforms into a low-carb rice alternative almost instantly in a food processor. Here are 22 creative recipes that showcase the versatility, ease, and health benefits of cauliflower rice.
Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice by Dr. Davinah's Eats
Cauliflower rice is wildly popular with the paleo set, diabetics, gluten-free diners and the grain averse, but it’s actually a relatively new preparation. Its original creators were California chefs Govind Armstrong and Ben Ford (son of actor Harrison Ford), who christened it “cauliflower couscous” as part of a lamb dish in the late 90s — but they never intended it as a rice substitute. However, by the early 2000s its name had transformed into “cauliflower rice” or occasionally “riced cauliflower,” in reference to the tool, a ricer, that was sometimes used to cut the veggie into small pieces.
And though they may look similar, cauliflower and rice are two very different foods. Rice is a chewy staple grain for many cuisines around the world; cauliflower, on the other hand, is a member of the brassica family (along with kale, broccoli, and cabbage) and most U.S. cauliflower is grown in California. The power of cauliflower rice’s nutrition is undeniable: A single cup of cauliflower rice is only about 25 calories, yet has 85 percent of your suggested vitamin C, potassium, a decent amount of fiber, and a mere 5 grams of carbs. In comparison, rice weighs in at 200 calories per cup and contains 45 grams of carbohydrates!
So for many, the health benefits of cauliflower rice outweigh the starchy emotional comfort of white rice. To that end, we’ve assembled the most delicious recipes for it from across the Internet: cozy casseroles, paleo risottos, a vegan stir-fry, and even some easy recipes to prepare it from scratch! Broccoli’s pale cousin never looked so good.
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Cauliflower rice Q&A
A vegetable disguised as a delicious carb? Yep! Learn why cauliflower rice is not quite the oxymoron you think it is.
What is cauliflower rice?
“Ricing” is the term used when a food has been pressed through a ricer, which is a tool that looks like an oversized garlic press and is generally used to make incredibly fluffy mashed potatoes. However, “riced” can also refer to cauliflower blitzed in a food processor or grated on a box grater; as long as it has a rice-like appearance, the rules are loose.
How do you cook cauliflower rice?
In its riced form, it is nearly a fast food! At its simplest, five minutes of sautéing in a hot pan with some oil or butter and a dash of salt, and you’re ready to go! Besides the stovetop preparation, it can also be briefly roasted in the oven to bring out its nutty qualities, or baked in a casserole.
How do you store cauliflower rice? And how long does it last?
Cauliflower rice should be stored in the refrigerator, and because it is cut into fine pieces, it won’t last as long as an entire head of cauliflower or a storebought bag of cauliflower florets. If you plan to make your own, better to store the head intact until you start preparing the recipe.
How do you freeze cauliflower rice?
This is a food that freezes beautifully for up to three months. It is best frozen uncooked, shortly after you’ve prepared the cauliflower with a food processor. Portion it out into 1-cup servings (or more, depending on your household needs) in resealable freezer bags which can easily be stacked on one another to maximize freezer space. Because it’s in such small pieces, no defrosting is necessary; simply pour it into the pan or combine in a casserole and prepare per usual.
How to make your own cauliflower rice
If you have a food processor and a few minutes, homemade cauliflower rice can be yours
Learn to make your own cauliflower rice with a food processor in this simple recipe, along with instructions on how to freeze it. This recipe is delicious and quick.
This is an excellent introduction to preparing cauliflower rice: four ingredients, but lots of flavor from fresh garlic, olive oil, and a sprinkling of salt. There are also instructions for how to turn a head of cauliflower into rice-sized pieces using a food processor or a grater.
Healthful cauliflower rice main dishes
These cauliflower rice recipes lower the glycemic index of each meal — and they’re delicious enough that no one will miss the carbs
Everybody loves a California roll, and this healthy take on standard sushi delivers the goods without raising anyone’s blood sugar levels. Avocado, scallions, and Persian cucumbers make it a light yet filling dinner.
Enjoy the pleasures of risotto without the constant stirring; pumpkin puree replaces the creaminess of the rice, and butter and Parmesan cheese make it lush and satisfying.
