Let’s start by getting a clearer picture of cauliflower rice. Essentially, it’s cauliflower that is pulsed in a food processor and broken down into tiny bits until its size resembles cooked rice or couscous.
It doesn’t taste like rice one bit. Cauliflower rice retains its taste, but its granules turn light and fluffy. Making cauliflower rice can get technical, especially since we’re trying to replace a carb with a vegetable. But don’t worry, with my expert tips and tricks, you’ll be fully equipped to make the best cauliflower rice.
Is this cauliflower recipe healthy? Yes!
- Cauliflower is significantly lower in carbs than regular grains and legumes. Did you know that one cup of cauliflower has only 25 calories?
- There is a high amount of fiber in this vegetable. This slows digestion down, helping you feel full. It’s a handy recipe to make for those who are aiming at weight loss.
- This recipe meets several dietary restrictions. It is low-carb, vegan, dairy-free, paleo-friendly, and keto-friendly!
Serving suggestions and dishes to enjoy with this cauliflower rice:
This recipe takes cauliflower rice and peps it up with cilantro, lime, and vegetable stock, making it taste light and fresh! Say hello to a healthy vegetable side dish that has beautiful light green shades.
Because of its super light and mellow flavor, it is great as a side dish to balance out some of the more intense and flavorful dishes, like:
- Greek Chicken Kabobs
- Garlic Butter Baked Shrimp
- One Pan Garlic Butter Chicken
- Beef Stew
Which Type Of Cauliflower To Use?
From all the options of cauliflower out there in the world – I mean, grocery stores – what type of cauliflower is best for this recipe?
Fresh cauliflower vs. Pre-made/frozen cauliflower rice:
Fresh cauliflower is, without a doubt, the healthier option. When shopping for cauliflower, pick the ones with a tight and compact head (packed with florets). Its jacket leaves should still be firmly attached, indicating their freshness.
If you don’t have the time to blend your own cauliflower rice, there are bags of premade ones in the supermarkets. These will save you time and effort, allowing you to skip straight to saute all the ingredients in the skillet.
This Green Giant premade cauli rice looks quite promising and is reasonably priced.
White, green, red, or purple cauliflower:
You may stumble upon colored cauliflowers (like green, red and purple), but there’s nothing to worry about! Naturally pigmented, these are just different species of cauliflower with varying nutrient contents.
I’m sure they’ll be warmly welcomed for their bright pop of color in any recipe. If you’ve used colored cauliflower before, please tag me (@cookwithcassandra)!
What will you need to make lime cilantro cauliflower rice?
- Olive oil – For sauteing all the ingredients. You can replace it with any cooking oil of your choice, such as avocado oil.
- White onion – Finely chop white onions and saute to release mild sweetness.
- Garlic cloves – For this recipe, you can mince garlic cloves yourself or get a jar of minced garlic from the store.
- Cauliflower – We will use 1 medium head of cauliflower to produce 3 cups of cauli rice.
- Vegetable stock – Cooking cauli rice in vegetable stock will give the flavor more body, making it generally tastier.
- Salt – To taste.
- Fresh cilantro – I’ve heard that some people are unable to stomach cilantro, which tastes soapy to them! If this is you, replace cilantro with fresh herbs like parsley, chives, or scallion.
- Large lime – We are going to fully utilize one large lime. Not only are we going to get lime juice out of it, but we’re also going to use the lime zest for maximum tartness!
- Jalapeño – This is an optional ingredient (especially for spice lovers.) Deseed and slice the jalapeno before cooking.
Step One: Slice the cauliflower head in half and use a knife to separate all of the florets from the stem.
Step Two: Place half of the cauliflower florets in a food processor and pulse until the cauliflower is small and has the texture of rice or couscous. Don’t over-process it or it will get mushy.
