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How to Make Cauliflower Rice Taste Good

How to make cauliflower taste better

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.

TIPS ON 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

An illustrative chart depicting the health benefits of herbs and spices.

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. By using a bit of fat, you 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. With simple ingredients like cauliflower, adding a bit of fat 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

An illustrative chart depicting the health benefits of eating fruits and 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 in other vegetables not only distracts from the taste of cauliflower but adds color and textures to the rice. There are many different veggies you can add to the cauliflower rice, but here are some options:

  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Bell pepper
  • Broccoli
  • Peas

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 by using a food processor, this step is made way 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

A number of onions kept together

If you don’t want to add a ton of seasonings and herbs to the cauliflower, there is one ingredient that 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 there are so many other ways you can use grated cauliflower. 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 to not 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 not only save your cauliflower rice but will also 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 for too long, then it will become super soft and closer to mashed cauliflower. For the perfect cauliflower rice, you want the “grains” to be more tender.

Cook the raw cauliflower rice in a large skillet over medium-high heat for just a few minutes. The best way to know if the cauliflower is cooked is by tasting it. 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 cauli 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.

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