The Ultimate Guide To Cauliflower Rice: Is It Keto?
If you’re plugged into a low-carb living, you’ve probably heard about cauliflower rice. This keto-friendly food allows you to indulge in rice, minus the carbs.
As a bonus, cauliflower is a nutritious cruciferous vegetable. And so eating cauliflower rice isn’t just low-carb; it’s downright healthy.
Well keto folks, listen up: Making cauliflower rice is easy. You just need to keep a few tips in mind.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about cauliflower rice: nutrition facts, how to cut it, cook it, freeze it, and much more. Keep reading.
Cauliflower rice is made from the cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower. The dish is prepared by chopping cauliflower into small rice-sized pieces using either a food processor, box grater, or knife.
Though it has considerably less carbs than real rice, riced cauliflower tastes similar to its starchy companion. It has a mild, neutral flavor that serves as a good base for a variety of dishes, or as a side dish to just about anything.
Anywhere rice is used, cauliflower rice can be used too. Like regular rice, it soaks up the flavor of spices, herbs, and fats. And it does so with minimal calories.
Cauliflower rice has become popular on the keto diet because it’s light, low-carb, nutritious, gluten-free, refined sugar free, and easy. Plus many keto and paleo dieters miss their rice. Cauliflower rice scratches that itch.
Cauliflower is a non-starchy cruciferous vegetable. Cauliflower rice is simply the diced version of this healthy food.
Cruciferous vegetables, by the way, contain compounds called isothiocyanates — tiny molecules with promising anti-cancer effects[*]. Most of these compounds are found in the floret (not the stem), so they should be preserved if you make cauliflower rice properly.
Also, chopping up cruciferous veggies actually increases the amount of sulforaphane, a potent anti-cancer isothiocyanate, in the plant[*]. In this regard, chopped cauliflower rice has the edge over whole cauliflower.
Cauliflower rice is also a good source of vitamin C (important for immunity and skin health) and potassium (important for bone health and blood pressure). Most people don’t hit the RDA of 4.7 grams of potassium per day, so cauliflower rice can help get you there.
Cauliflower Rice Nutrition Information
Here is the nutritional information for one cup of cauliflower rice[*]:
- Calories: 25
- Carbohydrates: 5 grams
- Dietary fiber: 2 grams
- Fat: 0.3 grams
- Protein: 1.9 grams
- Sodium: 30 milligrams (1% of daily value)
- Potassium: 299 milligrams (9% of daily value)
- Vitamin C: 80% of daily value
As you can see, most of the calories come from carbs. But since cauliflower rice is low-calorie to begin with, the carbs don’t amount to much. And if you calculate net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) for 1 cup of cauliflower rice, the carb tally drops 3 grams net carbs.
Making cauliflower rice is easier than it sounds. All you need is fresh cauliflower, a sharp knife, and a skillet with oil.
There are, however, a few tools that can dramatically reduce your prep time. Read on.
How To Cut Cauliflower For Cauliflower Rice
Ready to chop cauliflower? Good, because that’s what you’ll be doing next.
First you’ll want to cut your head of cauliflower into individual florets. If you’re dealing with florets right out of the bag, that’s fine too.
Your next move will depend on what method you use to prepare the rice. There are three main methods:
- With a food processor
- With a box grater
- By hand
For method 1, first cut the florets into halves or quarters. These are the ideal size florets for ricing in a food processor.
For method 2, use larger pieces of cauliflower. Take the cauliflower and grate against the medium-sized holes, which are usually reserved for cheese.
If you don’t have a food processor or box grater, simply chop the florets into small, rice-sized pieces with a sharp knife. Depending on your chopping skills, this will add considerably to the total time spent making the dish.
How To Cook Cauliflower Rice
First of all, you don’t need to cook your cauliflower rice. It’s perfectly healthy raw.
But cooking makes it taste more like real rice. Plus it will keep longer.
To cook your cauliflower rice, heat a skillet to medium heat with a 1 to 2 tablespoons of healthy, heat-stable oil or fat. Butter, coconut oil, or avocado oil would be ideal. Think about what flavor you want to impart to the dish too.
Next, cover the skillet and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. To track the progress of your rice, taste as you’re cooking. Pro tip: You’re going for tender, not mushy.
After the rice is prepared, feel free to season as desired. Salt, turmeric, pepper, basil, and more—anything you like on rice is fair game.
Okay, your cauliflower rice is ready! Either eat right away or store for later. More tips on that coming up.
Now that you know the basics for cutting and cooking cauliflower rice, here are a few tips to make everything go smoothly:
- After cutting up the cauliflower, squeeze the raw rice inside a paper towel to reduce moisture and prevent sogginess.
- Use oil, not water, to cook your cauliflower rice. Unless you like mushy vegetables.
- Buy fresh (preferably organic) cauliflower heads to make your rice. As always, food quality matters.
- Use florets, rather than stems, to make the rice. They’re more nutritious and provide better texture.
- Don’t use a rice cooker.
- Use cauliflower rice in any recipe that calls for rice: stir fry, tacos, casserole, fried rice, sautes, Mexican cuisine, Asian cuisine, etc. Say hello to new low-carb recipes.
- Make a large batch and save the leftovers in the fridge or freezer. Big time saver.
If you still have questions about cauliflower rice, check out the list below for answers.
Can You Freeze Cauliflower Rice?
Absolutely. The simplest way is to prepare the raw rice, squeeze out the moisture (with a towel), then store it in a freezer-safe bag.
You might also blanch your cauliflower rice before freezing it to preserve texture. This would involve submerging the rice in boiling water, cooling it off, then drying and freezing.
In case you were wondering, frozen cauliflower rice should last anywhere from 1 to 4 months.
Can You Make Cauliflower Rice In The Microwave?
To cook cauliflower rice in the microwave, simply cover in a microwave-safe dish and cook for about 3 minutes. You can also reheat cooked cauliflower rice using this method.
How Much Cauliflower Do You Need To Make Cauliflower Rice?
Here’s a quick rule of thumb: However much your cauliflower head weighs, divide by two for the cauliflower rice it will yield.
So a 2 pound head of cauliflower should yield somewhere around 1 pound (4 to 6 cups) of cauliflower rice.
How Long Does Cauliflower Rice Keep?
Follow these guidelines:
- Fresh in fridge: 2 to 3 days
- Cooked in fridge: 4 to 5 days
- Cooked in freezer: 1 to 4 months
Can You Buy Premade Cauliflower Rice?
Yes, many stores sell pre-cut cauliflower rice. Keep in mind, however, the limited shelf life of chopped cauliflower — and watch out for signs of rot.
With only 5 grams of carbs (3 grams net carbs) per cup, yes: Cauliflower rice is keto.
Normal portions of cauliflower rice are unlikely to kick you out of ketosis, especially if you consume them with plenty of healthy fat. Don’t be shy with the olive oil.
To be clear, cauliflower rice shouldn’t be the staple of your ketogenic diet. It has very little fat and protein — both crucial macronutrients for optimal low-carb health.
Nonetheless, cauliflower rice is a fun way to put rice back on the menu. Happy cooking.
Get your chef hat on. These keto recipes will be a huge hit at your table:
- Super Simple Chicken Cauliflower Fried Rice
- Low-Carb Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Recipe
- Crispy Skin Salmon with Pesto Cauliflower Rice
- Savory Shrimp Keto Stir Fry With Cauliflower Rice
- 7 Keto Cauliflower Recipes to Satisfy Your Carb Cravings
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