If the irony of this post falling in line right after a post about a rice cooker, doesn’t show you just how much I believe in living a life of moderation – I am not sure what will. Though I am not 100% grain-free or paleo, I do try very hard to limit my intake of grains, these days. I haven’t found that I need to cut them out 100% of the time, but I do notice that if I eat less grains and I am more mindful of how often I do eat them, it really does make a significant difference in how I feel. But, now and again is fine with me.
Coming up with grain-free desserts, choosing lettuce, collard greens or Swiss chard wraps over bread and rolls, zucchini pasta in place of regular pasta – these are all things I do regularly to cut back on the amount of grains I am consuming. That said, I do still enjoy pizza and pasta now and again, I will on occasion make a loaf of gluten-free bread and sometimes a good ‘ol fashioned cookie, made with grains is just what I want.
Allowing myself to have what I want and not completely cutting it all out of my life, is far easier for me. All of these types of choices and decisions have become much more of a lifestyle for me, rather than a diet or some set of rules that I follow. By changing life long habits and making wiser choices, I really feel so much more free and I never feel restricted or stuck. I also feel like I am free to listen to my body and I can allow myself to indulge now and again.
Cauliflower rice was something I discovered a while back and although it cannot completely replace traditional rice in all recipes, it is truly wonderful when you are enjoying a dish that calls for a bed of rice – curries, stews, sauces and so on. Usually the rice is a nice way to have a more filling meal, to offer some texture and a way to soak up some of the extra sauce, so cauliflower rice is such a perfect substitution for these dishes and it is so incredibly easy to make. Done in about 10 minutes, or less.
You can certainly enjoy it raw, but I find that raw cauliflower can have a bit of an intense flavor to it, so I prefer to cook it for a few minutes to get it tender and to give it a much more subtle taste.
Another great perk of cauliflower rice – you can make it in big batches and freeze it raw. Pull it out, thaw for about 30 minutes, heat up as usual and there you go.
Now before we carry on, it should be said that you will not fool ANYONE by serving them cauliflower rice instead of rice, there is no mistaking that it isn’t rice. It won’t work in all recipes that call for rice, casseroles, and the like and it certainly tastes a bit like cauliflower still, but for me it is a wonderful option when I am looking to avoid grains.
So, let’s get to it. How-to Make Cauliflower Rice:
1. Take your head of cauliflower and with a paring knife cut away any brown spots. Remove the green leafs from the head of cauliflower. Cut the head of cauliflower into florets, removing and discarding the core. Wash the floret well and let them drain until completely dry. You can also pat dry with paper towels. You don’t want them wet at all.
2. Add the florets to your food processor, I do half of the head at a time. Working in batches is the way to go. Pulse a handful times of times or process quickly just until it is chopped and has a rice-like texture. Don’t go too far or it will be mush. Alternatively you can use a hand grater but it takes a TON of time and it’s a hell of a workout.
3. Heat a small amount of olive oil or coconut oil (just a couple of teaspoons) in a skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat and add the cauliflower rice. Stir it around and allow it to cook for 5-8 minutes. Just until it is tender and barely starting to brown. Season with salt and pepper, to taste or any another complimentary herbs or spices to the dish you are serving it with, that you’d like. Serve and enjoy.
chopped raw onion or minced garlic can be added in when pulsing the cauliflower and it adds a nice extra little bit of flavor.
fresh cilantro and lime juice
Unlike regular rice, super saucy dishes won’t be totally absorbed by the cauliflower rice, so don’t overload it with sauce if you are hoping for that.
You can also steam or cook your cauliflower rice in the oven. I always end up cooking it this way shown above, in my cast iron skillet, because it is the easiest and has the best flavor.
If you don’t mind the flavor of raw cauliflower, you can also just enjoy the cauliflower rice totally uncooked, but it really isn’t my favorite and it is much easier to digest when cooked.
Serve with your favorite curries, stir fries, stews or other saucy dishes. I recently served it with this 30-Minute Sweet Potato and Kale Coconut Curry.
Try cauliflower rice in place of regular rice in your favorite fried rice recipe.
Use in place of couscous in tabouleh or other salad recipes.
Instead of rice or other grains in pilafs.
Add into chicken soup in place of rice.