Cilantro-lime cauliflower rice is a healthy, quick, and easy side dish. Finely chopped or grated cauliflower almost takes on the texture and appearance of rice, but has a lot less starch and a lot more good stuff like vitamins and fiber. Cauliflower rice reheats well too, so you can prep a batch ahead of time to help fuel your busy week. It’s low-carb and keto-friendly. It’s also worth trying with kids who usually resist vegetables.
To transform cauliflower florets into rice, the simplest method is to finely chop the cauliflower with a chef’s knife. It’s a straightforward approach, but a bit slow and labor-intensive. Another simple method is to grate the cauliflower with the medium-sized holes of a box grater. Although the size of the “grains” is less consistent, the overall texture isn’t really affected, and grating is faster than chopping. Finally, there’s the food processor. It’s super fast and efficient, but it's easy to get carried away. Don't process for too long or you will end up with cauliflower couscous.
Once you have riced the cauliflower, the hard work is over. Simply sauté the cauliflower rice in a little butter for a few minutes, season, and serve. Like regular rice, cauliflower rice has a pleasant but neutral taste that plays well with a wide range of other flavors. Cilantro and lime lend the recipe a Mexican feel, so this cauliflower rice works wonderfully in a lighter burrito bowl or as a side with beans.
- 3 cups riced cauliflower
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (or unsalted butter)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 lime (juiced)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (finely chopped)
Gather the ingredients.
Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil or butter. Once hot, add the riced cauliflower. Cook, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower is tender, but still has a little bite, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from heat, add the lime juice and chopped cilantro, and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
There are a few options when ricing cauliflower. Regardless of which approach you choose, start with clean, dry cauliflower florets and peeled stem.
- Chef's knife: On a large cutting board, chop the cauliflower until the size of large grains of rice.
- Grater: Use the medium-size holes of a box grater to grate the cauliflower.
- Food processor: Pulse the florets until the desired size is reached. Don't over-process.
- If you’re one of those people who can’t stand cilantro, try this recipe with just the lime, or substitute chopped parsley, mint, or even epazote.
- For a heartier variation, try red Spanish style cauliflower rice. Add minced garlic and tomato purée.
- And for the kids that only eat white food, prepare the cauliflower with just butter and salt.