Cauliflower Rice 3 Ways

By Laura Mack
June 16, 2016

Fast, fluffy, and full of flavor, I’m confident that this Cauliflower Rice 3 Ways recipe will join your everyday essentials collection. While you may find lots of cauliflower rice recipes out there, my simple technique was developed to convert cauliflower haters. Whether you are a lover or a hater of cauliflower, I encourage you to read on.

If you are a regular visitor to this blog, you may already be aware of the affinity I have developed for cauliflower ‘rice.’ In fact, my husband, Dale, and I have evolved from Mr. and Mrs. Cauliflower-Hater to the “Wow, Is this Really Cauliflower?” Couple. And no one is more surprised than me!

Before I go any further, given that ‘cauliflower’ is a cumbersome word, I shall be hereafter referring to it as “cauli.” It is half the syllables and so much easer to say, even in my head!

If you are new to cauli rice, let me quickly explain that it is not actually rice, the grain, as you know it. It is actually cauli florets that have been grated or chopped to resemble rice (or cous cous). Cauli rice is low carb- and keto-friendly. You can rice the cauliflower yourself, or purchase it ready-to-cook in the produce or freezer section at some stores, like Trader Joe’s. Properly prepared cauli rice is a righteous side dish all on its own, but it can also help fill the hole that is sometimes left when we eliminate starches from our diet. Like most starches, it’s neutral in flavor and is fun to take in a lot of different culinary directions. Unlike most starches, it is a truly healthy food that won’t inflate your blood glucose or your waistline.

I’ve already shared a couple of my favorite cauli rice recipes — Mexi-Cauli Rice and Risotto. While those are what I would consider quick and easy recipes, I thought I’d go back to share my Basic Cauli Rice, plus 2 more delicious variations: Coconut-Lime and Asian-Style. The goal is for you see how versatile this low carb staple can be, so you will develope the confidence to experiment and create your own favorites. Like so many basic recipes, there’s a simple formula that, once you learn it, is easy to riff off.

I developed my Basic Cauli Rice recipe using a modified version of the “pilaf method” used for cooking grains that I learned in culinary school. It’s even faster and easier using cauli rice than ‘real’ grains, not to mention much healthier!

The basic formula for perfect cauli rice is to:

  1. Saute cauli grains in delicious fat over high heat to bring out the toasty, nutty flavors.
  2. Add liquid (water, broth, wine, salsa, etc.), flavorings, and simmer until just tender but still firm, much like al dente pasta. (Not only is this important for texture, we want to avoid the stinky, sulfurous odor that can come with overcooked cauli.)
  3. Season to taste, garnish with fresh herbs or green onions, and serve.

The whole thing takes less than 10 minutes. Seriously!

Back in my grain-eating days, I would say that I loved rice. I enjoyed it plain when I had something flavorful and saucy to put on top, like stir-fry, curry, gumbo, etc. Otherwise, I found plain rice a little boring. The same goes for plain cauli rice. So while I do make the basic, plain version, it is to serve in a supporting role. If I want to elevate cauli rice to the star of the show, or at least equal billing with the “entree,” it’s easy to kick it up depending on my mood or to complement whatever I’m serving it alongside.

Two of my favorite variations of my basic cauli rice are coconut-lime and Asian-style. You’ll see that making a few simple substitutions and additions can transform the flavor profile. You don’t have to stop there, however. For example, you could add a little curry powder to the coconut-lime variation or a dash of 5-spice powder to the Asian-style variation.

I hope that, not only will you enjoy my Cauliflower Rice 3 Ways, you’ll be inspired to create your own variations. Do share your favorites in the comments section!

Cauliflower Rice 3 Ways

Author: Laura Mack
Recipe type: Side
Prep time:  3 mins
Cook time:  7 mins
Total time:  10 mins
Serves: 4

Print the Recipe


Basic Cauli Rice

2 tablespoons ghee or avocado oil

16 ounces / 3½ cups 'riced' cauliflower

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

4 ounces / ½ cup water or broth

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)


Coconut-Lime Cauli Rice

2 tablespoons coconut oil

16 ounces / 3½ cups 'riced' cauliflower

1 tablespoon coconut, shredded, unsweetened

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

4 ounces / ½ cup coconut milk (from carton)

zest and juice from 1 medium lime

2 dashes fish sauce

1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro or parsley, for garnish


Asian-Style Cauli Rice

2 tablespoons ghee or avocado oil

16 ounces / 3½ cups 'riced' cauliflower

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

1½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon minced garlic

4 ounces / ½ cup water or broth

2 teaspoons tamari

¼ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 dashes fish sauce

2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions, for garnish


  1. Basic Cauli Rice: In a 12-inch non-stick over high heat, add fat and heat until shimmering. Add riced cauliflower and salt; stir to blend. Cook, stirring every minute or so, for 3 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to medium, add liquid (broth, water, or coconut milk) to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender, but still a little firm (al dente), about 4-5 minutes. If rice becomes too dry, add a little more liquid.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper (if needed), garnish with fresh herbs or green onions, and serve.
  4. Coconut-Lime Cauli Rice: Add shredded coconut to pan with cauliflower. Add lime zest, lime juice, and fish sauce with coconut milk.
  5. Asian-Style Cauli Rice: Just before adding liquid, stir in ginger and garlic for 30 seconds. Add tamari, sesame oil, and fish sauce with broth or water.


Nutritional info* for one serving:

  • Basic: 96 cal, 7.7 g total fat (70%), 6.3 g total carbs, 3 g fiber, 3.3 g net carbs, and 2.3 g protein.
  • Coconut-Lime: 101 cal, 8.2 g total fat (69%), 6.9 g total carbs, 3.2 g fiber, 3.7 g net carbs, and 2.4 g protein.
  • Asian-Style: 108 cal, 8.7 g total fat (69%), 7.1 g total carbs, 3.3 g fiber, 3.8 g net carbs, and 2.8 g protein.

*I use Living Cookbook 2015, along with package information and data from, to calculate the nutritional information for my recipes. Thus, I can make no guarantees as to the accuracy.

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