How To Make Cauliflower Rice or Couscous
On a low-carb diet? Cauliflower rice is for you. Here’s our recipe for making cauli rice, at home.
Low-carb cauliflower rice isn’t just for followers of the ‘Paleo’ diet. Of course it’s a grain-free (and gluten-free) alternative to rice pasta or potatoes but, more than that, it’s a great way to add veggies to your diet; it fills you up and potentially saves you hundreds of calories per meal.
A 200g portion of cauliflower rice is around 40 calories as opposed to rice, which is closer to 280!
Although it doesn’t taste exactly like rice or couscous (because it’s cauliflower!) it does have the same ‘neutral’ quality and, when made well, it’s light and fluffy and has a great al-dente ‘bite’.
It’s a great ‘carrier’ for sauces and can easily be enlivened by adding chopped onions, garlic, herbs or spices.
What You’ll Need for 3-4 servings
- 1 Large Head of Cauliflower
- Cooking Oil (optional)
- Chopping Board and Knife
- Food Processor (preferably with a grater function) or a Hand Grater
To Grate Or To ‘Blitz’?
The key to great cauliflower rice is ‘chopping’ the cauliflower into grains a little bigger than couscous – ideally of a very consistent size. To this end, a food processor definitely gives the best results. Unfortunately not everyone has one. The good news is, if you don’t own a ‘blender’, a grater will certainly do. It just takes a little more effort!
Step-By-Step Guide (5 to 10 mins)
- Remove the outer leaves of the cauliflower and wash it.
- Pare back the main stem (removing any ‘woody parts). It’s fine to use a little ‘core’ providing it’s tender.
- If you’re using a food processor, cut the cauliflower head into quarters or break the florettes into chunks so they better fit into your processor’s bowl.
- Ideally use your blender’s grater attachment – otherwise, the ‘S’ blade will do – and pulse the florettes until they are chopped into course grains (the texture of couscous)
- Some florets or large pieces of cauliflower might remain intact. Pull these out and set them aside. Then transfer the cauliflower couscous to another container and re-process any large pieces.
- Be careful not to over-process the cauliflower as very fine grains will result in a mushy ‘rice’, when cooked. If you have a particularly large cauliflower, or small/hand processor, you may have to repeat this step – making small batches.
- If you are grating the cauliflower by hand, use the coarse side of the grater. Note, grating will produce ‘rice’ with a chunkier texture and may require a little extra cooking time.
Storing Prepared Cauliflower Rice
Once the cauliflower has been turned into ‘rice’, it can be store in a covered bowl in the fridge for up to three days, or in an airtight container (or bag) in the freezer for up to two months.
Do not store ‘rice’ once it has been cooked.
Microwave (3 minutes)
Microwave cooking retains more moisture than dry-frying and is also very convenient (though we prefer dry-frying!)
- Place your cauliflower rice into a microwave-safe dish.
- Add a teaspoon of water, which will help to steam the cauliflower. Don’t be tempted to add more than a teaspoonful as this may cause your cauliflower rice to become wet.
- Cover the dish with plastic wrap/’cling-film’ or a lid.
- Cook for 3 minutes at 900 watts.
- Leave your cauliflower rice covered, to stand for a further 2-3 minutes. It will continue cooking in its own heat.
- Add seasoning to taste and serve.
Dry Fry (5-6 minutes)
- Heat a tablespoon of your preferred cooking oil in a non-stick frying pan.
- Add cauliflower grains and spread them evenly across the base of the pan.
- Cover the pan and cook for approximately 5-6 minutes, stirring gently every now and then, so the grains don’t burn – until the cauliflower is slightly crispy on the outside but tender on the inside. If you prefer a less ‘crispy’ cauliflower rice, add a table spoon of water to the pan but be sure to cook-off all moisture before serving.
- Add seasoning to taste and serve.
Oven Cooking (15 minutes)
Oven cooking produces a drier, crunchier cauliflower rice that some people prefer though, in our opinion, this gives a less rice-like effect.
- Preheat your oven to 425F / 220C.
- Spread the cauliflower grains evenly across a baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes, turning the cauliflower grains every 5 minutes or so.
- Remove from the oven, add seasoning to taste and serve.
Cooking From Frozen
Raw cauliflower rice can be cooked from frozen. However, it is worth noting that freezing does damage the cauliflower’s cell structure and can deliver a very soggy result. We suggest defrosting frozen cauliflower rice thoroughly before cooking. It may also be necessary to pour granules onto a kitchen towel to remove any moisture.
Chicken and Chickpea Curry
Heavy on protein, light on carbs, this simple curry breathes life back into leftovers.
Vegetarian Moroccan Stew with Cauli Couscous
A vegetarian feast inspired by the colors and spices of Morocco.