Learn how to make cauliflower rice - the most popular side dish in keto cooking. This is the ultimate guide you need to make an easy and quick cauliflower rice dish that is full of flavor.
If you are looking for a traditional rice, quinoa or couscous substitute- look no further than this humble vegetable- Cauliflower.
The reason cauliflower is so popular is because it's so versatile and low in carb. It has a mild taste so it's easy to flavor it with spices and seasonings.
One cup of (100g) of cauliflower contains 5g of carbs, 3 of which are fiber. It's also high in Vitamin K and provides 77% of the RDI for Vitamin C. It also has Vitamin B6 and potassium.
With it's high nutrition profile, versatility and ease, it's one of the best cruciferous vegetable to include in your keto diet.
What is cauliflower or cauli rice?
It's simply cauliflower processed into rice like grains. In this post, I will show you how to make cauliflower rice in two simple ways.
Cauliflower rice can be substituted for rice, quinoa and couscous in your favorite dishes. You can add it raw to salads or use it to make keto fried rice, stuffed peppers or throw it in stews. Serve as a side dish with keto curries or other keto main dishes. The options are endless.
Let's see how to cut cauliflower to make "rice".
Remove the outer leaves of the cauliflower. Cut the stem on the bottom using a large knife so that it can stand on the board. Now cut the the cauliflower in half and then in quarters like in the picture.
Depending on how you want to rice cauliflower, you can keep the core on each cauliflower quarter or cut it off.
Let's look at two simple ways to rice the cauliflower.
How to make keto cauliflower rice with a grater
One way to rice the cauliflower is using a box grater. The grater I have is from IKEA. This requires some elbow grease but it gives evenly sized rice.
When using this method, hold the core on each quarter and push the cauliflower across the holes to grate. I find this to be easier than grating individual florets.
How to make cauliflower rice with a food processor
I find this method the easiest. After you quarter the cauliflower, separate the florets. Fill the food processor bowl with cauliflower florets till ¾th full. You'll need to leave enough room for the cauliflower to move when the processor is on. Depending on the size of your cauliflower you might need to do this in batches.
The next step is very important if you don't want a cauliflower mush. You need to PULSE it. Don't press the button and let it run. PULSE the cauliflower until it is chopped into small pieces.
Your chopped cauliflower should look similar to the one in the photo. I pulsed until I got to the above stage. If you still have any large pieces left, you need to remove them, pour out the cauliflower rice, and process the large florets again.
Now that you have the raw cauliflower rice, let's see how to make it a flavorful side dish.
How to cook keto cauliflower rice on the stove
To cook cauliflower on the stove I recommend a large non stick pan. Once you have the riced cauliflower, it's so easy to cook.
Sauté butter or oil in the pan on medium high heat. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic. Let it cook until the raw smell disappears. Add the riced cauliflower and stir. Add salt and crushed pepper. Cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. If it still looks raw and dry, sprinkle ¼ cup of water or chicken stock. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for additional 2 to 3 minutes until the cauliflower is tender. Adjust seasoning and serve.
How to cook cauliflower rice in the microwave
To cook cauliflower rice in the microwave, place the rice in a microwave safe dish. Cover and microwave for 2 minutes. Remove the dish from the microwave, lift the lid. Add salt and pepper. Microwave for another minute or two until the cauliflower rice is tender. Fluff with a fork. Add butter/oil to the cauliflower rice and stir it in.
Cooked cauliflower rice can be stored in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 5 days.
I don't recommend storing uncooked cauliflower rice in the fridge as they tend to turn brown and stinky.
Can you freeze cauliflower rice?
One of the good things about cauliflower rice is it freezes well. That makes it ideal for meal prep. You can freeze raw cauliflower rice but I like to blanch it or cook it first like you get in the stores. This will eliminate the odor when cooking frozen raw cauliflower rice.
Cook the cauliflower rice in the microwave for 2 minutes. Let it cool. Transfer individual portions of cooked rice into zip lock freezer bags and lay flat to freeze. You can keep this frozen cauliflower rice in your freezer up to 3 months.
How to cook frozen cauliflower rice
If you want to cook frozen cauliflower rice that's from the store or from your freezer, you can follow the same instructions as fresh cauliflower. It may take a few more minutes extra for all the water to evaporate.
Do not cover the pan when cooking cauliflower rice from frozen. We want the water to evaporate, not steam the cauliflower to a watery mush.
What to serve with low carb cauliflower rice
Cauliflower rice can be served as a side with variety of main dishes.
- Easy Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma - substitute cauliflower rice for pita wraps
- Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
- Sri Lankan Chicken Curry
Here are some answers to common questions on cauliflower rice
Definitely yes. Each serving has 7g carbs, out of that 3 is fiber. With 4g of net carbs per serving it will perfectly fit into your keto diet.
I used a medium head of cauliflower and it yielded 4 cups of raw cauliflower rice.
A large head of cauliflower would yield about 6 to 8 cups of cauliflower rice.
Note: Cooking will result in a slightly less yield. I was able to get 3.5 cups of cooked cauliflower rice.
Easy Keto Cauliflower Rice
- Grater or Food Processor
- 1 medium head of cauliflower
- 1.5 tablespoon butter or olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon pepper or to taste
- ¼ cup water or chicken stock optional
- Remove the outer layers of the cauliflower. Using a large knife to remove the bottom stem. Cut the cauliflower in half and then quarters.
- Rice the cauliflower using a food processor or a box grater. Skip if you have frozen cauliflower rice.
- Heat the butter in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until the raw smell disappears.
- Add the cauliflower rice, salt and crushed pepper. Cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. If it still looks raw and dry, sprinkle ¼ cup of water or chicken stock. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for additional 2 to 3 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.
- If using frozen cauliflower, leave the pan uncovered to let the water evaporate.
- Adjust seasoning and serve.