Faux carbs are fast becoming this year’s hot trend. If you’re not quite ready to get down with spiralizing, low-fi cauliflower rice is the perfect introduction to grain alternatives. All you need is a grater or food processor to knock up rice-like pieces, that can then be microwaved in a flash, pan-fried in moments or roasted to create a light, fluffy portion that will have the most ardent carb monsters asking for seconds.
Experimenting with flavours and textures is all part of the fun, but to get you started our cookery team put the most popular cooking methods to the test, rating them on flavour and ease and providing tips for preparing, storing and adding your own flourishes…
Watch our video guide on how to make cauliflower rice:
How to prepare
For best results…
Blitz A food processer will give the best results. Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower, cut it into quarters and remove most of the thick core, then cut each quarter into two or three chunks. You don’t want to overload the blender, or it will struggle to blitz the cauliflower, instead work with about half the cauliflower at a time. Blend for 30 seconds or so, until the cauliflower resembles fine rice, or couscous.
You can also…
Grate If you don’t own a food processer, you can grate the raw cauliflower on the coarse side of the grater. You may find you’re left with a few bigger pieces, which will give the ‘rice’ a chunkier texture.
How to store
Once the cauliflower is prepared, you can store it until you’re ready to use. If you’re following a calorie-controlled diet, divide the cauliflower rice into 100g portions, which contain just 25 calories each, and stash in the fridge for up to three days, or in the freezer for two months. The ‘rice’ can be microwaved from frozen, or defrosted before stir-frying or microwaving.
How to cook
We tested three different ways to cook cauliflower rice, to discover our favourite. Make sure you season with salt after cooking, if you season before the rice can become waterlogged and soggy.
By far the easiest way to cook your cauliflower rice, and as you don’t need to add any fat, the healthiest too. Microwave fresh cauliflower rice in a heatproof bowl, covered with cling film, for three minutes on High. If using from the freezer, microwave for four minutes on High, mixing the ‘rice’ half way through cooking. This method gives the rice a nice, neutral flavour, perfect for serving with a curry or tagine.
Senior food editor, Barney says: ‘I think this method would enable me to pass the cauliflower rice off as regular rice or couscous to my kids. I’d serve it with their favourite curry, a creamy korma.’
We stir-fried our cauliflower rice in a little olive oil, for 5 minutes. Although we found this gave it a lovely, nutty flavour and colour, the texture was less pleasing. We were left with soggy cauliflower rice, which clumped together in places.
Flavour rating 7/10
Assistant food editor, Miriam says: ‘This would be perfect for making cauliflower sushi with, as it clumps together well if you squeeze it in the palm of your hand.’
This was our favourite method of cooking. We tossed the rice in a drizzle of olive oil in a tray, then spread it out to a thin, even layer. We then roasted the ‘rice’ at 200C for 12 minutes, mixing it in the tray halfway through cooking. This dried the rice out, giving it a light, fluffy texture and intensified the flavour.
Food editor, Cassie says: ‘Next time I’d add some ground cumin, chilli and coriander to the ‘rice’ before cooking, and toss through some chopped mint and parsley once it’s out of the oven. It would be lovely with some lamb chops and a dollop of yogurt.’
Have you tried making cauliflower rice? Let us know how you got on and how you cooked yours in the comments below…