- Pro Tip: If you don’t own a blender or food processor, grate the cauliflower using a box grater. The large holes on the grater (normally used to grate cheese) will do the trick, but you’ll need to get ready for an arm workout! Be careful with your fingers when using a grater and wear latex gloves for safety.
Step Three: Set the riced cauliflower aside and repeat with the remaining half.
Step Four: On medium heat, heat olive oil in a large skillet. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onions and sauté for 5 minutes until they become translucent (and fill the kitchen with its lovely aroma).
Step Five: Mix in the minced garlic (and sliced jalapeño, if using). Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the garlic becomes fragrant.
Step Six: Add the cauliflower to the skillet. Stir to mix everything together well.
Step Seven: Pour in the vegetable stock, half of the cilantro, lime zest, and salt. Turn the heat up to high and cook for 1 minute. The high heat does two things: it browns the cauliflower and draws out excess moisture from the cauliflower.
Step Eight: Lower the heat to medium heat and stir in the lime juice. Saute the cilantro lime cauliflower rice for 5 more minutes to incorporate all the ingredients.
- Pro Tip: Don’t use a lid when cooking cauliflower rice. This will cause it to steam, soak up all the water droplets, and turn soggy.
- Pro Tip: Don’t over-cook cauliflower rice! As cauliflower cooks, it softens up. But too soft and we’ll border on cauliflower porridge.
Step Nine: Taste the finished product and season with more salt as needed. Stir in the remaining cilantro. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Expert Tips & Tricks
Equipments needed to make cauliflower rice:
First, use a knife to cut the head of the cauliflower into florets. Working in batches, pulse florets in a blender or food processor. Do this for a few seconds at a time.
If you don’t own a blender or food processor at home, do not let that stop you! Join the fun with a box grater, turn on some music, and train your biceps in this arm workout. You need to get the cauliflower florets as small as grains of rice!
Avoid mushy cauli rice:
Cauliflower naturally has moisture, and after rinsing it, there’s bound to be more dampness. The best texture for cauliflower rice is soft but not mushy.
Do not blend the cauliflower in the food processor for too long. Stop the food processor once your cauliflower resembles short-grain rice or couscous. Otherwise, you might end up with mushy cauliflower puree.
Processing cauliflower will release more juice from the florets. So, squeeze out excess moisture using a cheesecloth or paper towel.
Leftover cilantro lime cauliflower rice that has been sauteed can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (and in the freezer for up to 6 months). As always, store it in an airtight container.
For meal-prepping, cook this recipe 3 to 5 days in advance, portioning it out into meal prep containers. Add your favorite recipe as suggested in the first section above.
When you are ready to serve, cook each portion in a hot skillet or reheat it in the microwave. If you want to reintroduce moisture into the dish, drizzle a bit of olive oil before cooking or squeeze in some more lime juice. Season with salt if desired. Enjoy!
Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice Recipe
- 1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2/3 cup white onion finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- 3 cups riced cauliflower about 1 medium head
- 2 tablespoons vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or as needed
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped and divided
- 1 large lime juiced + zested
- 1 jalapeño deseeded & chopped optional if you like spice
- Slice the cauliflower head in half and use a knife to remove all of the florets.
- Place half of the cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until the cauliflower is small and has the texture of rice or couscous – don't over process or it will get mushy.
- Set aside and repeat with the remaining cauliflower.
- On medium heat heat olive oil in a large skillet. When the oil is hot add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes until they become translucent.
- Add the garlic and jalapeño, if using and cook for 1-2 minutes until the garlic becomes fragrant.
- Add the cauliflower to the skillet. Stir to mix everything together well.
- Stir in the vegetable broth, half the cilantro zest and salt. Turn the heat up to high and cook for 1 minute. The high heat will draw out excess moisture in the cauliflower so it doesn't get too mushy. Lower the heat to medium heat and add the lime juice, mixing well for 5 minutes.
- Taste and season with more salt as needed. Stir in the remaining cilantro. Serve immediately and enjoy!