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Eat Well Jun. 13. 2013
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Simply Cauliflower Rice

Jun. 13. 2013
Sides
McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder

I hope all of you aren’t getting tired of using cauliflower in your weekly cooking yet because today I have another delicious recipe for you. Simply Cauliflower Rice (and it’s variations) is a simple low carbohydrate alternative to rice, and today I share both a raw and cooked version. This recipe may just become one of your favorites – trust me it’s that amazing! Sometimes I eat this Cauliflower Rice plain, and it’s perfectly satisfying and filling.

Cauliflower is one of my favorite versatile vegetables, as you’ve seen before with Curry Cashew Cauliflower SoupCauliflower Pizza Crust, and Spotlight On | Cauliflower. You may be thinking “McKel, cauliflower is not rice. Rice is rice.” And yes you’re correct, but why not play around a little with the natural texture characteristics of cauliflower and use it to your advantage to make a dish a little less calorie dense and more nutrient dense! I’ve posted several lower carbohydrate recipes the past couple of weeks for good reason. The Standard American Diet contains too many carbohydrates in the form of highly processed and refined food products. The recipes I’m sharing today and those that I’ve shared recently are ways to have some fun in the kitchen playing with your vegetables and exploring new textures and recipes you’ve maybe never tried before. Also, it’s a great way to squeeze more vegetables into your diet and everything they have to offer (which is vast!).

Carbohydrates get a lot of negative press in the nutrition and fitness community, and in my opinion, they shouldn’t! I don’t know about you, but I love carbs and so do our bodies. The key is choosing them wisely, focusing on good quality, and timing when you’re eating them (read more about carbohydrates here, here, and here). Rice comes in many varieties, not just the most popular white, but there’s also jasmine, basmati, brown, and wild (which are the two most nutrient dense in my book). Let’s take a look how easy and versatile Simply Cauliflower Rice is to make, along with how simple it is to incorporate this recipe into your eats!

Pictured: Spanish Cauliflower Rice

Variations on Cauliflower Rice (raw or cooked) 

  • Spanish Cauliflower Rice: add 1 Tbs. red pepper flakes + 1/4 cup your favorite salsa + diced tomatoes + jalapeños + fresh cilantro
  • Curry Cauliflower Rice: add 1 Tbs. curry powder seasoning + fresh grated ginger + red chilies + fresh lime juice
  • Fried Cauliflower Rice: add scrambled egg + 1 Tbs. sesame seeds + fresh grated ginger + 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • Italian Cauliflower Rice: add 1 Tbs. dried oregano + fresh basil + diced sun-dried tomatoes + diced red onion
  • Greek Cauliflower Rice: add 1 Tbs. oregano + 1 Tbs. capers + 1/4 cup diced kalamata olives + 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard + 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • Sweet Cauliflower Rice: a dash of cinnamon + stevia to taste + vanilla extract/powder (leave out onions in cooking process)
  • Lemon Cauliflower Rice: juice of 1 lemon + 1 tsp. sea salt
  • Sushi Cauliflower Rice: 1 Tbs. rice vinegar + 1 tsp. stevia/organic sugar + nori/kelp flakes
  • Herbed Cauliflower Rice: a mix of fresh herbs diced finely such as dill, chives, or basil, oregano, rosemary, etc.
  • Cheezy Cauliflower Rice: 1-2 Tbs. nutritional yeast + almond milk to create a “sauce” + dash of cayenne

Pictured: Herbed Cauliflower Rice

Add Cauliflower Rice to these additions for an entire meal:

  • Curry dishes + Curry Cauliflower Rice 
  • Beans/lentils/tofu + Curry Cauliflower Rice
  • Roasted Vegetables + Simply Cauliflower Rice
  • Broccoli/roasted vegetables + Cheezy Cauliflower Rice
  • Tempeh/tofu + Fried Cauliflower Rice
  • Grilled fish/shrimp + Greek Cauliflower Rice
  • Beans + Spanish Cauliflower Rice
  • Stir fry + Fried Cauliflower Rice
  • Grilled proteins + Lemon Cauliflower Rice
  • Almond milk + vanilla + raisins + Sweet Cauliflower Rice

 

Simply Cauliflower Rice
Recipe Type: side, entree
Author: McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6
A low carbohydrate alternative to traditional rice made solely from cauliflower, spices, and herbs.
Ingredients
  • 1 head organic cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Additional seasonings as desired (ex. seasoning mixes)
Instructions
  1. RAW version:
  2. Simply add chopped cauliflower into a food processor and pulse into tiny, fine cauliflower pieces. This should look like “rice”.
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  4. Store in refrigerator in an air tight container.
  5. COOKED version:
  6. Add chopped cauliflower into a food processor and pulse into tiny, fine cauliflower pieces. This should look like “rice”.
  7. In a saute pan, coat with 2 Tbs. coconut oil and lightly cook the cauliflower with onion for about 5-7 minutes until softened to your desired texture (about 5-7 minutes).
  8. Stir in remaining ingredients while in the pan.
  9. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.
  10. Serve with anything you’d enjoy rice with!
  11. Enjoy!
Serving size: 1 out of 4 servings Calories: 66 Fat: 4 g Carbohydrates: 9 g Sugar: 4 g Sodium: 39 mg Fiber: 3 g Protein: 3 g

What’s your take?

