Whether you’re trying to lower your carb intake or get more veggies into your diet, you have probably tried cauliflower rice. Some people love cauliflower rice, while others don’t enjoy it at all. Most of the complaints surrounding cauliflower rice come from people saying it’s soggy and lacks flavor. Unlike traditional rice, cauliflower rice needs a few tricks to make it more palatable. It isn’t something you can cook without seasoning like you can with regular rice! Let’s learn how to make cauliflower rice taste good!
What is Cauliflower Rice?
Cauliflower rice is a popular white rice substitute made from grated cauliflower. Heads of cauliflower are washed, trimmed, and then processed until they are the size of a grain of rice. Many enjoy eating cauliflower rice because it is an easy way to lower their carb intake.
It is important to note that cauliflower rice doesn’t taste like rice; it tastes like cauliflower. Luckily, cauliflower has a plain flavor that works well as a base for flavorings and experimentations. It works in a similar way to rice, but it won’t taste exactly like traditional rice.
How to Make Cauliflower Rice Taste Good
Cook it with a bit of broth
When cooking cauliflower rice, you don’t have to add water like you would regular rice. Cauliflower already has quite a bit of water in it, so adding more liquid would lead to a soggy “rice.” However, by adding just a splash of broth, the cauliflower will take on much more flavor.
Chicken broth is the best to add to cauliflower rice, but you can also use vegetable broth to keep the rice vegan-friendly. Whichever broth you decide to add, it will make a huge difference to the cauliflower rice. Just make sure to only add a bit of broth and not too much. Otherwise, it’ll get soggy and mushy.
Add in seasoning and flavorings
The easiest way to spice up cauliflower rice is to literally spice it up! Play with different herbs and spices to make your own unique cauliflower rice. Most of the best cauliflower rice recipes rely on using a bit of citrus. Squeeze some lemon juice into the cauliflower rice, then add some garlic powder, minced garlic, cilantro, soy sauce, or parsley.
These additions can help make the rice taste more refreshing and lighter without being overwhelming. It’s still best to keep the seasonings somewhat simple so that you can pair the cauliflower rice easier with your main meal.
Cook it with some fat
Using fat when cooking cauliflower rice may seem like it’s taking away the health benefits of the vegetable, but it’s not as bad as it seems. Using a bit of fat can give the rice a ton of flavor without sacrificing its health benefits. Stick with healthier fats like olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil, and use it sparingly when cooking the rice.
Fat adds a lot of flavor to whatever food it’s added to. Adding a bit of fat with simple ingredients like cauliflower will boost its natural flavors, so you won’t need to add as many additional ingredients. There is no need to fear oil and fat! When used in moderation, it’s completely okay to use and eat.
Check that your cauliflower is still good
Before even starting to make cauliflower rice, make sure it hasn’t gone bad. This tip is mainly for those making cauliflower rice from fresh cauliflower. It is important to look out for discoloration and brown spots on the cauliflower. These are signs that the veggie may not be okay to eat. If you aren’t planning on making the cauliflower rice right away, it may be better to buy frozen grated cauliflower. You won’t have to worry about frozen cauliflower going bad, so there is less to worry about before making the rice.
Mix in other vegetables
Sometimes the best way to make something taste better is to mix it with other ingredients and hide it. If you can’t taste only the cauliflower, then you probably won’t mind eating it as much. Adding other vegetables distracts from the taste of cauliflower and adds color and textures to the rice. There are many different veggies you can add to the cauliflower rice, but here are some options:
- Bell pepper
Use your food processor
Fresh cauliflower is generally made by grating a head of cauliflower, but that can be messy and time-consuming. Sometimes making cauliflower rice by hand doesn’t feel worth it, but using a food processor makes this step easier. Food processors can also grind the cauliflower easier and make it a better shape and size.
Grating cauliflower by hand can cause different shapes and sizes of cauliflower bits. Using your food processor can help everything be more even, so the cauliflower rice will cook more evenly. Use the S-blade to get the cauliflower “grated” perfectly.
Give the cauliflower a squeeze
For those using fresh cauliflower rice, make sure to give it a good squeeze before sautéing it. After grating or processing the cauliflower, wrap it in a paper towel or cheesecloth and gently squeeze the cauliflower. This will help take out some of the moisture in cauliflower. You’ll be able to get a much nicer texture from the cauliflower if you remove some of its moisture. Skipping this step tends to make cauliflower rice soggy or mushy, which no one wants!
Add in sautéed onions
If you don’t want to add a ton of seasonings and herbs to the cauliflower, one ingredient will help a lot. Onions! Sautéing some diced onions in oil before cooking the cauliflower rice adds a lovely sweet and savory flavor to the rice. It is best to use white or yellow onions so it does not overwhelm the rice’s flavors. But feel free to use other onions to get different flavors out of your cauliflower rice.
Give it an international spin
Cauliflower rice is a white rice substitute, so use it in any international dish that uses rice. With all the different spices, seasonings, and herbs, you’ll forget that you’re eating cauliflower! The two best international recipes to try with cauliflower rice are fried rice and Mexican-inspired taco rice. You can also try adding in things like curry powder to give it an Indian flair. Cauliflower rice doesn’t have to be plain. There are many ways to switch things up and make the rice taste like an international experience.
Turn the rice into something else
Sometimes no matter how much you add to cauliflower rice, you may just not enjoy it. That’s completely okay because you can use grated cauliflower in so many other ways. Rather than using it as a rice substitute, use those cauliflower grains to make a pizza crust! Let’s be honest; you can’t really go wrong with pizza.
The cauliflower makes for a nice, crispy pizza “dough” and pairs well with tomato sauce and cheese. It might not be the healthiest meal, but it will be a lot healthier than having delivery pizza.
Skip thawing the frozen cauliflower rice
With most frozen foods, thawing is a necessary step. But with frozen cauliflower rice, it is actually better not to thaw it! This may sound strange, but leaving the frozen cauliflower to thaw will release way too much moisture.
The most important thing to do when cooking cauliflower rice is to have as little water in the vegetable as possible. Having too much moisture will lead to a bowl of soggy cauliflower rice, so it is important to be careful. Luckily, not thawing the frozen cauliflower will save you time cooking. It’s a great tip that will save your cauliflower rice and make your life much easier.
Don’t overcook the cauliflower rice
This may sound like a simple tip, but it’s actually very easy to overcook cauliflower rice. The cauliflower is cut down very small, so it cooks much faster than some may expect. If you cook the rice too long, it will become super soft and closer to mashed cauliflower. You want the “grains” to be more tender for the perfect cauliflower rice.
Cook the raw cauliflower rice in a large skillet over medium-high heat for just a few minutes. Tasting is the best way to know if the cauliflower is cooked. Give it a taste and see if it has reached the desired texture.
Crank up the heat
Similar to the previous step, how you cook cauliflower rice is the most important part. Many cauliflower rice recipes say the rice should be cooked on medium heat, but it’s best to cook it at medium-high heat. And it’s better to add the rice in when the oil and pan are hot – similar to fried rice recipes.
Having a hot pan and cooking the rice with high heat helps cook off the water much faster for a better textured and better-tasting cauliflower rice. Each stove is different, so keep an eye on the rice while it cooks to prevent any cauliflower from burning.
Can You Make Cauliflower Rice in a Blender?
Yes, you can make cauliflower rice in a blender! Place cauliflower florets into the blender, filling only about halfway. This will ensure even blending. Use the pulse setting on your blender, and pulse in short bursts until the cauliflower resembles the texture of rice. Be sure not to over-process, or it will become too fine. Some blenders even have a specific “riced cauliflower” setting, making it simple and quick.