Healthy low carb dinners – Cauliflower Rice!

As you know I am a true believer in the 80/20 diet, which is all about the right balance between eating healthy (80%) and treating yourself (20%). As part of this ‘diet’ I usually try to eat very healthy during the week and for the last few months I have started to cut out carbs on my healthy dinner time meals. Via Pinterest and other blogs I actually realised that there are lots of delicious low-carb alternatives out there; like my beloved zucchini noodles! But now onto another low-carb goodie; have you ever heard of cauliflower rice?

Well, as an example this Broccoli Beef dinner is one of my healthy dinner go-to recipes and even though this looks like normal rice, I can tell you there isn’t a grain to be found in that photo!

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Cauliflower rice is pretty much ‘rice’ made from, you guessed it, cauliflower! When grated it has couscous-like texture and is perfect with chicken, steak or anything you would normally serve with rice. Plus it’s great with things like curries and stir-fry’s because it absorbs the flavours of the sauces you serve it with.

Does it taste like cauliflower? Well yes, but I think it has a very mild taste, so even if cauliflower doesn’t usually rock your boat, I’d say give it a go! And if you add some garlic, herbs or spices during the cooking process it will really change the flavour. Plus did I mention that 100g of cauliflower rice is only 24 calories, compared to 100g of rice at 355 calories!

So how do I make cauliflower rice? It’s SUPER simple and this is all you need to know!

Ingredients/Tools: 

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower (serves 2, or keep 1 portion covered in fridge for lunch the next day)
  • Food processor or if (like me) you don’t have one, a cheese grater will do just fine!
  • Microwave or frying pan/wok depending on preferred cooking method for your dinner.

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Method:

  • Rinse cauliflower under cool water and pat dry.
  • Using a cheese grater, grate the cauliflower to a coarse texture (approximately the size of rice grains). Or use a food processor to pulse the cauliflower to desired texture.
  • When it comes to cooking the ‘rice’ you can either steam it or sauté/fry it depending on your preference or the type of dish you will be serving it with.
  • When steaming it I usually just place the grated cauliflower rice in a microwave safe bowl and cook it on full power in the microwave for 2 minutes (reduce to 1 min seconds if using one portion’s worth). Oh and there’s no need to add water: there’s already enough liquid  in the cauliflower to stop it from drying out. Keep an eye on your rice while it’s cooking, you don’t want to overheat it so it remains a little crunchy!
  • Stir fry/Sauté; heat a tiny bit of oil in a wok or saucepan over medium heat. Add in the cauliflower rice and fry/saute for 2-3 minutes. You can also add garlic or spices and herbs to give it extra flavour!
  • Then when cooked, serve immediately with your meal and enjoy this guilt free little side-dish!

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Some more suggestions for enjoying Cauliflower Rice;

  • Herbed rice; add 1/4 cup of fresh basil, parsley, cilantro, green onion, and/or other herbs of your choice.
  • Curried Cauliflower Rice; add 1 tablespoon turmeric or curry powder.
  • Chinese Fried Rice; after frying the cauliflower rice, push the cauliflower to one side of the pan. Pour in one (1) beaten egg into the empty part of the pan and lightly scramble the egg. Then mix the scrambled egg and cauliflower “rice” together. If desired, add a little soy sauce to the mixture.
  • Rice Salad; after frying and cooling, mix in some chopped cucumbers and tomatoes. Season lightly with some oil and vinegar.
  • Spanish Rice; after cooking the cauliflower, add an 8-ounce can of chopped tomatoes and a little hot sauce (to taste). Can also add some sautéed diced green pepper and garlic.
  • Vegetable Rice; add your favorite diced vegetable and sauté with onions.
  • Lemon Rice; add some lemon zest and lemon juice

One of my favourite meals I have with cauliflower rice is this Broccoli Beef recipe – it’s SO tasty and pretty easy to make and trust me you won’t miss the normal rice one bit.

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BROCCOLI BEEF (with cauliflower rice)
Serves 4 – Original recipe from Iowa Girl Eats 

Ingredients:
3/4 pound flank steak, sliced very thin and against the grain
4 cups broccoli cut into bite-sized pieces
1-1/2 tablespoons high-heat cooking oil like vegetable or canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
cooked cauliflower rice

For the beef marinade:
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon mirin
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

For the sauce:
1/4 cup oyster sauce
2 teaspoons mirin
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth

Directions:

  1. Place the sliced beef in a large ziplock bag. Stir together the marinade ingredients and pour into the bag. Smoosh to coat the beef in the mixture, then let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, steam the broccoli for 2 minutes, or until crisp tender. Do not overcook as the broccoli will cook a bit more later in the recipe.
  3. Stir together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Heat an electric wok, or very large skillet, to high heat. Add the oil then gently place the beef in the wok and spread into a single layer. Let the beef cook for 1 minute without touching it.
  5. Add the garlic and stir continuously for 1 minute, then add in the sauce and broccoli. Bring the sauce to a boil, then add in the cornstarch dissolved in water. Cook until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Serve over cauliflower rice and enjoy! :)

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Have you heard of or tried cauliflower rice before, and if not are you now inspired to give it a go? I’d love to know what you think, and what your favourite way is to enjoy it!

6 Responses

  1. My boyfriend doesn’t like cauli which is a massive shame because I love it so now rarely get to eat it. Cauli rice sounds yummy so I might try sneak some into a meal and see if he notices! Done this enough times before with other foods and he eats what’s on his plate so maybe I’ll win at this one too ;)
    The Thrifty Magpies Nest

  2. I would be interested to try this but I am always quite skeptical of no-carb meals. Unless you have a sufficient amount of protein, for example eggs, meat and cheese then I can imagine myself still being hungry afterwards and then finding it difficult not to snack – and consequently eat more than I would have if I had just had a properly balanced meal. Although this recipe has beef in it, it looks like a starter more than a main meal.

    • Roz

      Everyone is different but to me this meal is very filling because of protein and lots of vegetables :)

  3. I have heard of cauliflower rice but have never tried it. And I have never heard of the 80/20 diet before, not sure if that has made its way to the States yet but sounds like a great plan.

    • Roz

      Read my post on the 8020 diet to find out more. don’t know if it’s an official diet really, it’s more my perpsn all philosophy to healthy eating! :) definitely give cauliflower rice a go x

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this! For health reasons, I’m on a low carb diet and I’m really missing rice when it comes to stirfrys! I can’t wait to give this a try!! :)

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