Have you tried cauliflower rice before? What’s your favorite way to use it OR how would you use it? Share your thoughts below, I love hearing what you have to say!

Have fun in the kitchen Y’ALL!

xo McKel

p.s.

Love this Simple Cauliflower Rice and want even more healthy recipes and tips to live whole and eat well? Get the Nutrition Stripped Cookbook with almost 100 delicious whole food recipes not on the blog! Get your copy here.

The Recipe

Serves 4-6

Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 head organic cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Additional seasonings as desired (ex. seasoning mixes)

Directions:

  1. RAW version:
  2. Simply add chopped cauliflower into a food processor and pulse into tiny, fine cauliflower pieces. This should look like “rice”.
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  4. Store in refrigerator in an air tight container.
  5. COOKED version:
  6. Add chopped cauliflower into a food processor and pulse into tiny, fine cauliflower pieces. This should look like “rice”.
  7. In a saute pan, coat with 2 Tbs. coconut oil and lightly cook the cauliflower with onion for about 5-7 minutes until softened to your desired texture (about 5-7 minutes).
  8. Stir in remaining ingredients while in the pan.
  9. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.
  10. Serve with anything you’d enjoy rice with!
  11. Enjoy!

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  • I’ve had cauliflower rice and loved it and I’ve had cauliflower rice and hated it. I definitely need to experiment with it more. The curry version sounds awesome!

    • Same here Kiersten! I’ve found that I actually prefer the cooked version more often than the raw, it goes well with other cooked veggies and such. And the coconut oil and onions go perfect with it! 🙂

      • Corine

        You mentioned sushi rice. What is the recipe for that? I couldn’t find any links for it. I’m a horrible cook so details are kind of crucial for me. Thank you so much for your time!!

  • Jamie

    We had the fried rice with a beef stir fry. It was delicious! Love the ginger. Thanks for sharing.

  • Adedoyin Adefemi

    I love cauliflower rice. I usually add mixed veggies, egg white and shredded chicken whenever I cook it. And the good part of it is , its low in calories

  • Cate

    Can you use frozen cauliflower to make the rice? Would a blender work to make the cauliflower rice? Thank you!

    • Hi Cate! Fresh/raw works best, but you could use frozen cauliflower- you just may need to increase the portion because frozen cauliflower has less volume. Hope you enjoy!

    • Sarah

      I like to take my finely chopped or grated cauliflower rice and portion it into ziplock bags and freeze it. I find a whole head of cauliflower too much for one person and that it doesn’t keep long so this way I have it on hand when I want something quick and easy.

      I know that’s not quite the answer to your question but this be something worth trying if you prefer frozen veggies.

  • Stella

    Hello!
    I made this today and served it with an eggplant stew instead of white rice. It is a great substitute. I tried the cooked version with salt and onion and the flavor is very mild, just the way it should be if it’s served as an accompaniment. Thank you for the recipe! I love it!

  • Michele

    At the bottom of your instructions on how to make cauliflower rice, you give the calorie count as 83. I’m guessing that this is per serving? I know you say it serves 4 to 6, but how much is a serving? Is it 1/2 cup? 1 cup? Can you please specify? Thank you.

  • Angela

    Absolutely incredible! I just made to basic recipe, and was blown away by how happy my mouth was. I paired it with a raw cilantro chutney, and what a divine combination it was. Thank you so much for creating and sharing this!

    • Hi Angela,
      SO glad you loved this recipe- it’s one of my favorites on the blog here. Thank you for sharing it as well with friends/family!

  • Janet Barrett

    I’m a type 2 Diabetic and this cauliflower idea is ideal for my diet. I also use Spaghetti squash as a substitute for pasta.

  • Barb Scott

    I expected to be disappointed but I was not! I tried the simply cauliflower rice, cooked. I guess it’s because the pieces are so small, you don’t get a strong cauliflower flavor. I will be trying other variations. Thank you!

  • Angela

    Hi McKel,

    Do you have any idea how the raw cauliflower rice would keep? I’ve made this a couple of times (love it SO much!) but have not had leftovers to experiment with (again, because i love it SO much, ha!).

    Thank you!!

  • Tom

    Can you use a blender? Should I try Blending it in water then drain it? Also, do you have to use coconut oil?
    (I wonder if you use coconut oil because you believe it may be better for you? or, if it just has a inherent properties making it better to cook with? I like the flavor of good Olive Oil, but I know Olive Oil can burn easily at a low heat.

    • If you use a blender, just pulse, no need to add water and make it more difficult for you! Coconut oil is the oil I prefer to use for health benefits and the taste.