By using cauliflower rice vs. white rice in this dish, it suddenly becomes keto-, paleo-, and diabetic-friendly. But most importantly: It’s delicious. Lemongrass, garlic, sriracha, and turmeric ensure authentic flavors as well as good health.
This delicious Indonesian (and Malaysian) dish uses both cauliflower rice and regular rice, but feel free to use an equal amount of cauliflower rice in place of the grain. While traditionally a breakfast dish, it makes an excellent vegetarian dinner or lunch.
Save your money on takeout and make this gingery, healthful approach to fried rice instead. Packed with the classic aromatics in Cantonese cooking — garlic, ginger, and scallions — it tastes as good as it smells.
Is there a cauliflower rice recipe as healthy AND delicious as this one? Probably not. Lean salmon, calcium- and iron-rich broccoli, and a veggie swapped in for Arborio rice make this luscious dish a winner.
Tofu makes it a plant-based dinner in this vegan stir-fry that is tasty and loaded with iron, thanks to the spinach. Served with cauliflower rice, it ups the veggie quotient and makes dinner a lighter affair.
Cozy cauliflower rice casseroles
Casseroles are a classic comfort food, but if you’re diabetic, paleo, keto, or Whole 30 followers, casseroles can be carbohydrate bombs you try to avoid. Thanks to cauliflower rice as a low-carb alternative, every once in a while, you can have it all.
Enjoy all the flavors of Mexico with none of the carbs in this tasty vegetarian casserole. Cumin, chili powder, and garlic combine with tomatoes, eggs, and shredded cheese for a hearty dish that’s great any time of day.
This hearty dish is filling and rich, and everyone can enjoy it without paying a high-carb price. Cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and heavy cream ensure no one walks away hungry.
This dish has some of the best elements of old school stuffed cabbage, but it’s lightened up thanks to the benefits of cauliflower rice. Shredded cabbage, garlic, and hearty ground beef make it nourishing and healthful.
This cozy casserole offers the best of comfort food without the carbs. Onions, mushrooms, and garlic come together with chicken, sour cream, paprika, and shredded cheddar cheese but are lightened by the cauliflower rice.
Skip the rice but get all the flavors of your favorite tacos in this satisfying, cheesy casserole that’s studded with avocado. Black beans deliver fiber, and lycopene-rich tomatoes boost the health quotient as well as the flavor profile.
This delicious meal has lots of protein from chicken, eggs, and shredded Italian cheeses. The broccoli in this cauliflower rice recipe makes it a nutritious one-dish meal — and it makes great leftovers, too.
Super sides with cauliflower rice
Cauliflower makes a healthy vegetable side while keeping carbs low
This keto-friendly dish has all the best flavors of the Big Easy, with garlic, green bell pepper, and Cajun seasoning. Ground pork makes it a complete meal, but feel free to swap in any ground protein you like.
This cauliflower rice recipe is actually three dishes for the price of one. Each is sure to please: "Butter, Garlic and Parmesan"; "Mexican Style"; and "Asian Fried Rice."
With only four ingredients, this toasty side dish will please even the most finicky of vegetable eaters; plus, making cauliflower rice with a food processor only takes a few seconds, and roasting it in the oven brings out the vegetable’s best qualities. Winner, winner, cauliflower dinner?
Cauliflower rice’s nutrition benefits are well documented, but when you add turmeric to the pot this delicious side dish also offers an anti-inflammatory bonus. Including cilantro, lemon juice, and garlic makes your plate bright and cheery.
This umami-rich meal gets depth from mushrooms and a bright dose of iron from spinach, with fiber and a depth of flavor from the celery, garlic, and onion. And one of the benefits of cauliflower rice is that the whole dish can be ready in about 20 minutes.
This keto cauliflower rice recipe is lush with heavy cream, keto cheese sauce, and grated cheddar cheese. With only five ingredients and 10 minutes of cooking time, this easy dish is a winner.
When you start looking into cauliflower rice nutrition information, it becomes clear that swapping in a vegetable offers way more vitamins with a lower glycemic index than white rice. Plus the brightness of lime juice and fresh cilantro ensure it is a delicious side dish as well.
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