What Is Cauliflower Rice?

Let’s talk cauliflower for a minute, shall we? It’s something of a forgotten vegetable. It’s the pale cousin of broccoli (a controversial veggie amongst picky eaters in its own right) and constitutes one of the less appealing options on a crudité platter. It’s not helped by the fact that it can be quite bland and flavorless if steamed. In my opinion, the best way to cook cauliflower is with gobs and gobs of cheese, but that kind of defeats the purpose of a vegetable-forward dish in the first place. 

As a kid, I would have counted cauliflower amongst my least favorite vegetables. But it turns out that cauliflower has a hidden strength. That very blandness that makes it a subpar crudité option makes it a great substitution for carb-heavy staples. For example, cauliflower-crust on a pizza is an increasingly popular choice. And even more mainstream is the use of cauliflower rice. But what is cauliflower rice, exactly? How do you rice cauliflower? Does it taste like rice? Let’s find out.

What is cauliflower rice?

Cauliflower rice is not genuinely rice, which is a type of cereal grain. No, instead, cauliflower rice is cauliflower that has been cut into rice-like granules and can be substituted in many recipes that call for traditional rice. Unlike traditional rice, cauliflower is quite low in carbs.

How do you rice cauliflower?

One way to rice cauliflower is to use a ricer—how’s that for a tautology? Yes, there is actually a kitchen device known as a vegetable ricer that you can use for this purpose. 

But without a ricer, you basically just have to chop the cauliflower florets down into little, rice-sized chunks. If you have a food processor, this is quite simple. Just throw the florets in batches and grind away until they’re rice-sized (don’t go too far or they’ll get mushy).

Without a food processor, you can use a box grater to shave the florets down to rice-size. 

Is cauliflower rice keto?

Yes, cauliflower rice is essentially just cauliflower with maybe some seasonings added, so it should be a great choice for those on a keto diet. Of course, keep in mind that non-keto ingredients can be added to dishes that contain cauliflower rice, so always be sure to double check what you’re putting into your body. 

Does cauliflower rice taste like rice?

As someone who has eaten his fair share of cauliflower rice, and more than his fair share of regular rice, I would say this is somewhat of a philosophical question. What is the taste of rice, really? Cauliflower rice has a similar consistency and flavor profile of rice—it’s not as bouncy and it has a bit more of a vegetal, cauliflower-y flavor. But when you add butter, salt, and spices, you’ll mostly be tasting those things. 

About the Author

Matt Crowley

Matt Crowley is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles. He likes maple-flavored snacks, loves every kind of cheese, and is slowly learning to accept mushrooms.

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