Cauliflower has become one of life’s wonderful superfoods. It is extremely versatile and when in season, which in Australia is now (May to September), is inexpensive and abundant. However, generally you will be able to find cauliflower available in supermarkets year round.
Cauliflower rice is one of those things that seems to have popped up with a societal focus on trending diets such as Paleo, Whole30 and Keto. It is a low carb alternative to regular rice and an easy way to sneak more vegetables into your diet.
I was first introduced to ‘cauli rice’ when I did my first round of Whole30. Generally in my diet I enjoy regular rice at least 1-2 times a week. It was a hard shift for me to move away from my standard repertoire of meals that I would usually serve with rice, hence when cauli rice presented as a grain-free alternative, I tried it.
And you know what? I really loved it. No it doesn’t taste like actual rice, but it does mimic the texture and I found it was an enjoyable way to eat a side of veggies without feeling like I was eating another plate of boring vegetables. It is also a lot lighter than regular rice meaning there is no bloat or that heavy feeling that can sometimes come after a rice heavy meal.
So whether you are following a specific grain-free diet, or just wanting something lighter and a way to sneak more vegetables into your daily diet, cauliflower rice is a great alternative. And while you can buy cauliflower rice in the frozen section at the supermarket, I thought I would break down just how easy it is to make at home – no nasties, nothing added – just cauliflower showing you its best self.
How healthy is cauliflower…really?
So if we are going to the trouble of trying to sneak cauliflower into our meals, let’s take a quick look at why this is such a good idea from a health perspective.
Cauliflower is considered a superfood for a reason as it is packed with nutrients and antioxidants helping to improve the immune system and protect against cancer. It contains fibre which assists with weight loss and digestion as well as being a rich source of vitamin C, folate, vitamin K, and complex B vitamins.
That all sounds pretty good to me. But I am not a nutritionist, and this information is considered as part of a normal, healthy diet, so if you do have any health concerns always be sure to seek advice from a doctor before making a change to your diet.
How to make cauliflower rice?
Making cauliflower rice at home really couldn’t be easier! I have included two versions below dependant on what equipment you have available.
How to make cauliflower rice with a box grater
This is the main way I like to make it at home mainly because it requires very little washing up or special equipment. It can be a bit messy though and rouge cauliflower pieces have a tendency to find their way around the kitchen.
Cut up your cauliflower into chunks (about the size of your palm) and grate the florets using your box grater on the side with the big holes (that you would use for cheese). When you get to the stem you can throw that away as it doesn’t produce the best texture.
Repeat with all remaining cauliflower, emptying the box grater into a bowl as necessary.
That is really all there is to it!
How to make cauliflower rice with a food processor
This option is even easier and less fuss. If I am making a larger quantity you better bet that I want to save my arm from the manual grating.
Cut the florets from the cauliflower and add these to the bowl of your food processor with the regular chopper attachment fitted (the one you probably use for everything). Use the pulse button in 2 second intervals to blitz the cauliflower until it forms a rice like consistency and there are no remaining large pieces.
The pulse setting it key here as we do want to be careful not to blitz our cauliflower too long or risk it turning to mush. A few pulses and your done. It’s that quick.
You could use the grater attachment to your food processor if you want to avoid the possibility of over pulsing, but I just don’t find it necessary personally.
The food processor method I find produces more consistent cauli rice than the box grater method – however both will work just fine depending on the time, energy and equipment you have available.
How to cook cauliflower rice
Now that you have made a big bowl of cauliflower rice, it’s time to decide how to cook it. Sure you can eat it raw if you wish, but personally I think cooking it makes it taste just that bit better.
The below three options are perfect if you are wanting to cook your cauliflower rice to serve it in a bowl or as a side as you would usually with regular rice or quinoa. However some recipes require you to use raw cauliflower rice and cooking is included in the steps. Be sure to confirm whether the recipe requires cooked or uncooked cauliflower rice.
How to cook cauliflower rice in a frying pan
The most common method for cooking cauliflower rice, and the one that I use personally the most is simply to cook it in the frying pan.
To a hot pan, add a little olive oil and then your cauli rice. Season with salt and pepper and cook stirring with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft. Be careful not to overcook however as you don’t want the rice to become soggy.
How to steam cauliflower rice
Another great option to cook your cauliflower rice is to steam it. This is a great alternative if you are looking for an oil-free option.
To a hot pan, add about a tablespoon of water and your cauliflower rice. Place the lid on the pan and let steam for about 5 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft but still has a bit of bite. Season with salt and pepper.
How to cook cauliflower rice in the oven
The third option I have for you is to actually cook your cauli rice in the oven. This is a great option if your stove top is already occupied or you’re looking for a more robust, nutty flavour from your cauliflower.
Spread out your cauliflower rice on a baking tray lined with baking paper and place in a moderate oven. Let bake for 5-10 minutes, stirring as needed to prevent the edges darkening too much.
Can you freeze cauliflower rice?
Yes! Freeze uncooked cauliflower rice in zip lock bags and cook from frozen using one of the above methods. Cauliflower rice will stay fresh for up to 3 months in the freezer.
Freezing is a great way to take advantage of cauliflower when it’s cheap and in season so even when the prices go up, you still have cauliflower rice ready to go!
How can I use my cauliflower rice?
Cauliflower rice can be used as an exact substitute in situations where regular rice would otherwise be used. Use it in:
- Stir frys
- Buddha bowls
- Fried rice
- Burrito bowls
The possibilities really are endless.
Recipes using cauliflower rice
Now that you are excited about making your own cauliflower rice at home, here are a few recipes to get you started.
Turn regular cauli rice into a zingy lime version with these Whole30 pulled beef burrito bowls.
These honey pomegranate balsamic glazed chicken thighs from Whole Food Bellies are served on a bed of cauliflower rice to keep things low carb.
For a quick weeknight dinner try this 15-minute cauliflower fried rice from Pinch of Yum.
If you do make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and rating below! And tag any of your creations on Instagram with #eightforestlane as I would love to see.
Homemade Cauliflower Rice
- 1 large head cauliflower
- olive oil optional
- salt and pepper
- Wash cauliflower and remove all greens from the outside.
- Cut up cauliflower into pieces and if using a box grater, grate the florets until rice forms and all cauliflower is used. Disregard any hard stems pieces. If using a food processor, cut cauliflower florets into smaller pieces and place into the food processor with the chopping attachment fitted. Pulse a few times in 2 second intervals until cauliflower becomes ‘rice’ like in consistency. Do not over pulse.
- Heat oil in a large frying pan and add cauliflower rice seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes until the rice is soft but still has a bit of bite, stirring with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking. Alternatively, omit oil and add about a tablespoon of water and cover the pan with a lid. Let rice steam for 5 minutes until cooked.
- Serve cauliflower rice with any recipes that usually call for rice and enjoy!
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