One of the best alternatives to rice, especially while on the Paleo diet, it’s riced cauliflower. Here are five delicious recipes.
Oh, Cauliflower. You’re really kind of an ugly vegetable, aren’t you? Milky-white and bland, and sort of brain-ish in appearance. Ew. You’ve neither the perky green hues of Broccoli nor the fractal-y flair of Romanesco.
But still, you’ve got something that neither one of your more beautiful relatives have, something I think puts you far, far above them:
The ability to mimic rice.
For someone who is new to eschewing grains of all kinds, this can be a welcome addition to meals.
The Healthier Alternative For Rice
Cauliflower’s texture, versatility, the way it absorbs flavors, even the way the “grains” stick together, lend familiarity when you are trying a lot of new things at once.
I’ve used a lot of different methods, and this is the one that I’ve found yields the tastiest rice. The secret? Don’t skimp on the fat.
By now you’re familiar with the idea that fat is good for you, and in fact, since you’re going to be ingesting less simply because you’re omitting refined (and most “natural”) sugars, grains, legumes, and (most) dairy, fat is an excellent way to make up those calories.
What kind of fat you use will determine what kind of dishes the rice will go with. Below is a template for a basic riced cauliflower recipe.
It’s what I use when I might add the rice into a few different kinds of dishes. Then I’ll give some ideas for fat/spice combos I use for specific dishes – Thai, Chinese, Mexican, Indian, and Italian.
You’ll quickly begin to come up with your own combos.
The Basic Riced Cauliflower Recipe
For this recipe, you’ll need a food processor. If you don’t have one, you can use a cheese grater. Prep time will just take a little longer.
Ingredients (enough for 4-6 servings):
- 1 head of cauliflower;
- 3-5 tablespoons (or more) Fat of Choice (FOC); For the basic rice, I use unrefined coconut oil or butter;
- Salt to taste;
- Run the cauliflower through the food processor, using the grater blade. (I use a 7-cup food processor and by the time I get done shredding one head of cauliflower it’s usually full.)
- Heat your FOC in a large frying pan over medium heat.
- Dump the cauliflower into the pan and stir, making sure it’s completely coated with the fat. Continue to stir often for about 10 minutes, or until soft.
- Cover it at first to get it cooked a little faster, but uncover it toward the end to let any liquid in the pan evaporate.
- If you want it to act like rice and absorb flavors and liquids from other foods, it needs to be a little dry.
- Once it’s nearly cooked, add any salt or other spice you wish.
5 Riced Cauliflower Variations
Here are some variations of riced cauliflower with added taste and texture:
1. Thai Dish
For Thai dishes or other dishes that have a coconut milk base: follow the template and add 2-3 tablespoons of coconut butter at the end.
2. Chinese Dish
Finely dice a carrot and add that at the same time you add the cauliflower. Use coconut aminos to season toward the end and finish with a drizzle of sesame oil.
You could even fry an egg into this mixture after all is said and done and make a “fried rice” kind of deal.
3. Indian Dish
Use red palm oil instead of coconut oil. Add some powdered turmeric, cumin, and coriander at the time you add the salt. Top with chopped cilantro.
4. Mexican Dish
Use either coconut oil or red palm oil, add some cumin and oregano. Top with lime zest and chopped cilantro.
5. Italian Dish
Use butter, add some minced garlic at the beginning of cooking, and add an Italian seasoning blend at the end.
Finish with a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) and top with chopped basil. (I don’t normally use EVOO in high-temperature situations, but it’s so important for a Mediterranean flavor, so I add it to the end).
Riced cauliflower is a great Paleo dish, full of flavor and texture. And since there are so many alternatives to the basic recipe, you can even come up with your own.
Just follow the instructions for the basic recipe, and “spice it up” with your favorite ingredients.
I’ve already tried the Thai, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, and Italian dishes and they taste incredible. You’ve got to try them!
Got any ideas for how to make riced cauliflower? Let us know below in the comments!