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How to Make the Best Cauliflower Rice

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" and "Taste of Home." She belongs to Cook's Recipe Testers for "Cook's Illustrated."

Cauliflower rice with paleo curry

Cauliflower rice with paleo curry

How to Cook Cauliflower Rice

Move over rice. Here comes cauliflower rice! Even my vegetable-loathing husband enjoys this rice substitute. It´s a natural side for many Asian and curry dishes. You can make a quick and nutritious stir-fry by substituting cauliflower for traditional white rice. This is also a great option for those who are on low-carb diets. It's an easy way to coax kids and husbands into eating more veggies.

When using the right cooking method, the cauliflower takes on a texture similar to rice. Although I don't choose to eat a bowl of cauliflower rice by itself, I do find when mixed with curry or other Asian dishes that I don't notice that I'm eating cauliflower.

Cauliflower's Health Benefits

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable. It contains sulfur compounds which help lower the risk of colorectal and lung cancers. Combining cauliflower with turmeric may help prevent and fight prostate cancer. This vegetable isrich in vitamin C, vitamin K and many minerals. It´s chock full of dietary fiber and a variety of anti-inflammatory nutrients.

Choose cauliflower heads that don´t have any brown or soft spots. Better yet, look for cauliflower with the bright green leaves still intact. Try orange or purple cauliflower for beautiful color and more antioxidant benefits!

Cruciferous Vegetable and Gas Formation

Although cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable and a great source of glucosinolates, which can help lower the risk of cancers such as colorectal and lung cancer, consuming this vegetable may also cause discomfort in sensitive individuals. Why?

Cauliflower contains cellulose, a non-digestible carbohydrate which can cause gas and bloating. Although broccoli and cabbage are worse offenders, caution should be used if you have a gas and bloating problem and aren't used to eating cauliflower.

Cauliflower also contains purines, which form uric acid in the body. This may trigger a gout attack in susceptible individuals.

So do the benefits outweigh the risk? We all know that adding vegetables to our diet is important for overall health. But if cauliflower isn't a regular part of your diet and you tend to have an issue with bloating and/or flatulence, start slowly. Enjoy just ¼ cup of cauliflower rice at first. If you don't notice any bloating after a few hours then you can gradually add more to your diet.

Since cauliflower is high in cellulose, it's always a good idea to consume cooked rather than raw cauliflower. Make sure the cauliflower is well-cooked so it will be easier for you to digest.

How to Cook Cauliflower Rice

Although cauliflower rice can be stir-fried or even microwaved, we've found that oven baking dries it out a little, giving it a texture similar to rice. Microwaving tends to make the "rice" soggy.

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

15 min

25 min

8-12 servings, depending on size of cauliflower

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric, optional
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, optional
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Using a box grater or food processor, grate cauliflower using the largest grating holes.
  3. Spread on baking sheet.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Sprinkle with spices and salt.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden brown and steaming.
  7. Serve with paleo curry or as a rice substitute with any dish.

Why Use Turmeric?

Besides adding color to cauliflower rice, turmeric also offers many health benefits. As mentioned above, turmeric combined with cauliflower can be useful in preventing and/or treating prostate cancer. It has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This spice, which is actually derived from a root, lowers risk of heart disease and has even been known to control blood sugar. It also aids digestion.

A friend who suffers from diabetes found that when taking turmeric mixed with water and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar before eating a meal, her blood sugar is so well controlled that her doctor has been able to decrease her meds. Of course, always consult your physician before adjusting any prescribed medications.