Cauliflower rice is a popular low carb substitute for rice that’s made by shredding or grating fresh cauliflower.
The resulting product not only packs vitamins and minerals but also has the look and feel of rice — at a fraction of the calories and carbs. It can be eaten raw or cooked.
This article tells you everything you need to know about cauliflower rice, including its nutrition facts and how to make it.
Calorie and carb content
At 25 calories per cup (107 grams) — both raw and cooked — cauliflower rice provides just 10–20% of the calories you’d expect from the same quantity of cooked rice. It’s also particularly hydrating, as water comprises over 90% of its weight (Trusted Source).
Research links low calorie, water-dense foods like cauliflower to weight loss, as they may reduce hunger and boost feelings of fullness. Both of these factors may reduce your calorie intake (Trusted Source).
In addition, cauliflower rice is low in carbs. It provides only 3 grams of net carbs per cup (107 grams) — 18 times fewer carbs than the same quantity of rice (Trusted Source).
The term net carbs measures the number of carbs your body ends up digesting. It’s calculated by subtracting a food’s grams of fiber from its total carbs.
While carbs are one of your body’s primary sources of energy, many people follow low carb diets like the ketogenic diet to try to lose weight. As such, cauliflower rice could be particularly helpful for people looking to slash their carb intake.
Compared with regular rice, cauliflower rice is especially low in calories and carbs. This makes it a popular choice for people trying to lose weight or watch their carb intake.
Cauliflower rice is rich in nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. One raw cup (107 grams) contains (Trusted Source):
- Calories: 27
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: less than 1 gram
- Carbs: 5 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Vitamin C: 57% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Folate: 15% of the DV
- Vitamin K: 14% of the DV
- Pantothenic acid: 14% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 12% of the DV
- Choline: 9% of the DV
- Manganese: 7% of the DV
- Potassium: 7% of the DV
The fiber in cauliflower rice helps feed the healthy bacteria in your gut, reducing inflammation and promoting digestive health (Trusted Source).
Studies link fiber-rich veggies like cauliflower to a lower risk of illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Fiber also promotes feelings of fullness, which may aid weight loss (Trusted Source).
In addition, cauliflower is one of the best plant sources of choline — a nutrient crucial for your heart, liver, brain, and nervous system .
Moreover, like other cruciferous vegetables, it’s rich in glucosinolate and isothiocyanate antioxidants, which fight inflammation and may even slow cancer cell growth (Trusted Source).
Cauliflower rice is a good source of fiber, choline, and various antioxidants. It’s particularly rich in vitamin C.
How to make it
Cauliflower rice is easy to make.
Start by washing and drying a head of cauliflower thoroughly before removing the greens. Then cut the head into four large chunks and grate each of them individually with a box grater.
The medium-sized holes commonly used to grate cheese tend to yield pieces that best imitate the texture of cooked rice.
Alternatively, you can use the grater attachment on a food processor, or the pulse setting on a high-speed blender to shred your cauliflower more quickly. Just keep in mind that these techniques may make a final product that’s slightly less fluffy.
Once shredded, remove excess moisture from the rice by pressing it into an absorbent dishtowel or large paper towel. This helps prevent sogginess.
Cauliflower rice is best eaten fresh. While it can be refrigerated for up to 5 days, it may develop an unpleasant sulfur smell.
Cooking and freezing it immediately can limit this odor. Cauliflower rice can be safely frozen for up to 12 months .
Cooking instructions and dishes
Cauliflower rice makes a versatile addition to many dishes.
You can eat it raw or sauté it in a large skillet. To do so, heat a small amount of oil over medium heat, add the cauliflower rice and spices of your choice, and cover with a lid. You don’t need to add water, as this veggie is already water rich.
Cook for 5–8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the “grains” become slightly tender.
Cauliflower rice is an excellent substitute for rice and other grains in dishes like fried rice, risotto, tabouleh, rice salad, stuffed vegetables, sushi, rice fritters, and stir-fries. You can also add it to burrito bowls, soups, and casseroles.
For a unique twist, try adding cauliflower rice to smoothies or use it to make porridge or pizza crust.
To make cauliflower rice, simply grate or shred raw cauliflower with a grater or food processor. Though it’s best eaten fresh, you can also refrigerate or freeze it. It makes a great alternative to rice and other grains in a variety of dishes.
Homemade versus store-bought
Store-bought cauliflower rice is a quick substitute for the homemade version. It’s particularly convenient when you’re in a rush or when fresh cauliflower isn’t available.
Keep in mind that fresh vegetables start losing some of their nutrient content once cut. Hence, fresh cauliflower rice likely packs slightly more nutrients than store-bought versions (17Trusted Source).
Keep in mind that store-bought versions may vary slightly in taste and texture compared with homemade cauliflower rice.
Store-bought cauliflower rice may save you a bit of time in the kitchen. Although frozen varieties may retain slightly more nutrients than refrigerated versions, both options are generally just as nutritious as homemade versions.
Cauliflower rice is a nutritious alternative to rice that’s low in calories and carbs.
It may even provide a number of benefits, such as boosting weight loss, fighting inflammation, and even protecting against certain illnesses. What’s more, it’s simple to make and can be eaten raw or cooked.
The next time you’re thinking about cooking rice, consider grating whole cauliflower instead.
Read more about: The Top 8 Health Benefits of Cauliflower