Friday, July 22, 2016

Cauliflower Rice

A grain-free diet can help many of us with health issues. It’s been found to help those with not only digestive trouble, but also conditions like fatty liver, diabetes and autoimmune issues. When you decide to cut out things like wheat, oats, kamut, rye, spelt, rice, corn, and the like, you start becoming creative with substitutions. Something I’ve come to enjoy despite my initial reservations is “cauliflower rice”.

I won’t pretend and tell you it tastes like rice, because it certainly doesn’t. But it does look a little like rice, hence the name. Cauliflower rice makes a nice accompaniment to Asian dishes. I use it under stir-fried vegetables and chicken, for instance, to soak up the sauce.

What’s nice about this side dish is that it doesn’t fill you up with all that useless starch like rice does. I know a lot of people say they couldn’t give up rice, especially Asians. Likely introduced at birth and served with nearly every meal, rice has become comfort food to them - a  link to family, culture and tradition.  I get that.

But to say that rice is nutritious is inaccurate. There is very little nutrition in it and even the Whole Grains Council admits that rice is a processed food and highly refined. This is because the germ and bran have been stripped off it. Ok, brown rice is better, but it’s still pretty starchy. With white rice, all that's left is a shell of its former self, technically a grain but not even considered a whole one at that. It’s got a ton (45g) of carbohydrates per cup and very little to offer in the way of fiber and nutrients.

In contrast, cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cabbage, kale, mustard greens, bok choy and our friend cauliflower offer wonderful benefits to our health. Cauliflower, actually, is nearly a superfood; that’s because it:

1. Fights cancer with it’s sulphuric compound called sulforaphane.
2. Boosts heart health, again because of its sulforaphane.
3. Is anti-inflammatory because of its 13C, indole-3-carbinol, an anti-inflammatory compound
4. Is rich in vitamins and minerals: Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and B, potassium and manganese.
5. Boosts brain health because of its choline.
6. Offers detoxification support
7. Has digestive benefits
8. Contains antioxidants and phytonutrients.

Hopefully I’ve sold you on why rice is out and cauliflower is in. Now, on to the recipe.

Cauliflower “Rice"

1 whole head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup water

Feed the cauliflower florets into the feeding tube of your food processor which has been fitted with a grater disc and process until grated into a rice “grain". Heat oil in a large skillet or wok and add onion and garlic, sautéing for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and cook 5-7 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add water, then cover and steam for 5 minutes until the veg is cooked and the water has been absorbed.

Alternatively you can make the following substitutions, especially if serving with something like mango salsa over fish (yum!):

Use coconut oil instead of EVOO;
use 1/4 cup coconut milk in lieu of the water;
use green onions instead of yellow;
omit the garlic and add 1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, 1Tbsp. lime juice, 2 tsp honey and 3/4 tsp sea salt instead.

I hope you enjoy it!


  1. Thanks for the substitutions. Perry's diet includes green onions but no others right now and no garlic. He is not a fan of cauliflower but I am going to try this. Have you tried Miracle noodle or Miracle rice? Pretty good. They both hold there texture very well and take on the taste of whatever.

  2. Onions and garlic contain FODMAPs and are recommended to be avoided for those with digestive complaints, so I get it. I have trouble with them, too. One trick to getting garlic flavor is to add them to food you’re cooking but then removing them (and not eating them). The garlic imparts its flavor into the food but you’re not actually ingesting it.

  3. I have not heard of Miracle Noodle but just visited their website and am totally intrigued! I think I’m going to get me some! Thanks for the suggestion!


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