How To Make Riced Cauliflower Rice

Seasoned Garlic Riced Cauliflower
Seasoned Garlic Riced Cauliflower

Riced cauliflower is simple to prepare and with a little creativity a versatile supplement to your meal making. Riced cauliflower may be substituted for rice and such things as soups or used to stretch foods, especially, almost homemade dishes. For example, if your family likes rice or mashed potatoes which you want to stretch or would like to reduce the calories of each serving adding riced cauliflower in moderation, of course, will do this very nicely.

How to make cauliflower rice

Two Prepare Your Cauliflower For The Food Processor

This is a quick and easy task, basically, stripping it down and cutting into the usable pieces for easy chopping by the food processor, which consists of:

  • washer cauliflower with warmish water
  • on a cutting board with a large sturdy knife, chop off the leaves and the hard center stalk
  • cut the cauliflower into 1-2 inch florets.

How to Make Cauliflower Rice

To convert your florets to riced cauliflower you can use a food processor. I find food processors fast and easy and here are the essential steps:

  • Put the florets into a food processor.
  • For smaller food processors, you may need to do this into multiple small batches.
  • Don’t overfill your food processor. For best results feel your food processor to about the center of the slicing blade. Otherwise, you may end up with large pieces which need to be cleaned out and reprocessed.
  • Pulse your food processor several times until it arrives at the size and consistency you desire, usually, about the size of sushi rice grains. At least, that’s the size I use since I don’t really cook with long grain rice.

Cooking Note

alternatively, you can use a hand grater or high-speed blender to riced cauliflower as well, but usually, the results are not quite the same.

Shopping Note

I’ve not had any difficulty finding frozen riced cauliflower in the local grocery stores and it can be a timesaver if you prefer not to do a couple of bulk batches on a weekend or on a given day. Also, if you don’t have the time, tools, or desire to make riced cauliflower yourself the grocery store version can be a real timesaver and still provide a healthy food alternative. When working with frozen riced cauliflower from the grocery store I usually either let it fall in the refrigerator until ready to use it or give it a quick spin in the microwave according to the instructions on the package before including it in my other dishes which I may be preparing.

Uses of riced cauliflower

I find riced cauliflower to be exceptionally useful and I use it in any number of ways so here’s a quick list of some of the ways that I have used it:

  • adding rice cauliflower to my rice cooker on preparing a fresh batch of rice.
  • Adding riced cauliflower to instant mashed potatoes to make almost homemade mashed potatoes and achieving the same effect as I get to my rice.
  • Adding a small helping of rice cauliflower to a soup or stew. I usually do this in the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking as riced cauliflower doesn’t take long to cook. I especially like to do this in soups where a small quantity of rice or potatoes is added.
  • Adding riced cauliflower in the grated cheese later of many dishes will nicely incorporate them into your meal. For example, adding riced cauliflower to the different cheese layers of a lasagna may happen to be making.

These uses of riced cauliflower not only stretch the dish, but it also reduces the calories of each serving and improved nutrition.

If you want to use it straight is a seasoned side dish, that works very well too, and we frequently do so.

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Almost Homemade – Cream of Celery Soup

This almost home soup is one, which I have prepared from time to time over the years. This approach is a quick and easy way to dress up an ordinary can of cream of celery soup.

Cooking Process

  • In a tablespoon of butter or your favorite cooking oil saute onion and celery (see measures below), over medium heat, until they are tender and the onions are translucent :
    • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of diced sweet onion or shallots, according to taste
    • 4 to 6, diced, celery sticks
  • Add condensed cream of celery soup
  • Replace can of water to be added to whole milk
  • To increase the volume of soup, I usually, add a second can of milk (Optional)
  • Add 1 teaspoon of whole celery seeds  (optional)
  • Simmer until ingredients have combined, then either serve or refrigerate for later use.

Notes

  • We frequently prepare this on Sunday and reheat it in the microwave during the week as a quick and easy dinner starter.

 

Almost Homemade – Yellow Rice With Broccoli

Almost Homemade Yellow Rice With Broccoli Recipe
Almost Homemade Yellow Rice With Broccoli

This is a quick and healthy way to stretch a package of Yellow Rice or Yellow Rice with Broccoli mix.  This side dish is one we have only recently added to our selection of quick and easy ways to freshen up boxed products.  We have sided it as a side a couple of time when casually entertaining friends and it has been well received.

