So, to the question, how do you make cauliflower rice taste better? There are several tips and tricks which might just change your mind when it comes to the flavour of your cauliflower rice.
But the first thing to be clear about is that cauliflower rice, isn’t rice. And it never will be!
So if you’re eating it with the hope of eating a bowl of rice, then you might be in for a disappointment.
But if you think of it as a completely different meal, well then in that case, you may well come to love your riced bowl of cauliflower.
And no, it doesn’t particularly taste of cauliflower.
Here is the summary of how you can make the most of cauliflower rice.
Table of Contents
How do You Make Cauliflower Rice Taste Better?
- Don’t boil, steam or use any water to cook cauliflower rice.
- Instead, cook the rice for a few minutes in a dry frying pan to soften.
- Use a drop of lemon juice of olive oil in the pan if you prefer but it isn’t essential.
- Make sure not to overcook.
- Add a dash of Tamari or gluten free soy sauce or ketcap manis to the cooking process or to the finished bowl.
- Serve with some stir-fried vegetables or flavoursome foods like coconut curry, chilli beans or cilantro sauce but be careful not to drown out the cauliflower rice. It isn’t as robust as real rice.
- Add some fresh parsley to the food processor and chop it up with the cauliflower rice (or choose another fresh herb that complements the meal).
- Season the cauliflower rice with a sprinkle of salt. (Essential for the best flavour)
- If you like it, stir some tahini through the final result. Yum.
What is Cauliflower Rice?
Cauliflower rice is cauliflower that’s been pulsed in a food processor to make it into tiny little pieces the size of rice. Some people also use a knife to chop it up very small, but I find a food processor works better.
It can be eaten in place of rice and although it tastes different but it can fulfil a similar role as normal rice.
For example, you can eat cauliflower rice with a curry or add mixed vegetables to it to replace a nasi style rice dish.
Cauliflower rice has become well known partly because people are looking for a fantastic low carb, low calorie alternative to rice. But it can also be eaten in its own right, with no special need to diet or anything.
After all, if you’re on a whole foods plant based journey, you probably won’t be interested in counting your carbs or calories.
I’m certainly not!
But cauliflower rice can still be a great addition to your cooking skills and you can serve it alongside a bean salad for a healthy balanced vegan meal that can be prepared completely in advance.
How do You Make Plain Cauliflower Rice?
Break the cauliflower into small florets and add them to the bowl of your food processor. If your food processor is small like mine, you’ll have to make it in batches.
Pulse to blend a few times until you have small, chopped up cauliflower bits. Transfer to a dish and repeat with more florets until you have the quantity you want.
How to Cook the Cauliflower Rice
I prefer to cook it in a dry frying pan on top of the hob but there are other alternatives. Here are some of the various ways to cook cauliflower rice:
- Pan-fry in a dry non-stick pan (my preferred method)
- Fry in a dry non-stick pan with a little freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Pan fry in a little olive oil if you prefer
- Oven roast
- Boil (not recommended)
Whatever you do, don’t overcook the cauliflower rice or it will become mushy.
How do You Make Cauliflower Rice Not Taste Like Cauliflower?
Let’s be clear about one thing: cauliflower rice isn’t the same as rice. So don’t go expecting your cauliflower to turn into a grain.
Having said that, it’s surprising just how much the flavour changes when you prepare the cauliflower in this way (without water).
It doesn’t taste like cauliflower.
The flavour becomes very mild when the cauliflower is riced.
You can also serve your cauliflower rice with other flavoured dishes, and because the flavour of the rice is mild, it will be dominated by the dish you serve it will, like an oil free tomato sauce with added spice for example.
I actually like cauliflower rice just as it is, with the added salt and parsley, served with whatever I happen to be eating that meal, but it’s most tasty when served with other things.
Check if Your Cauliflower Rice Still Tastes like Cauliflower
If the cauliflower rice still tastes like cauliflower, maybe you’re cooking it wrong. My cauliflower rice seriously doesn’t taste of cauliflower at all.
I did wonder whether I was being biased, or imagining it, so to be sure, I did a test.
I cooked some cauliflower rice with vegetables and served up a tapa for two people without telling them what it was. I asked simply that they should tell me what they were eating.
Both of them proudly listed the individual vegetables which they could identify, and then after umming and ahhing a while, they decided it must be quinoa! (Even though it isn’t anything like quinoa.)
For me that was proof enough that this doesn’t taste like cauliflower.
Why does Cauliflower Rice Stink?
