This Cauliflower Chinese Rice has the texture of rice, the nutrients of vegetables, and the taste of savory Chinese food without all the added MSG. It’s the perfect thing to pour curries and soups over or eat beside a plate of sauteed vegetables; and it’s not nearly as heavy or dense as real rice.
This faux rice is paleo, vegan, grain-free, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free and refined sugar-free (did you know most restaurants use refined white sugar in nearly all of their flavorings?). You know that thing called Chinese Restaurant Syndrome? Let’s avoid that unpleasant disorder and cook food ourselves; this Chinese Cauliflower rice will surely satiate your tastebuds and any craving for Chinese food.
My dad is always looking for things to pour his salsa over. I nag at him for eating chips (he buys the vegetable oil lathered ones fried to a crisp and made from GMO corn and wheat and sugar and who knows what else) and since I’ve yet to concoct a suitable chip substitute, he’s been eating his salsa over other things.
Salsa is pretty much his favorite food. He pours it over almost every dish, whether it’s a casserole, a sauteed vegetable dish or fancy little finger foods. He even puts it in soups. And with guacamole, obviously, because guacamole and salsa are like soulmates.
My point: there are so many sauces in our house that are just begging to be poured over something. Curries, soups, hummuses, avocado creams, tomato sauce, a neverending supply of fresh homemade salsa… and this Cauliflower Chinese Rice is the perfect thing to eat it over!
My year-younger brother is obsessed with this. He says it tastes just like Chinese food. And he loves Chinese food. (He’s also, coincidentally, obsessed with my Mashed Cauliflower recipe that he calls “Healthy Mashed Potatoes”.)
Healthy friends and McDonald’s eating friends alike will dig into this Cauliflower Fried Rice. Dare I say it tastes BETTER than rice? Eat it as a side or the main dish; add sauteed vegetables, mushrooms, egg, or even chicken or shrimp.
You know what else is cool? It’s kid approved. Proof:
He sat beside me through the whole photoshoot waiting to get a bite of the steaming, fragrant cauliflower chinese rice. It looked good, smelled even better, but his expression was probably the best. Staring at the slightly browned faux rice while asking every few minutes, “Are you done yet?” and “Can I have some?”
I gave him the pan after I was done shooting and that little boy went to town. Not a single grain of rice (err… grain of cauliflower? granule of cauliflower, since grains are not paleo approved?) was left in the pan after he was finished.
To rice the cauliflower you have a few options. The easiest way – the most time efficient and with the least amount of mess – is using a food processor. I’ve scoured many stores down south in Pucon all the way to Santiago Chile and I can’t seem to find a good food processor anywhere. They only sell the tiny little ones down here.
I know. Heartbreaking. :’(
SO I’ve had to improve when it comes to Cauliflower rice. Because there’s no way I’m giving it up.
At first I used a cheese grater and shredded the cauliflower using the big holes. The outcome? It works, but it’s incredibly time-consuming. And a little tricky. But if you don’t mind adding a little elbow grease to your meals (it’s not unhealthy 😉 haha) and a little mess in the kitchen, this is definitely a do-able method and great for emergencies when you need a healthy Chinese-fix.
Currently, I use a little hand chopper (like this) and it gets the cauliflower into the perfect texture. The granules are rice-like in size and could definitely pass for rice to the unknowing (especially for blind people like me – no seriously, in middle school I failed the eye test and the doctor pronounced me legally blind, no jokes here). The cauliflower Chinese rice in the pictures was actually created using a mini chopper. Not too shabby, eh? It’s not nearly as time consuming or difficult as using the grater. Though there is a bit of a mess…
Hey, you know the food’s gonna be good when the kitchen’s a mess, right?
I’ve used white onions, sweet onions and red onions in this recipe. All batches of the Cauliflower Chinese rice were super savory. And honestly? All the onions tasted pretty similar.
Onions are personally my favorite part of this dish so I always use two. We’re also a garic-loving family. And mi madre is a saltaholic. So when we make this dish it has a lot of onion, a lot of garlic and a LOT of salt.
I make everyone drink a glass of water before they chow down.
To get the nice browned effect on your cauliflower rice, cook on high for the last few minutes. The aromas will permeate the room (and maybe even float through the whole house, if you’re lucky). Tantalizing garlic that brings everyone casually wandering into the kitchen, asking, “What are you cooking?”
Yep. It draws out even the teenage boys who pretty much hibernate in their rooms for indefinite amounts of time. The breathtaking (or should I
say write breathinfused hehe) scent is reason enough to cook this dish.
Don’t you love it when you’re cooking a really fragrant dish and the flavors pervade the air? (I just learned that word. Pervade. Definition: (esp. of a smell) spread through and be perceived in every part of. I just had to use it.)
This is incredibly good eaten fresh and warm right after its cooked. It also stays really good in the fridge, surprisingly. Consume it cold or reheat. I enjoyed it just as much eaten the next morning.
The trick to this cauliflower Chinese rice? Add lots of salt! 😉 😉
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic (optional)
- Salt + pepper
- Coconut oil, for sautéing (or other oil/fat)
- Prepare your vegetables first: chop onions, mine garlic and rice cauliflower.
- Sauté onions on medium heat in coconut oil in a skillet for 5-10 minutes, until they turn clearish and slightly brown.
- Add minced garlic and cook a few minutes more.
- Add the riced cauliflower to the skillet and mix around. Add some salt and pepper (don't be stingy). Cover with a top and cook for 10-15 more minutes, until cauliflower is soft and tastes good.
- Crank heat to high for the last few minutes to get a nice browned/charred effect. (Optional - be careful not to burn.)
- Add more salt (because you probably didn't add enough the first time 😉 ).
- Eat right away or store in the fridge for future use.
The more salt the better.
Feel free to add any of the following: chopped green onions, peas, carrots, corn, mushrooms, broccoli, egg, shrimp, chicken, etc.
Great for leftovers; store in the fridge and eat cold or heat back up in a skillet before consuming. The rice will stay good for a few days.
Do you like Chinese food? What about the Chinese Restaurant Syndrome that accompanies it?
This Cauliflower Chinese Rice definitely doesn’t cause any stomach upsets. Cauliflower will heal instead of harm – eat up!