September 19, 2021
  • September 19, 2021

Not a Fan of Cauliflower Rice? This Will Change Your Mind

By on August 1, 2021 0 25 Views

Another brilliant way to eat cauliflower

It’s true that swapping cauliflower rice in place of traditional rice is a bit of a fad, and one that not everyone is crazy about.

However, cauliflower rice is actually tasty, not overly expensive, relatively fast to fix, and easily fits into most eating plans. We’d call that a trend worth trying.

Here’s what to know about this gluten-free, low-carb vegetable dish, including its calories, carbs, and nutrition benefits. Plus, we’ve added some cauliflower rice recipes to try at home.

What is cauliflower rice?

However, since cauliflower is a mild-tasting vegetable, it can be somewhat chameleon-like and seem just like rice after adding spices and seasonings.

Whether you prepare it rather plainly, like typical rice pilaf, or spiced up, like Spanish rice, you can serve it just like you serve rice. As a bonus, it goes from prep to plate quickly.

Cauliflower rice is “hot”

And if you’ve been dining out recently, you’ve likely seen “cauliflower rice” on an increasing number of menus, especially when the restaurant features items for different diet styles. For instance, Chipotle introduced cilantro-lime cauliflower rice in 2021, which aligns with their “Lifestyle Bowls.”

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How to make cauliflower rice

To make cauliflower rice, ideally start with a fresh whole head of cauliflower.

Trim off the leaves and thick stalks. Then cut the remaining cauliflower into large florets.

Add them to a food processor, filling it no more than three-quarters full.

Do this in batches if you need for the most evenly-sized results. Press the pulse button several times, usually less than 10 times, until you reach desired rice-like consistency. Now you’ve got cauliflower rice that’s ready for cooking.

Alternatively, you can go for a shortcut and buy fresh or frozen cauliflower that’s already riced for you.

How to eat cauliflower rice

When the oil shimmers, add the cauliflower rice and sauté until desired brownness, about eight to 10 minutes. Then season as you wish and enjoy wherever you normally serve rice.

Prep tips

Make sure the skillet is fully preheated and that you’re using a large enough skillet (hint: a wok works well) so that the cauliflower rice actually sautés rather than steams.

If you don’t have a large skillet, consider wrapping the fresh cauliflower rice in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze any excess liquid you can from it before cooking. This will help with proper caramelization (browning).

Don’t skimp on oil. It helps you achieve that delicious caramelization.

Keep in mind that just like you can eat raw cauliflower florets, you can eat cauliflower rice raw. Plan to pair it with high-flavored foods, like a spicy Thai ginger-peanut “grain” bowl, for the most enjoyable cuisine experience.

And don’t forget to use all of the cauliflower parts to prevent food waste. The stalks and leaves can be sliced and added to soups or stir-fries.

Is cauliflower rice good for you?

Yes, cauliflower rice can be tasty. But is it healthy, too? The quick answer to that is an absolute yes.

Cauliflower nutrition facts

A one cup serving of chopped raw cauliflower florets, which is equivalent to 3.77 ounces (107 grams) of cauliflower rice, provides the following nutrients:

Calories

Fat:

Sodium:

Total Carbohydrate:

Dietary Fiber:

Sugars:

Protein:

Vitamin C:

Choline:

Calcium:

Iron:

Potassium

Health benefits of cauliflowerIt’s low in calories and carbs

Since cauliflower rice is significantly lower in calories and carbs than traditional rice, it’s a definite benefit for people that fit into this diet category.

It’s rich in vitamin C

International Journal of Molecular Sciences

Nutrients

It’s good for the gut

It’s all in the family. Since cauliflower is part of the Brassica family of plants and classified as a cruciferous veggie, it means cauliflower rice is, too.

Molecular Nutrition & Food Research

Brassica

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Plus, even if you’re enjoying cauliflower rice just like a grain, it helps boost your overall veggie intake. And let’s face it, some folks need all the help they can get.

It may reduce risk for cancer

What’s old news is new news. Cruciferous vegetables, like cauliflower, have long been associated with cancer prevention. And there’s updated research to support this connection.

Molecular Nutrition & Food Research

Nutrition and Cancer

There’s still so much to learn about the health-protective and disease-fighting roles of plant nutrients.

F1000 Research

It’s a grain-free alternativeTips for buying cauliflower

You can find U.S. organically- or conventionally-grown fresh cauliflower in farmer’s markets and supermarkets all year long, which makes it easy to savor cauliflower rice dishes any time you wish.

When buying it, look for cauliflower heads that are firm and compact with tightly attached leaves. Store in the fridge for up to a week.

And don’t just choose white cauliflower. Be on the lookout for orange, purple, and green varieties, too. The green variety is also called Broccoflower. And don’t worry, nothing funky is added to get these gorgeous shades. They all taste the same, but you do get a boost of antioxidants in the orange and purple varieties.

Buying any color of cauliflower and making your own cauliflower rice is simple.

Cauliflower rice and traditional rice can coexist

While cauliflower rice can be served in place of rice, most people can absolutely enjoy both cauliflower rice and traditional rice.

In fact, you might actually want to call cauliflower rice something other than “rice,” so you think of both foods in separate, enjoyable, and healthful ways. Some simply call it riced cauliflower. But you can give it a unique name that suits your style, like blitzed cauliflower, cauliflower gems, or pearls of cauliflower.

Simple ways to enjoy cauliflower rice

No matter what you call cauliflower rice, enjoy it in these delightful ways:

Sauté, flavor as you wish (try lime zest, garlic, and cilantro or lemon zest, chives and dill), and serve as a simple side

Stir-fry it as the “rice” of fried rice

Simmer it into any soup to add rice-like texture and veggie goodness

Cook it with marinara sauce to create a Bolognese-style pasta sauce

Try it raw in place of any grain as a salad, like tabbouleh

Finally, I highly recommend trying my flavorful, globally-inspired cauliflower rice side dishes, Coconut Cauliflower Rice and Mexican-Style Cauliflower Rice. They’re sure to be the star of your plate.

Coconut Cauliflower Rice

Courtesy Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN

Recipe courtesy of Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN

Serves: 4

Serving size: 1 cup each

Ingredients:

1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and separated into large florets

2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil or avocado oil

1/4 cup (60 milliliters) organic coconut milk

3 scallions, green and white parts, minced

3/4 teaspoon fresh grated turmeric root

3/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems (or microgreens)

1/2 small red hot chili pepper, thinly sliced (optional)

Instructions:

In two batches, pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor until the size of couscous. (Makes seven to eight cups uncooked riced cauliflower.)

Add the coconut oil, coconut milk, scallions, turmeric, salt, and pepper to an extra-large cast-iron skillet or a wok and heat over medium-high. Add the riced cauliflower and cook while stirring until golden brown, about 12 minutes.

Adjust seasoning, sprinkle with cilantro and hot pepper (if using), and serve.

Per serving: 140 calories, 10g total fat, 9g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 490mg sodium, 10g total carbohydrate, 4g dietary fiber, 4g total sugars includes 0g added sugars, 4g protein

Mexican-Style Cauliflower Rice

Courtesy Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN

Recipe courtesy of Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN

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