I used to think I ate fairly healthy, but lately my daughter and daughter-in-law, Britta & Kaitlyn, are making me question that assumption! They are both on a healthy-eating mission and, dare I say, teaching this “old dog” some new tricks?! Case in point…today’s post about Cauliflower Rice. Who knew one of my favorite vegetables (that admittedly I don’t eat enough of) could be used in so many different ways and in so many different recipes!? Once again, not ME! Thankfully Kaitlyn is going to educate ALL of us today!
One of my major obsessions passions in life is healthy eating. I’m not always the best at actually executing a perfectly healthy diet, but I loooove to research healthy recipes and diets. It’s a joke between my husband and I that I constantly start conversations by saying “So I was reading this article…” He knows that any sentence that starts with those words will end with me telling him something he should or should not be eating.
One of the things I’ve seen all over food blogs and social media lately is cauliflower EVERYTHING! It’s such a trendy vegetable right now – kind of like kale. Turns out it’s trendy for good reason!
While cauliflower is an extremely versatile recipe ingredient, it also has a whole host of health benefits. It’s high in vitamin C, potassium, fiber and folic acid, and, for those watching their weight, it’s also extremely low in calories – one cup only has about 27 calories (compare that to 204 calories in a cup of regular white rice!) Check out this article for a more in-depth look at the health benefits of cauliflower.
Jillee did a post back in 2012 on how to make a cauliflower pizza crust that turned out great! I’ve wanted to try out some other ways of using cauliflower for ages. This week I finally got around to making cauliflower rice! As I’m apt to do, I read a whole bunch of blogs to figure out the best way to make it. I found three general ways of cooking it that I decided try out.
But before you can cook the cauliflower you have to turn it into “rice.”
HOW TO MAKE CAULIFLOWER RICE
Start by cutting the stem off the cauliflower and then chop the crown into smaller pieces.
Next, you can either use a blender/food processor or a cheese grater to “rice” the cauliflower.
I tried both and decided that the blender or food processor is the far superior method. I put a handful of cauliflower into my Blendtec, pulsed it a few times and it was done! The cheese grater worked fine but it made such a mess. Cauliflower is so crumbly that I ended up with little pieces of it all over the counter after using the grater.
At this point if you don’t think you’ll be able to eat the whole batch you can freeze some of the cauliflower. I got this idea from Alyssa at everydaymaven.com. She suggests freezing it in 2 cup portions.
Now it’s time to cook our “rice!”
Like I mentioned above I tried 3 different methods.
First up, the oven method.
Spread your cauliflower out in single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 475 for 15-20 minutes, flipping the cauliflower one time.
I couldn’t ever get my cauliflower to really dry out. I think I should have dried it out a bit before cooking because it ended up kind of steaming in the oven. But it still browned up a bit and tasted great.
Next up, the microwave method.
Put your cauliflower in a microwave safe dish and cover. Microwave for 2-3 minutes.
This ended up being my least favorite method. The microwave steams the cauliflower and it ends up tasting exactly like tiny little pieces of steamed cauliflower. Not that there is anything wrong with steamed cauliflower, but it’s not really the result I’m going for when making cauliflower rice.
Finally, the stove method.
I read quite a few more complicated stove recipes that involved adding onions, chicken broth and seasonings, but I wanted something as simple as possible.
I just heated a couple tablespoons of olive oil (coconut oil would be great too) in a pan and then added my cauliflower. I sautéed the cauliflower until it dried out a bit and had golden brown edges.
This was by far my favorite method! I loved the flavor that the oil added. And the cauliflower browned up so nicely. The texture was much better than the oven or microwave batches.
Now, even though I thought it turned out delicious I will say that it does not taste exactly like rice. It definitely still tastes like cauliflower. But the texture makes it a perfect rice substitute in a lot of recipes. From what I read you’ll generally want to use it with drier foods. Cauliflower tends to really suck up liquid so it’s not a great substitute in casseroles with heavy sauces.
I made Cauliflower Fried Rice for dinner last night and it was a hit! I added some grilled chicken to bulk it up a bit and make it a more complete meal. Even my husband liked it and he tends to be very leery of “healthy” food. His words were, “I can tell it’s not rice, but I don’t care!”