Cauliflower can stink because it contains sulphur compounds which are released during cooking.
However, cauliflower only smells when it’s cooked for a longer period and in water, so if you use the dry frying pan method, you’ll find that the cauliflower rice doesn’t stink anymore.
I cook my cauliflower rice without any water and I prefer it like that.
It’s your choice though, and the smell of cauliflower isn’t really that bad after all!
How do you stop it from smelling in the fridge?
Much the same as how to stop cauliflower from smelling when you cook it, to stop cauliflower from smelling in the fridge you can toast it, roast it, dry-fry it, saute it, or any other way of cooking except boiling it.
Why does My Cauliflower Taste Sour?
Cauliflower can turn slightly sour when overcooked. It can also be sour from too much sunlight while growing up on the plant, so it isn’t always the chef’s fault!
But if you have a delicious, white, sweet cauliflower when raw, which turns sour upon cooking, then you can investigate your cooking methods and try to treat the cauliflower with more care, to avoid the bitterness.
If you have a very old, soft cauliflower that’s turning grey in areas it could be already beyond its best moment and have a slightly bitter flavour.
How do You Fix Sour Cauliflower Rice?
If your cauliflower rice has turned bitter or sour due to overcooking, you can’t really retract that.
The best thing to do would be to season your rice with a little salt and parsley, serve it with a tasty meal and make sure that you learn from the experience and cook it without water the next time.
And if you have an old cauliflower, the simple solution is to find a fresh looking bright white one which will automatically taste sweeter.
What Seasonings do You Put in Cauliflower Rice?
Cauliflower rice can be served plain, just like white rice, to accompany a tasty meal of some sort. Even plain white cauliflower rice will benefit from a sprinkling of salt.
It can also be flavoured with a fresh herb of your choice. I like to use fresh parsley blended through with the cauliflower.
You could substitute the parsley for cilantro.
You can also cook it with a whole range of flavourings. Add garlic, ginger, chilli, cumin and coriander for example.
Add a dash of gluten free ketcap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce) to the pan for an added sweetness.
The trick is, like with all cooking, is to play around with it to find your favourite way of eating it.
Is Cauliflower Rice Good for Weight Loss?
Cauliflower rice is one of those favourite dishes for anyone on a low calorie or low carb diet.
According to healthline, cauliflower rice isn’t only great for weight loss but also for fighting some illnesses and preventing others.
It can be used to substitute grains such as rice and cous-cous, in salads, stir-fries, burritos and more.
Can I Freeze Cauliflower Rice?
You can freeze your cauliflower rice raw. Transfer the cauliflower rice into zip bags and place into the freezer before cooking.
When you take the rice out of the freezer however, you’ll need to remove the excess moisture in the cauliflower, by squeezing it out in a cloth.
Personally, unless you have a super freezer and you’re likely to benefit from having the rice in the freezer, I would just zap the cauliflower the same day that I want to cook it, rather than freezing it and the reason is that the additional liquid could spoil your rice.
Can I Freeze Cauliflower Rice Without Blanching?
It’s better to freeze the cauliflower rice raw than cooked as otherwise it can lose it’s firm texture or get soggy from the freezing.
If it’s wet when it comes out of the freezer, you’ll need to wring out the rice in a cloth to get rid of the liquid.
Can I Reheat Cauliflower Rice?
Cauliflower rice can be reheated without any problems. Just put it into a microwavable container and heat for about a minute, depending on the quantity.
The only caveat here is that cauliflower rice is best eaten soon after you make it (unless you freeze it) as it can deteriorate and start to smell if left in the fridge.
So eat it fresh, but if it’s a matter of a few hours, of course go ahead and reheat it.
Can You Eat Raw Cauliflower Rice?
You can eat the cauliflower rice raw but it tastes more of cauliflower than when it’s been cooked for a couple of minutes.
The mystery of the changing flavour only occurs after cooking.
How to Serve Cauliflower Rice
You can eat cauliflower rice in so many ways:
- as part of a delicious vegan bowl
- cauliflower rice salad – by adding veggies to the rice
- to accompany a vegetable ‘stir fry’
- as an accompaniment to sweet potato curry or chilli beans
- serve in its own right as a side dish or snack
- with asparagus salad
Basically you can do anything you like with cauliflower rice and it’s really very versatile.
Just don’t think of it as rice; instead think of this as an interesting and versatile new dish to try.
And if you want to try switching your potato for cauliflower, you may be interested in whether mashed cauliflower tastes the same as mashed potato.
I hope you enjoy your cauliflower rice!