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Basic Cauliflower Rice

By Catherine Newman 

Makes: 4 servings

Total carbohydrates: 6 grams per serving

Hands-on time: 20 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

I know, I know. “Cauliflower Rice” is the kind of thing you see all over the internet, and you’re like, please. Because you imagine it’s going to have as much in common with real rice as a baby carrot has with a Cheeto. And you’re kind of right. Cauliflower rice is not really like rice. But it is delicious and satisfying as its own thing – a cross between a vegetable and something vaguely grain-like, and it’s packed with vitamins and fiber instead of carbs. You can buy it in 16-ounce packages at Trader Joe’s and many supermarkets, but it’s easy to make your own from a whole head of cauliflower (or a bag of florets, if that’s what you’ve got). And you can use it as a simple or gussied-up side, or as the base for a main dish.

Ingredients

1 large head cauliflower

3 tablespoons olive or coconut oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)

Instructions

1. Use a large knife to cut the cauliflower into quarters, then cut the hard core out of each quarter (the leaves will come off with it) and discard it. Use your hands to break the quarters up into florets that are around an inch or two across. (If this is your first time prepping cauliflower, see this article for an easy-to-follow video.)

2. In three batches, put the florets in a food processor or blender fitted with a steel blade, and pulse until the pieces are around the size of a grain of rice. Some will be more like couscous, and some will be slightly larger, and all of it is fine! Dump the riced cauliflower into a large bowl as you finish each batch. If you notice some stray large pieces, you can leave them, eat them, or pop them back in the food processor—your call!

3. Heat the oil in a wide pan over high heat. When it is hot, add all the cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally at first, until it is just turning golden on the edges, and as tender as you like it. This will take 5 to 10 minutes. At first it will get very steamy and damp, and then it will start to dry out and you will need to stir it more.

4. Season the cauliflower with the salt. Taste it and add more if it needs it, then serve.

Fancy it up with:

  • a spoonful of garlic butter and a sprinkle of parsley

  • a scoop of tomato or meat sauce

  • a swirl of pesto

Or swap it into your favorite fried-rice recipe, where it will behave compellingly like rice.

Or make this filling, fantastic, and adaptable Cauliflower Rice Casserole: Mix the cooked cauliflower rice with 6 beaten eggs, 1 cup of grated cheese (include some cottage or cream cheese, if you like), 1 tablespoon grainy or Dijon mustard, the grated zest of ½ a lemon, and other herbs and seasonings of your choice (I like to add sautéed onions, finely chopped dill or parsley, and plenty of salt and pepper). Pour this mixture into a greased casserole dish and bake at 350 until puffed, golden, and set, around 30-40 minutes. Makes 6 servings, 5-7 grams of carbohydrates per serving.

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Last year they started the WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and are currently developing Seasoned, their senior version, commissioned by the AARP. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health and happiness at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]

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