If you look hard enough, you will find a whole garden plundered of its cauliflower. Getting ready for a cauliflower cooking class—one that is pulverized down to cauliflower rice size requires all the white cruciferous florets you can muster. Let the heads roll! I will circle back to writing about cauliflower at large, for the purposes of this deep dive, I want us to consider the current craze that is riced cauliflower. Before you think you need special equipment to DIY, I’ll also talk through how to make cauliflower rice without food processor (though I use my food processor almost everyday and it’s my preferred method).
Because it is a craze and like all crazes, cauliflower rice will pass on. But, this idea of cutting a vegetable to make it accessible and give it new ideas or opportunities for being used is one we can lean on for years.
Cauliflower rice is essentially a cauliflower—florets and stems that have been processed down to the size of couscous or short grain rice. This hits on point number one that makes me a fan of riced cauliflower. Often, cauliflower stems get tossed along with those leaves (that’s food for thought for another day), but with riced cauliflower, you can’t tell the difference between stems and florets, so using the whole head is thumbs up.
Where to Find Cauliflower Rice in Grocery Stores
You can find riced cauliflower in the refrigerated produce section of stores like Trader Joe’s and then head over to the frozen aisle in any big box grocery store or natural food market and you can probably find it there too. But, here’s the thing, if you have the time make it yourself! It takes just a few minutes (under 5 easily) to pull apart the florets, chop the stem and process in a food processor for about 45 pulses.
Here’s another idea—there’s no need to pulverize cauliflower down to short grain rice size. In fact, when you think of how to make cauliflower rice without a food processor, using a box grater gives you options of different size holes too. You could opt for a bigger cut and aim for “long grain” size or pair up the size with what else you might be mixing in with the cauliflower (like corn or peas or small diced root veg like carrots / parsnips). I’m all in when it comes to ideas to eat more vegetables!
Measure Up: Cauliflower Head to Riced Cauliflower
When it comes to figuring out how much the yield is for riced cauliflower, here’s a rule of thumb I use:
- 1/2 pound cauliflower florets and stems pulsed 45 times yields 2 cups riced
How to Make Cauliflower Rice without a Food Processor
Don’t have a food processor? Use the large holes on a box grater or you can also try breaking down cauliflower florets in a blender.
Storing Riced Cauliflower in the Refrigerator & Freezer
One thing you definitely want to keep in mind is the longer you refrigerate the cauliflower, those lovely sulphuric aroma will release. Plan on using your cauli rice within 3 days if refrigerating. If you’re planning to process and freeze cauli rice for later use, you’ll want to blanch it and then spread it out on a paper towel lined sheet pan to take off some of the dampness. Then, transfer the cauli rice off the sheet pan—dry off the sheet pan—distribute the cauli rice back onto the sheet pan to freeze for 20 minutes or more before transferring into a large freezer-safe zipseal bag. You can then use the cauliflower straight from the freezer or thaw first.
How to Use Riced Cauliflower
Ready to get started? Riced cauliflower can be steamed, boiled, fried, and even roasted. Let your imagination go. Swap in the cauli rice for the filling in these TexMex lettuce wraps. Cook and drain it thoroughly to use in pizza crusts, crackers and even bread. Stir-fry it in place of rice grains. Simmer it for cilantro lime cauli rice. Scent the oil with spices and then infuse that seasoning into the cauliflower for jeweled cauliflower rice. Not enough yet? Toss with bread crumbs of equal size, oil and dried herbs for a crispy salad or soup topping.
Beware the Health Halo
One thing to point out here is that just like kale during its hey-day, if you look at buying cauliflower products in retail store frozen aisles, outside of the vegetable section, make sure you check out the ingredients and nutrition panels. There’s a serious health halo happening right now around cauliflower. I love that cauliflower is being added to more mealtimes, but also naturally skeptical.
That said, if you are gluten-free or trying to sneak in more vegetables wherever you can, I have to admit the Cali-Flour cookbook is a keeper—you will be amazed to see what kind of texture you can achieve from steamed / boiled riced cauliflower that’s been squeezed dry of all liquid. It’s remarkable. And! I got to meet author and cauliflower crust craze creator, Amy Lacey, not long ago at the Fancy Food show. It really does go to show how where there is a will, there is a way. Many me-too offshoots have spawned since she first perfected how to create a crunchy cauliflower crust for pizza her gluten-free kids would devour (and the hidden bonus of veggies). But you have to put muscle behind it. For my upcoming cauliflower class, I even weighed the cauliflower after the liquid’s removed to ensure cooks what weight you can achieve, removing the liquid.
We, are like cauliflower if you think about it—Did you know 60% of the human body is made up of water? We don’t see it or think about it (just like with cauliflower until you see how little mass is left over and how much liquid is amazingly in a head of cauliflower). It’s one of the reasons, I’d venture that eating more plants is good for us beyond all of the nutrients—but then again, I’m no RD or nutritionist—I just come to cauliflower for the taste! One important thing to note here when using riced cauliflower as cauliflower meal is to consider the other ingredients being used and whether they put whatever you’re making in the eat occasionally category or eat often column. I worry sometimes that this idea of eating more vegetables gets lost in the other ingredients with which they get married—you’re still eating more veggies, but just like food product developers who make boxed and bagged foods in grocery stores, can I suggest that keeping veggies the primary ingredient for the eat often ideas?
Cheering you on as you think of more ways to eat riced cauliflower! Tell me how you like to eat cauli rice in the comments below.