      • Helen

        I am not a great fan of coconut flavor, and when I use coconut oil for sautéing I continue to be disappointed with the results. I tend to use Avocado oil as a substitute, for high temp cooking and adjust the seasonings accordingly.

        But I wonder if you have any tips for working with coconut oil that don’t carry the added coconut flavor?

        • That’s a great question- I love coconut so it doesn’t bother me, but you can adjust your seasonings and spices to boost the flavor and hide the natural sweetness of the coconut oil, or use olive oil, etc.!

  • Great recipe McKel and great website! Thanks for sharing this recipe on Healthy Aperture, I added it to my site giving you full credit of course 🙂

    • Hi Brett- thank you for enjoying my recipe, but please take it down from your site. I don’t allow other websites and blogs to share my recipes. Thank you-

  • Elizabeth

    Hello,
    I stumbled on your website today looking for a cauliflower recipe. I just started eating only plant-based foods 3 days ago and was wondering what to do with the beautiful cauliflower head I had that didn’t call for oil, cheese, etc. I was envisioning that I’d be sick of steamed CF by the end of the week, but I can try a different rice several times this week!

    I’m looking forward to poking around through the rest of your recipes. I’m going to try the banana yogurt tomorrow AM.
    Thanks!

    • Thank you so much Elizabeth, so glad you’ve stumbled upon my blog and hope you enjoy the rest of the recipes you try!

  • Patty

    I also stumbled across your website today looking for a low-carb substitute for rice. My hubby is on a low-carb diet and I’m making stuffed green peppers tonight. I think the cooked version will workout great. Thanks for posting!

  • Hi McKel
    5 minutes before I should start cooking and still not knowing what to do today with that lovely cauliflower I googled. And I landed – again – at you place 🙂 It’s going to be cauliflower rice italian/mexican style with black beans. Now I am looking forward to that. Thanks again for being on the WWW.
    All the best,
    Petra

  • Latrice

    I was looking at brown rices and came across your post. I’m making chicken, broccoli, kale and rice casserole but wanted a low carb rice. Now I’m so excited because my entire meal is now carb. thank you

    • Wonderful, glad you found this recipe! All vegetables are carbohydrates, but yes this is a lower carbohydrate version of rice

  • sherwin

    I don’t know where this recipe all my life. Im so lovin it. I guess I’m turning my back from rice now. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Found this recipe on Greatist and I have to try it ASAP!

  • Virginia

    Hi McKel,
    I tried the Fried rice version – omitted the egg, added tofu, minced carrots, strips of red pepper, scallions, bean sprouts Thai basil and a touch of toasted sesame oil — delicious!!! Thank you. By the way, when I try to subscribe, I click on the link emailed to me and it looks like nothing happens. I am doing something wrong? Thanks again

    • Sounds amazing, it’s all about finding what you love and using those ingredients. Can you tell me which sign up you’re using? The pop up or side bar?

  • I bet you could come up with a great twice backed cauliflower potato.

  • Shelley

    have you tried making it with any other fat, like olive oil or grass-fed butter? i made a batch the other night for the first time, and could not get past the coconut flavour. we had it with romaine lettuce wraps as fajita shells, and the coconut did not go well with the mexican flavours used on the meat. i was thinking of trying it again with olive oil or butter, but every recipe on the internet says use coconut oil so i don’t know…

    • McKel Hill

      Great question, Shelley! Yes, of course you can use grass fed butter or olive oil- I just prefer the saturated fats in coconut oil but if you’re using grass-fed butter you’ll be good!

  • Sarah

    Is it possible to use frozen cauliflower to make rice? Thanks!

    • McKel Hill

      Ideally you’ll need to use raw, but you could try Sarah!

  • Beth

    Tonight I made cauliflower fried rice inspired by the recipe above. My stir fry veggies including shredded sweet potatoes, shredded golden beets, chopped kale, and chopped red pepper flavored with coconut amino and miso. It was so yummy, especially topped with pickled ginger!

    • McKel Hill

      That sounds like such a good mix! Glad you enjoyed this Beth 🙂

  • Juanita Williams

    I’m going to try my hand at making the cooked version tomorrow. How long does the rice ‘keep’ in the fridge?

    • McKel Hill

      I keep the cooked version about 5 days in the fridge and you can reheat on the skillet!

  • Valerie

    Black rice is far more nutrient dense than brown rice…just a side note because you didn’t mention it.

  • Elle Verga Francisco

    I just met my doctor hours ago and he strictly told me that I can no longer eat rice, pasta, bread and potatoes. Being an Asian where our food revolves around rice this will really be hard. Glad i tried googling for alternatives and found your blog. Will be trying this tomorrow because i love cauliflowers and it being substituted as a rice is heaven sent.

    • I’m so glad you’ll be able to experiment with a rice alternative and squeeze in some extra nutrition from the almighty cauliflower 😉

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