How to Make Cauliflower Rice
I am fortunate in that I don’t have any health or dietary issues that cause me to restrict which foods I eat - as long as that eating is done in moderation, of course. Like most people, I can very quickly overindulge when my favorite carbs and sweets are placed before me but, for the most part, I approach my daily food choices with a sense of balance. Which is probably why I had never embraced the cauliflower rice craze; when folks were going grain free, slashing carbs and passing off ground-up cauliflower for rice, I shuddered. Why should I eat a substitute and convince myself it is just as good when I can have the real thing? I admit I have always been a fan of cauliflower, either chopped up in the classic broccoli-cauliflower salad or simply steamed and covered in cheese sauce. So, my curiosity finally got the best of me and I decided to try cauliflower rice.
How To Make Cauliflower Rice
All you need is a head of cauliflower, a good knife, and your food processor (you can use a box grater if you have the time). Simply cut florets from the head and feed through the chute of the processor, pulsing until the vegetable is broken down into tiny rice-sized pieces. Go ahead and pulse the stem as well – the texture will be the same as the pulsed florets, and you won’t have any waste. You can also find cauliflower rice, either fresh or frozen, in your grocery store.
What Does It Taste Like?
There is no disguising the taste of cauliflower. While the light and tender texture may be a good stand in for rice or couscous in certain applications, you will still get the flavor of cauliflower, which is fine as long as realize that from the start.
How To Use Cauliflower Rice
If your salad or soup recipe calls for cooked rice or another grain, simply swap it out for the same amount of raw cauliflower rice, or it can quickly be cooked up as a new side dish to replace the standard mashed potatoes. You can also substitute cauliflower rice for the traditional rice in a stir fry dish or add it to tacos and enchiladas for extra texture. Rummaging through the freezer one night, I found a package of frozen cauliflower rice and, after a quick thaw in the microwave, I stirred it into my ground beef shepherd’s pie mixture. It was an easy way to add more vegetables and taste to an already delicious dish.
Don’t Do This With Cauliflower Rice
It is easy to make and lends itself to a lot of different uses, but there are a few don’ts when it comes to cauliflower rice. Don’t simmer it in water (as you would with couscous or rice) or the grains will become soft and mushy. Don’t sauté for too long, either, for the same reason. About three minutes on the stovetop, cooked in a little butter or olive oil, is all you need for the riced cauliflower to become soft and tender. One last tip: Don’t cook too much and try to store it in the refrigerator. A pot of real rice may last several days, but cauliflower rice will start to soften and take on a strong smell when kept in the refrigerator for too long. This whole grain substitute is best used the day it is made.
If you are cutting carbohydrates, going grain-free, or just looking for a new way to eat an old favorite, give cauliflower rice a try. You won't be fooled into thinking it is the real thing, but you might just find yourself enjoying this new way to eat an old favorite.