An easy 20-minute recipe for cauliflower rice that you can play with and adjust to your liking. It truly is a wonderful keto and paleo substitute for the real thing!
Leftovers keep well for several days in the fridge, and you can also freeze them and then reheat them directly from their frozen state.
I've been making this delicious recipe at least once a week over the past six years. It amazes me how well it works as a substitute for white rice! It's not just delicious, but also very similar in its mouthfeel and texture to the real thing.
Even my kids, who eat a higher-carb diet than I do, are happy to eat this dish - especially when I use it as a bed for saucy main dishes such as butter chicken.
The list of ingredients needed to make this tasty side dish is delightfully short. The exact amounts are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Fresh cauliflower: You can use a whole head or buy pre-washed florets.
Oil: Either a neutral-tasting avocado oil or flavorful extra-virgin olive oil. Butter is also an option.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the dish could end up too salty.
Minced garlic: Mince it yourself, or use the stuff that comes in a jar. Both work, although freshly minced garlic does taste better.
This is such an easy recipe! The detailed instructions are listed in the recipe card below. Here are the basic steps:
Process the cauliflower in your food processor into tiny "grains."
Saute it in some oil until it's tender, but not mushy.
Add a little salt, pepper, and garlic. That's it!
Try not to overcook the cauliflower. You don't want it to be raw, but you want it to still have a "bite." You don't want it mushy. So make sure to remove it from the heat as soon as it's no longer raw.
Frequently asked questions
No. Personally, I think it's very tasty. Obviously, this is a matter of personal taste, and you'll need to try and decide for yourself.
It does not taste like real rice, although it does have a surprisingly similar texture and mouthfeel.
If you like cauliflower, I think you will agree with me that this keto substitute is perfect. But it's not as bland and neutral as white rice. It has a slightly bitter vegetable taste.
Yes. And you can cook it from its frozen state. When I first started making this recipe, back in 2013, we had to process the cauliflower in the food processor. Not exactly difficult to do, but kind of tedious.
Fast forward a few years, and you can now buy it pre-riced at the grocery store, fresh or frozen.
I still provide the original directions in the recipe card below, for those who can't find it in their store. But as you can see in the video below, I now use convenient store-bought packages.
It doesn't need to be! If you opt for the frozen packages, those are relatively pricey. Pre-shredded fresh riced cauliflower is a bit more expensive than a whole cauliflower head.
But you can simply buy a head of cauliflower and finely chop it in your food processor. It's easy and affordable.
This is the perfect bed for saucy dishes that you would normally serve on top of white rice.
It also goes well with saucy dishes such as:
Variations and substitutions
In the basic recipe, used as a bed for stir-frys and sauce dishes, I use neutral-tasting avocado oil and add just salt, pepper, and garlic.
This basic recipe is actually very tasty, so you can also simply serve it as a side dish, just as it is.
But if you do make it as a side dish, and not as a bed for saucy main courses, it doesn't have to be neutral-tasting. In this case, by all means, go ahead and make it more interesting!
You can, for example, cook the cauliflower in flavorful olive oil instead of avocado oil.
Or you can cook it in butter, and when it's done, take it off the heat. Then mix in 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan and perhaps a pinch of dried thyme.
This is actually one of my favorite ways of making this side dish. And yet another great variation is to make cauliflower fried rice.
Leftovers keep well in the fridge, in an airtight container, for about 3 days.
Reheat them, covered, in the microwave on 50% power to ensure even heating. You can also successfully freeze leftovers for up to three months.
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Perfect Cauliflower Rice
- 1 medium head cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- Trim the cauliflower and coarsely chop it. Place the chopped cauliflower in your food processor and process, in a few batches if needed, until it has the texture of rice. You should have about 1 lb. of riced cauliflower.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until almost tender, about 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until tender, 1 more minute. Remove immedately from the heat and serve.