I usually start with a 16-ounce package of frozen chopped broccoli or broccoli florets, but chopped fresh broccoli will work just fine if you happen to have it.  Feel free to adjust the quantity of broccoli according to your families tastes.  The first time I made this side dish, I actually measured an exact cup of broccoli and it very nicely.

Cooking Process

You may want to deviate from this process, but this is how I do to ensure that broccoli doesn’t overpower the flavor and to keep preparation time to a minimum.

  • Put rice on to cook according to the directions, which normally takes about 25 minutes to cook.
  • About ten minutes into the rice cooking time, put the broccoli on to steam on high. This allows about 15 minutes for the broccoli to heat and cook until tender.
  • Once the rice and broccoli are cooked and still hot, combine in a mixing bowl or other appropriate container, and serve.
  • Steam cauliflower, until tender

Optional Flavor Suggestions

  • If you would like to dress it up a notch, consider adding a tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese or Parmesan and Romano cheese

Notes

  • We have found this to make an excellent reheatable side dish for lunches, as well.

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Almost Homemade – Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Almost Homemade Garlic Mashed Potatoes, recipe, side dish, side, semi-homemade, almost Homemade
Almost Homemade Garlic Mashed Potatoes

This is a quick and healthy way to stretch a package of instant mashed potatoes.  While we have tried the approach with a variety of flavors, the Roasted Garlic flavor works particularly well.

I usually start with a  16-ounce  package of frozen Cauliflower florets, but fresh cauliflower will work just fine if you happen to have it.

Cooking Process

  • Steam cauliflower, until tender
  • Mash the cauliflower, according to your families tolerance for lumps.  Generally, smaller is better.
  • Cook 4 ounce package of Roasted Garlic mashed potatoes  according to the instructions
  • add the mashed cauliflower, when adding package dry ingredients and mix in thoroughly.

Servings

  • Using this approach and following the 1/2 cup prepared serving size of mashed potatoes, you add 5 more servings, for a total of 9 serving.

Calorie Reduction

  • The calorie count, per serving, is reduced by almost half; from 100 to 54 calories per serving.

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Almost Homemade – Dirty Rice

Almost Homemade Dirty Rice, rice, recipe, semi-homemade, side, side dish, almost homemade
Almost Homemade Dirty Rice

This an almost homemade dirty rice dish, quick and easy,  and we include it from time to time in our regular meal regiment.  Actually, we don’t usually eat dirty rice strictly according to the cooking instructions.

For this batch of almost homemade dirty rice, we used extra lean hamburger. Then we added the ingredients below immediately after browning the hamburger and followed the instruction as usual.

  • Two garden fresh red peppers diced (we used ripened Poblano peppers, but sweet peppers, including bell peppers, will work fine)
  •  ½ cup of carrots chopped small
  • ½ cup of diced celery
  •  ¼ cup onion diced

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Why use applesauce as an oil substitute in baking?

Applesauce
Applesauce

There are three reasons that I use unsweetened applesauce as a substitute for oil in my baking, especially, almost homemade recipes. The reasons are nutrition, texture, and flavor.  Applesauce, in my opinion, adds a lot of character to your baking, especially, in cakes and bread without all the added calories and oil fats.

Another good reason to consider applesauce an oil substitute is the simple fact that you can grow apples in your backyard, garden, and/or orchard.   Healthy applesauce is easy enough to make at home and, if you happen to have enough apples in your backyard, you can make a large quantity, which when canned stores for years.  So, from an Eco-friendly point of view, you don’t need to pay to have large corporations process the oil and shipment it from around the world to get it to your local grocer.

Simply stated even a good olive oil has little in it be on calories fat and some vitamin E.  While it is true, depending on what oil you cook with, your oil may contain some omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, the quantity is so small when compared to the calorie and fat ratio, as not to make it worth adding it into your baking for that purpose alone.

