If you are not yet familiar with Cauliflower Rice, it is mind boggling, mind blowing and just plain crazy, in a good way (maybe I’m crazy?). I admit I was really skeptical about the idea, Cauliflower for a rice substitute? NO! But you know the saying “curiosity kills the cat”, and so I gave it a try. Guess what? I actually like it. It reminds me of couscous actually more than a rice, but it doesn’t matter. For now let us call it “rice”. The texture Cauliflower “Rice” is finer than rice, it has a subtle taste, not as bland as rice and it is lighter. Low carb, yes?
I will start by saying that Cauliflower Rice is not rice and it will never be rice. At first I find it weird calling it rice when I know it is not a rice, but then I just went along with the crowd and called it Cauliflower Rice anyway. I’ll get people arguing with me if I say it taste like rice because it does not, but isn’t that how most of the substitute works? If we think it that way and have the expectation that it will not taste 100% like rice, then we may enjoy Cauliflower “Rice” better. It’s as good as it get, and it could also be an acquired taste that once you get used to it, you’ll eventually like it. You don’t have to eat Cauliflower as 100% substitute, but maybe it won’t hurt to give it a try from time to time.
What is Cauliflower Rice?
Cauliflower Rice is a finely chopped Cauliflower head used as rice substitute. A good low carb substitute for rice. It is chopped finely and it almost resemble like rice, and hence the name Cauliflower Rice. It can be served plain or with meat, seafood or more veggie and cook like fried “rice”.
How to Use Cauliflower “Rice”
- Cook it plain, just with very little oil, salt and pepper and serve it with your favorite fish, vegetable, seafood or meat.
- Cook like a fried “rice”. Stir-fry, add some vegetables, beaten egg just like you would cook a fried rice, only you do not cook it too long to avoid getting mushy.
- Mix it with salad. The likes of tabouleh, quinoa salad, chickpea salad, mix grilled or roasted vegetable salad
- Use it as a filling for Burrito, quesadilla, or sandwich wrap
- Use it to make vegetarian casserole
- Add it in soups and stews
What are the Ingredients for Cauliflower Rice
- Olive Oil – can be substituted with any flavorless oil
- Cauliflower Head – remove the hard inner core and the leaves
- Salt & Black Pepper – for taste
- Garlic – If you want to keep it plain, you can skip this, but it adds flavor to the “rice”
- Onion – If you want to keep it plain, you can skip this, but it adds flavor to the “rice”
How to Make Cauliflower Rice
It all start with Cauliflower. Wash, cut and chop the Cauliflower. Food processor is the easiest way to do this. Since most people do not have one, it can also be done using a box cheese grater, use the second to the finest grater for a slight texture.
To keep it basic and flexible for later use, keep it simple. Simply toast the Cauliflower in a lightly grease and heated pan, then season with salt and pepper. Do NOT overcook or you will end up with a mushy texture. If you plan to use it to make other variations, like adding more veggie, seafood or protein then cook it only 1-2 minutes, almost like half cook. This way when you reheat it, it will not get mushy. I prefer using a non-stick pan and a cooking spray. This way, the Cauliflower will not stick to the pan, and using less oil will just toast the Cauliflower without making it mushy.
What If I Do Not Have Food Processor?
You can still make it even without the food processor.
- Buy the Packaged Cauliflower Rice: With this option, you skip the process of making it at home, at least the part where you have to wash, trim and process the Cauliflower. The store-bought Cauliflower Rice has already been processed an ready to use for cooking. Of course, there is no seasoning added with it, so you still have to cook it. But that already kills 50% of the preparation time. The downside of this, it cost more than buying a raw whole Cauliflower but it saves you some time doing the work. It is a give and take.
- Use a Fine Box Grater: This you have to do the grating manually, but it it totally doable. The pros, it is cheaper when you do it yourself. The downside, it will test your patience, but I it is doable so just keep on grating.
Tips in Making Cauliflower Rice
- Do not overcook to avoid getting mushy. Stop while it is still slightly hard, this way you have an allowance when you re-heat it. If you are serving it immediately, then cook it to the texture that you want it or serving.
- Do not cover while cooking as it could create steam. Steam can cause the Cauliflower to get soggy
- Use hot pan and less oil as possible. You want it to be toasted and not mushed. This gives a nicer texture almost like fried rice
- If adding veggie, seafood or meat, cook the cauliflower first and set aside. Then cook the mix of veggie or meat, season to taste. Add the Cauliflower and cook for about 1 minute but not too long. This is more like just mix of it together as both has already been pre-cooked. This avoids the Cauliflower getting mushy.
- Olive Oil Spray
- 1 Medium Cauliflower (about 4 cups when riced)
- 2 cloves Garlic – minced
- 1/3 cup Onion – finely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon White Pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning (optional)
- Prepare the Cauliflower: Wash the Cauliflower and cut into half. remove the leaves and the inner core, this is the hard part in the middle.
- Food Processor: If using a food processor, cut the Cauliflower into chunks that will fit into the food processor. Process until fine in texture. I like to start by pulsing it little by little so that I can see the texture, this also avoid the Cauliflower getting processed to super fine texture.
- Box Cheese Grater: If using a box cheese grater, cut the Cauliflower into half and remove the leaves and core. Carefully grate, watch your fingers to make sure you do not hurt yourself from grating. Use the second to the smallest grater for a better texture. I find that the fine grater is too fine is can easily make the Cauliflower mushy when cooked.
- Toast the Cauliflower: Spray a heated pan with oil, just enough to grease the entire surface. Do NOT pour oil in the pan as too much oil will make the Cauliflower soggy. The idea is to cook the Cauliflower by toasting. Add onion and cook for 1- 2 minutes than add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add cauliflower rice, for 4 cups, cook for about 2 minutes. Let the Cauliflower cook for 1 minute without touching then mix. Coo for another minute without touching then mix. This will help toast the Cauliflower.
- Season and Taste: To keep it simple and basic, we are just seasoning it with salt and pepper. Feel free to add any spices you like.
How to Make Cauliflower Variations
- Cook the Cauliflower as per instruction above. Set aside the Cauliflower will you cook the add-in meat or vegetables
- Cook the add-in vegetable or meat separately. You can saute mix vegetables, or stir fry meat, or mix of both vegetable and meat. Make sure that he taste is already to your liking, add-in is ready to eat on its own.
- Cauliflower Rice + Add-in vegetable or Meat: Now you can combine both in one pan and mix. Since both the Cauliflower and the mix-in were already cooked, there is no more cooking to be done. We are cooking them separately to avoid the Cauliflower getting mushy.
Serves 3 – 4
Nutrition Information do not include the mix-in vegetables or meat
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