PREP TIME: 10 minutes

COOKING TIME: 5 to 10 minutes

MAKES 4 servings

This rice substitute is one of my favorite starch replacers; the finished dish doesn’t have an overpowering cauliflower flavor (as one might expect), and it has a great texture that makes it ideal for pairing with a wide range of meals. This is a basic recipe that can be used as a starting point for a wide range of flavored rice dishes.

1 medium cauliflower (about 1½ lbs/675 g)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


We use two types of olive oil in the kitchen: extra-virgin olive oil and refined olive oil. The latter is often simply called “olive oil” and a description of its cooking applications is sometimes included on the label, such as “for sautéing and grilling.” Extra-virgin olive oil should never be used in cooking; instead, use it for cold applications only, such as when drizzling olive oil over plated dishes, as a finishing oil, or in recipes such as gazpacho or vinaigrettes. When using olive oil in cooking, always reach for what’s called simply “olive oil.”

  1. To rice the cauliflower, remove the leaves and stalk from the cauliflower and roughly chop into florets. Place the cauliflower into a food processor with the S-blade in place. Process the cauliflower in short pulses until it is chopped up into pieces the size of grains of rice. Alternatively, you can use the grater blade for your food processor to grate the florets. If you do not have a food processor, you can also use the large holes on a box cheese grater to shred the cauliflower into rice-size pieces.
  2. Place the cauliflower into a large saucepan and drizzle with the oil. Cover the pan and gently steam over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring regularly and keeping the lid on until the “rice” is tender. Remove the saucepan from the heat, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
  3. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes in a microwave-safe bowl covered with plastic wrap.


image Don’t add any water to the cauliflower; there is enough naturally occurring water in the cauliflower to help steam the rice.

image Remove the rice from the heat when it is just barely tender; don’t overcook it, as it can become mushy. Cauliflower rice will have a slightly firmer texture than regular rice.

image Raw cauliflower can be riced ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days until ready to cook.