Applesauce, on the other hand, has no fat, add dietary fiber, natural carbohydrates, and sugars; not to mention more flavor.  Oil in cooking is one of American cooking’s most overused ingredients.  It’s used in baking, mostly, to make foods moist.

The table below does a brief comparison of a 1/4 ounce serving of both applesauce and oil:

Nutrition FactsOlive OilApplesauce
Calories48050
Total Fat56g0
Cholesterol00
Sodium025mg
Total carbs012g
Protein00
Vitamin E15%0
Dietary fiber02
Sugar08g

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What is the Almost Homemade cooking strategy?

The “Almost Homemade” strategy is for those busy days when you may not have the time and/or the energy to cook from scratch. Or, if you are a beginning cook needing to put food on the table, it is an excellent way to add variety and value to your meal without having to master the recipe from scratch today.

The Concept

In a nutshell, this concept is taking a prepackaged item and making it more personal and getting more value from the meal.

The Basic Approach

The basic approach of “Almost Homemade” is using additional ingredients and/or using ingredient substitution in a package dish (e.g., box mix, canned soup/chili, etc.). To keep the convenience of a prepackaged meal, while making them more unique, personal, nutritious, and valuable.

The Method

  • Read the ingredients of the package recipe is looking for listed items, which you supplement with additional quantities, and may already have available for use (such as; garden vegetables, small amounts of fresh or frozen vegetables, Fresh, precooked or leftovers, fresh fruit).
  • Read the instructions for ingredients, which can be substituted with healthier alternatives. For example, replacing some or all of the oil and/or butter in a box mix with unsweetened or homemade applesauce.
  • Read the stir and ideas or alternate recipe suggestions, these can give you some additional thoughts.
  • Consider the food theme (e.g., Italian, Spanish, etc.) of items for fruits, vegetables, and meats, which can be added to this and make flavor sense based on the food theme. For example, if the food theme is Spanish you may be able to add some cooked beans, green beans, chopped green pepper, onions, etc..
  • Decide on the approach or approaches which you wish to apply.
  • Gather the ingredients for preparation and those you want to use as substitutes and/or additions to the dish
  • Prepare the pre-packaged meal according to the instructions making the substitutions or adding supplemental items, where the original items were identified or would be included in the instructions.

Tips

  • when working with frozen fruits and vegetables, it is best to thaw them and drain off excess liquid before adding them to the dish.
  • When adding canned items (e.g., fruits, sweet corn), consider whether or not you can use the juice/syrup as a substitute for some of the dish’s liquid requirements. This can add additional flavor depth to the items, such as cakes, rice and/or dehydrated potato dishes.
  • Make sure all raw, refrigerated (including leftovers), and frozen items achieve food safety cooking temperature levels.
  • When leveraging leftovers, be sure they are well within the safe food storage time frames and are unspoiled – use the  “When In Doubt, Throw It Out ” Rule
  • consider starting small and working your way up to a comfortable balance for your family, and you may, actually, want to write down the combination, which your family particularly liked for future repetition.

Advantages of the Approach

The “Almost homemade” approach to prepackaged food can provide several benefits for the home cook, which can be:

Making Prepackaged Food More Healthy

Depending on the prepackaged dish you are working with, you may be able to use substitution or add ingredients to increase the nutritional value, decrease fat levels, reduced-calorie levels, and/or reduced-sodium will level of each serving.

Make More Use of Foods You All Ready Have

Items you may have quantities too small to use or to preserve by themselves, you can often incorporate them into a prepackaged dish without any substantial additional effort and without the potential loss of the food item due to spoilage.

Make Use of Garden Vegetables

Garden vegetable production varies across time, or your garden is small and only able to produce small quantities of fruits and vegetables, but even a single tomato, carrot, or summer squash can be added to the right pre-packaged dish. During those times when you may have too much of a good thing in your vegetable garden or have small surpluses after your preservation (e.g., Canning) efforts, you can incorporate them into prepackaged dishes to add variety while putting your garden produce to good use.

Increase the value of Prepackaged Foods

By supplementing your prepackaged meal with fruits, vegetables, and meats, you can create more servings from the same sized package, which you can reduce your need to use more boxes to serve larger dinners or to prepare additional dishes to offset the missing food value volume and/or meals for your family and guests.

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