Oh how I love you, let me count the ways…
That is exactly how I feel about one of my lifestyle staples. Drumroll please, it is….cauliflower rice. That’s right, the finely chopped (typically in a food processor) food of the heavens. For a while I was fighting the good fight. I faithfully bought heads of cauliflower and chopped them in the processor, discarding the multiple machine parts in the sink for my husband to clean (yep, that’s right, I cook; he cleans). It was so much work for the 3 cups of cauliflower rice perfection, but it was so worth it. Finally, something substantial (but healthy) that could serve as the base for any number of our “for two” meals.
Then something beyond miraculous occurred. Trader Joes started carrying FROZEN cauliflower rice. Pre-chopped, doesn’t go bad, available at my fingertips for less than the cost of a head of cauliflower. The fact that its frozen and lasts beyond 3 days is beyond incredible to me, but there is one more catch–it’s organic. Yep, health gurus, this stuff is organic and still costs less than a regular head of cauliflower. Don’t ask why, I won’t as long as it continues to be restocked each beautiful morning. And as long as when I arrive to purchase my 20 packs (I buy in bulk), the chipper cashier doesn’t look at me like I’m some kind of cauliflower rice hoarder who needs a fix. “IT’S HEALTHY, OKAY…AND IT’S VERSATILE, OKAY. And everyone stop staring, it’s fine. I can stop whenever I want.”
Okay, it’s not fine. We have approximately 15-20 packs in our freezer right now. We love it. We use it for everything. So I thought I’d put up a post with just a few ways we love to use this stuff. I’ve added links to some of my favorite cauliflower rice pins!
- Substitute for rice 🙂 I know this one is a shocker. Some of our favorites:
- Asian cauliflower rice. On medium heat, in a large skillet, we add half a bag of Trader Joes frozen mixed vegetables to the cauliflower rice and let it get tender (stirring occasionally). Once tender, add 3 Tbsp. of soy sauce, a dash of garlic powder and stir. Boom, done. We love to top it with a simple Broccoli and Beef or Mini Chicken Cilantro Wontons (also from Trader Joes).
- Cilantro lime cauliflower rice. On medium heat, in a large skillet, simply cook rice until tender then add a lime’s worth of juice (or more based upon your preference), a handful of freshly chopped cilantro, and salt (to taste). We add taco seasoning occassionally. We eat burrito bowls on the regular, so this is a go-to for us. The photo pictured has mini roasted bell peppers and guacamole with a bit of feta on top!
- As a base for any thick stew or curry. We pour ratatouille on top or chickpea curry.
- Filler for lean protein batches. We typically add a bag of cauliflower rice to our taco meat or our sloppy joes. Just prepare the meat as normal and when it’s cooked through add the cauliflower rice and allow to cook until tender. Add seasonings to your liking! You get double the portion for an additional 30 calories. I know, staaawwwwpppppp.
- Casseroles. Y’all I have added cauliflower rice to several chicken casserole dishes, and it is phenomenal. All the bulk with a fraction of the guilt. Comfort food just went to a whole new healthy level.
- Bread substitute. I know this one may seem strange, but it is not! My girlfriend introduced me to cauliflower as a substitute for making cheesy bread when you need to satisfy the craving.
- Soups, soups, and more soups. As we’ve established, it’s getting closer and closer to soup weather, and so I can’t recommend this as a soup base enough. I studied abroad in Ireland several years ago, and while there, I became obsessed with pureed soups. Cauliflower rice works perfectly as a base for rich, creamy soups.
- Sauces. I’ve made creamy alfredo sauce with cauliflower rice over Tofu Shiritake noodles for a super low-cal meal, and it was really good. We froze the leftovers, and they actually thawed and reheated well!
- Dips. This is on my list of must try recipes. Cauliflower rice buffalo dip. Need I say more…
Some things (okay, one thing) that didn’t work with cauliflower rice:
- Rice pudding. We just had to take cauliflower rice and convert it into a delightful sweet treat. This was a mistake. Repeat. This was a mistake.
But alas…here are some future cauliflower rice dreams I have:
- Hungry Girl’s Arroz Con Pollo…looks amazing!
- These mini cauliflower rice biscuits from Cooking Light
- And of course the Cauliflower rice buffalo dip