This simple cauliflower rice recipe is my go to when I need a quick and healthy, versatile side dish. You can make this in just 10-minutes and it’s a low carb substitute for real rice that is a perfect with stir fries, curry dishes, burritos, or grain bowls.
This post has been updated from the original posted on April 23, 2018.
The best recipes are quick and easy, nutritious and delicious. This simple cauliflower rice recipe is all that and so much more.
You’ll love this easy side dish recipe. It’s low in calories and carbs and you can get it onto the table in 15 minutes. Plus it’s going to go with whatever else you’re making.
Cauliflower Rice Recipes are a great substitution for regular rice because they provide the same satisfaction and are so easy to customize. Mediterranean Cauli-Rice is super tasty and I also love this tasty oven roasted Mexican cauliflower rice because it’s made on a sheet pan for easy clean up.
What is Cauliflower Rice?
- This low carb, grain-free alternative to regular rice chops cauliflower into grain-like pieces. It’s easy to make, easy to use and is a great way to lighten up a heavy meal.
- You can buy a whole cauliflower and use a food processor or a box grater to turn it into rice like pieces. Or, you can buy already riced cauliflower in the produce section or freezer aisle of your favorite grocery store.
- Cauliflower is one of the healthiest cruciferous vegetables you can get. It is loaded with fiber, Vitamins C, K, B6 and potassium. 1 cup of cauliflower rice has 25 calories vs. 218 for a cup of cooked brown rice. So, you’ll feel satisfied without feeling uncomfortably full.
- One large head of cauliflower will yield about 6 cups of cauli-rice. That is also equivalent to 24-oz of frozen riced cauliflower. One head of cauliflower is a nice substitution for 4 cups of real rice in a recipe.
Ingredients for Basic Cauliflower Rice
- Cauliflower: You could also use riced broccoli, or a combination of the two. All the details about cauliflower can be found in my post what to serve with cauliflower.
- Fresh Herbs: Not a fan of cilantro? Try using fresh parsley, oregano, basil or thyme. Fresh mint would be so refreshing, and a combo of any of these would also work well.
- Olive oil: Substitute with veggie broth for a no oil, healthy side dish. Using stock will also make this dish taste more like a cauliflower rice pilaf recipe.
- Citrus: Wash limes well before zesting. Substitute with lemon for some added zing, or orange for a sweeter final product.
- Seasoning: Keep it simple with sea salt and ground white or black pepper. See below for more variations, but you could use any flavor profile you love here. Zest a little garlic or ginger into the pan for great flavor without resorting to more oil or salt.
How to make Cauliflower Rice
It’s easy to turn a head of cauliflower into cauliflower rice. First you’ll trim the end with the leaves off. Then, roughly chop into florets. Next, use the shredding disc of your food processor and push the florets through so they come out in tiny pieces that resemble rice.
How to make cauliflower rice without a food processor:
Yes, it’s possible to make cauli-rice without a food processor. You can use the side of a box grater to shred the cauliflower. It’s easiest if you just cut the cauliflower in half after trimming the end off.
Another option is to buy cauliflower already riced. You can find it fresh in the produce section or in the freezer aisle of most grocery stores.
How to make this recipe
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl in the olive oil and then add riced cauliflower, salt and pepper. Use tongs or a spatula to stir while cooking until it begins to soften. 3-5 minutes.
Next you’ll add in the fresh herbs and lime zest and continue to toss and cook for about 3 minutes.
Squeeze the lime juice over the pan, toss well and taste for seasoning.
Cauliflower Rice Variations
- Mexican Cauliflower Rice: You could follow my oven baked Sheet Pan Mexican Cauliflower Rice Recipe or just add cumin, chili powder, tomato paste, minced jalapenos and oregano to this basic cauliflower rice recipe to give it the flavors you’re looking for. Diced bell peppers, green onions, sliced mushrooms and black beans would also be good additions.
- Asian Cauliflower Rice: Substitute toasted sesame oil for the olive oil. Skip the lime and use a splash of tamari, freshly grated ginger and garlic and add a Tablespoon of sesame seeds. You can also add snow peas, sliced bell peppers, shelled edamame and baked tofu.
- Mediterranean Cauliflower Rice: Swap the lime for lemon zest and lemon juice, add in some halved cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, olives, and oregano for delicious mediterranean flavor. Or, follow my mediterranean cauliflower rice recipe for the best flavor and a list of the rest of the ingredients for this easy low carb side dish.
- Vegan Main Dish Cauliflower Rice: Add in some lentils, beans, nuts or seeds for some plant based protein. Another great idea is to add in oven baked tofu. Simple and delicious.
- Cauliflower Rice Pilaf Recipe: Generally, this refers to cauliflower rice that’s been cooked in either veggie broth or chicken stock. Often a pilaf recipe will also contain butter, ghee or coconut oil to give the finished dish a rich and creamy flavor.
Debra’s Pro Tips
- Cook once, eat twice. Make it a double batch of this healthy cauliflower rice recipe! This way you’ll have some leftover to add to the mason jar salads you take to work, a simple stir fry dinner another night, your Taco Tuesday buffet or your Sunday brunch frittata.
- SPICE IT UP! A sprinkle of crushed red pepper, a thinly sliced jalapeno, or a dash of your favorite hot sauce will give this simple side dish some pizazz.
- Save money: Make your own cauli-rice with a food processor or a box grater.
- Save time: Buy already riced cauliflower in the produce section of your local grocery store or frozen cauliflower rice is available at big box stores as well as most supermarket chains.
MEAL PREP AND STORAGE
- SERVE: Serve warm or at room temperature as a healthy side dish. Add in some plant based protein like beans, lentils or nuts for a healthy vegan dinner or lunch.
- PREP AHEAD: Yes, this is perfect for meal prep. Reheat on a sheet pan in 350 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes, until heated through. Or, place a heavy skillet over medium heat and stir fry with olive oil until heated through.
- STORE: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Follow reheating instructions above.
- FREEZE: Freeze completely cooled finished cauliflower rice recipe in freezer safe container for up to 3 months.
More Healthy Cauliflower Recipes
Cauliflower Rice FAQs
Though often used interchangeably, there are nuances when using words to describe ingredients and finished recipes that are speaking about cauliflower. Riced cauliflower refers to a head of cauliflower that’s been grated or shredded to resemble rice in size and texture. Cauliflower rice refers to a finished dish, using riced cauliflower, that is ready to eat.
Absolutely. If the recipe calls for leftover cooked white rice or brown rice, you can substitute the same amount of cauliflower rice for the same result.
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Simple Cauliflower Rice
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large head cauliflower*
- ¾ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 2 limes zested and juiced
- If using a whole head of cauliflower, trim and cut into florets. Use the shredding disc of your food processor and put through the florets so they come out tiny pieces, resembling rice.If you don't have a food processor, you can use the side of a box grater. If using frozen riced cauliflower, you do not need to defrost first.
- Heat heavy, large skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl in olive oil, add cauli-rice, salt and pepper. Using tongs or a spatula, toss rice until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes for raw cauliflower or 3 minutes for frozen. Add in cilantro, l and cook, tossing for about 3 minutes. Zest the limes over pan and then squeeze the juice out. Toss well. Taste for seasoning, adding more S + P as needed.
- Serve hot or at room temperature. Leftover rice can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week. Reheat gently on stove top or in a 300 degree oven for about 15 minutes.