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Pulse cauliflower in a food processor to make cauliflower couscous or an easy rice-like side dish that's much lower GI and ready in just 10 minutes
Cut the hard core and stalks from the cauliflower and pulse the rest in a food processor to make grains the size of rice. Tip into a heatproof bowl, cover with cling film, then pierce and microwave for 7 mins on high – there is no need to add any water. Stir in the coriander. For spicier rice, add some toasted cumin seeds.
Cauliflower rice is finely chopped (either by hand or pulsed in a food processor) raw cauliflower that's small enough to look like grains of rice. It’s used as a low-carb substitute for grains like couscous or rice. It’s often eaten as a side dish with some dressing or herbs for flavour. It can be eaten raw or cooked very quickly to warm through, although it only needs minimal cooking or will become too soft.
Cauliflower rice is best eaten within a day or two of making, and it doesn’t freeze well as it can become watery when thawed. You could make the cauliflower ‘grains’ a few days ahead and store in an airtight container in the fridge if you wanted to get ahead.
Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add any spices or flavourings you like, such as ground cumin, smoked paprika, chilli or fennel seeds. When hot, add the cauliflower rice and stir-fry for 3-4 mins until tender and heated through. You can also tip into a bowl, cover with a microwave lid or plate, and microwave on high for 2-3 mins to ‘steam’ the rice. A great way to concentrate the nutty flavour of the cauliflower is to tip onto a baking tray, drizzle with oil and roast for 10-12 mins to dry out the rice, and lightly toast as it heats through.
For a step-by-step demonstration, watch our video for how to cook cauliflower rice.
Serve as a side dish for curries and tagines, substitute as the base for grain bowls, sushi bowls, or the rice in burritos. Cauliflower rice is great raw in tabbouleh and salads, as it absorbs lots of the flavours and dressing. Try adding to a tabouleh with lots of parsley, almonds, tomatoes, and drizzle with a pomegranate molasses dressing.
You could also use as the rice in sushi wraps, make a grain-free stir-fry with lots of crunchy veg and soy sauce, or fold in curry powder, smoked mackerel and poached eggs for a lighter kedgeree.
A food processor makes light work of making cauliflower rice, but you can also cut the florets by hand to create a more ‘chunky’ rice, or use the coarse side of a box grater to grate the cauliflower into small pieces, instead.
The key to preventing soggy cauliflower rice is making sure you don’t overcook it. Once the ‘grains’ are hot, you’re ready to serve. The best cooking method to avoid any sogginess is to roast the cauliflower grains on a wide, shallow tray. This means there’s more evaporation and less water in the cooked grains.
If you’re cooking your ‘grains’ in the microwave, this can cause them to steam-cook leaving them a little wetter than if roasting or fried. You can tip out onto a kitchen-paper lined tray and pat dry before serving, if you prefer. Don’t squeeze the grains as they may become more mushy if you do this.
Read more in our guide on how to make cauliflower rice.