How to Make Cauliflower Rice

First, my apologies folks. This was supposed to go up yesterday but…it just didn’t…that’s all…

So rice is the last starchy carb I have to talk about this week. We’ve already discussed oatmeal, pasta, cereal and bread. Check those out if you haven’t already.

Rice. Again, some post-ops eat it. Some don’t. I don’t. The reason started out with piety (I wanted to be a good new post-op so I avoided all starchy carbs for a long time) and now it’s just second nature to skip the rice. Once you’ve developed a habit like that you should give some thought as to whether you want to reverse it. I didn’t want to so I don’t generally eat rice.

And even though my dishes are good without the rice, there are some things I want served over top of something. In those instances (like the beautiful and easy chicken curry pictured above), I turn to cauliflower rice.

Now when I tell other post-ops about cauliflower rice I get a million and two reasons why they cannot prepare it. Among them:

“I don’t know if I can eat cauliflower.”

“It seems like it’d take too long to make.”

“That’s too much prep work.”

Hogwash! First, cauliflower, when cooked properly is a veggie that works for many post-ops (barring the new, new new newbies). For the sake of argument, I tested the prep time for the method I outline below against a boil in bag of brown rice. My cauliflower rice took the exact same amount of time. And as you’ll see from the method I describe, you can make it using minimal prep.

So here we go. Basically it’s a ridiculously easy three step method.

Step One: The Florets

This either can or cannot be a full fledged step, depending on your preference. I personally love prepping veggies and so if I catch a big, beautiful head of cauliflower at the famer’s market (especially purple cauliflower cuz I think it’s cool), I’ll floret it myself. Even this doesn’t take a lot of time. You simply cut off the stem, cut the cauliflower in quarters and begin to cut florets from it. Floret is just a fancy word for the tops of the cauliflower (the tree looking part) along with very little of the stem. Most of the time, however, I use frozen florets like the ones pictured above.

Step Two: The Big Boil

Bring a big pot of water to boil. If you are using fresh cauliflower you’re going to want to “parboil” it. Parboil is short for “partially boil.” Basically you put it in the water for about 3-5 minutes, or until it turns slightly yellowish/brown. If you are using frozen florets, you have to boil them a bit longer because the florets will bring down the water temperature. So dump them in there, let them return to a boil and then let them go for about five minutes.

Step Three: The Mash

Once your cauliflower is softened (you should be able to pierce it easily with a fork) drain it. Now food experts will have you put it into an ice water bath to immediately stop the cooking. I don’t have the time or inclination to do all that (plus it creates more dishes than I want to wash). I simpy rinse the florets in cold water until they stop steaming and then return them to the pot. Then comes the fun part. I go at them with a potato masher! Mash your florets until they no longer look like florets.

From there I usually return them to the collander one more time to make sure I’ve drained all the excess water (soggy cauliflower rice is not fun) and then transfer to a bowl, like so:

To me there are many benefits to the cauliflower rice. It’s still a source of carbs, but less of them. More importantly to me, though, is the fact that I can eat a halfway normal portion of cauliflower rice with no pouch ache. And, as an added bonus, if take five steps back from your plate, turn five degrees south by southwest and tilt your head at a 26 degree angle…it looks JUST like real rice!

So…now that you know how to make cauliflower rice, next week I’ll show you how to make an insanely popular Indian dish to serve over it. And the week after that I’ll show you how to make a Southern favorite. And on and on…

Play with your food!

How to Make Cauliflower Rice
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How to Make Cauliflower Rice
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  1. I love cauliflower substitutes, I use it to make mashed potatoes and even a version of potato salad too. YUMMY I have not made it look like rice but guess whats going with my chicken stir fry next week?

  2. Craftymumz Creations

    This is such a great suggestion! I LOVE Cauliflower and never thought to use it as a base instead of rice. I imagine it could be used for beef stroganoff in place of pasta? Also in place of potatoes or breads in other "open face" type dishes. And I never remember that it can be bought frozen! I always look for fresh and worry about cost. Frozen would be much more cost effective! THANK YOU!

  3. I love chicken over rice but stay away from starches since surgery. I am going to try the cauliflower tomorrow! It looks delicious

  4. I make mashed cauliflower with some sour cream, butter, cheese, green onions and Hidden Valley Ranch dry salad dressing mix. I dont have a lot but it sure tastes good!

  5. Will try this tomorrow, Sounds delish!

  6. Can you freeze it? How long would it keep in the fridge, do you think?

  7. Hi Cheryl! It freezes well especially when you use a food saver machine or the like. In the fridge I'd say 5 days or so. Hope that helps!

  8. Can I use this method to make broccoli rice? I’m not a big fan of cauliflower, but I’d like a alternative to rice…

    • Mary that sounds like something worth trying out! Birdseye makes a frozen riced cauliflower/sweet potato blend that is so very yummy! I know sweet potatoes are higher in carbs but just occasionally it’s anice little change it up treat.

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