Are you new to the cauliflower rice train? I’m not big on fads but this one looks like it will be around a while. Plus, I’m not following a low-carb or grain-free diet but I liked the idea of using it as an easy way to add some more vegetables onto my plate. And I do like the crumbly, almost couscous-like texture of cauliflower rice.
However, I’ve found there’s a right and a wrong way to cook the grain alternative. If you’re not careful, you can easily be left with a bowl of soft, tasteless mush that’s just really not appealing at all. These five tips will prevent that from happening:
Don’t defrost it if it’s frozen.
Frozen cauliflower rice is a great convenience and it’s usually less expensive than the fresh cauliflower rice available at the grocery store. It doesn’t need to be thawed before cooking because if defrosted, it will release too much water, which will result in soggy cauliflower.
Sauté instead of simmer.
Simmering cauliflower rice in water like regular rice will only leave it water-logged and overcooked. All cauliflower rice needs — whether it’s fresh or frozen —is to be sautéed in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil (or butter, ghee, or coconut oil, if you prefer).
Use high heat.
I know most recipes call for cooking cauliflower rice over medium heat, but I find it does better with a little more heat, so I crank up the stove to medium-high. I make sure the skillet is slick with olive oil so there’s no risk of the rice sticking and I toss it in when it’s nice and hot. I find it helps any water in the rice evaporate faster, which is especially important when cooking it from frozen, to achieve fluffier, more flavorful results.
Cook it quickly.
The little bits of cauliflower will cook quite fast so if you sauté them too long, they’ll lose their toothsome chew and become too soft. At medium-high heat, cauliflower rice will only take a couple of minutes to become perfectly tender.
Try not to meal prep it.
While it might seem like a good idea to make a big batch of cauliflower rice to then dig into all week long, it just doesn’t keep as well as, say, a big batch of quinoa or brown rice. It will unfortunately start to soften and spoil after a few days so your best bet is to just make as much as you need for the next day or two.
Here’s my favorite recipe:
Garlic Herb Cauliflower Rice
16 oz. store-bought cauliflower rice or 1 medium head cauliflower
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 T. butter or substitute extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup chopped fresh herbs like parsley, dill, cilantro, and basil
1 T. lemon juice or more to taste
1. Warm the garlic in melted butter in a wide skillet.
2. Stir in the cauliflower rice and cook, stirring often, until the rice starts to turn tender and picks up a little color.
3. Take the rice off the heat, and stir in lots of fresh herbs, toasted sliced almonds, fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Serves 6-8 as a side dish
NOTE: If you have a whole head of cauliflower, in order to rice it there are two methods:
The quickest method for making cauliflower rice is to use a food processor. Simply cut a head of cauliflower into large chunks and toss them into the bowl of your food processor. Then simply pulse until the cauliflower is processed into tiny bits.
If you don’t have a food processor, you can still make cauliflower rice! I use a box grater and grate florets along the side with the larger holes. The texture won’t be exactly the same as when you use a food processor, but it still does the trick.
I’d love to hear in the comments below if you try this recipe!