Dinner/ Side dish

Parmesan cauliflower rice

8 May 2021 By Aleksandra

Parmesan cauliflower rice is my new favorite side dish. It’s seriously so good, flavorful, and light. I must admit, I really like it better than rice! A nice bonus – it’s also additionally low-carb, low-calorie, and gluten-free. In this recipe, I combined it with parmesan cheese, lemon zest, parsley, and garlic. Serve it with chicken, fish (we love it with this orange maple salmon), or seafood for a light and delicious meal!

Parmesan cauliflower rice in a green bowl. Kitchen cloth and parsley leaved in the background.

What is cauliflower rice

Cauliflower rice is simply cauliflower that has been chopped in a food processor until it resembles rice grains. It is then cooked with a couple of aromatic ingredients until nicely tender but still a little bit crunchy.

You’ll love this dish because:

  • it’s so flavorful
  • comes together quick
  • makes a healthy, low-carb, gluten-free, and keto-friendly side dish.

Another great way to cook cauliflower is roasting it or making cauliflower steaks.

Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make parmesan cauliflower rice:

Cauliflower – the best is fresh. Making cauliflower rice out of a whole head cauliflower is really super quick, it takes about 5 minutes (given that you will use a food processor). Alternatively, you can use store-bought cauliflower rice or frozen cauliflower (note that frozen cauliflower will be a little less crunchy, but in terms of flavor it will taste the same).

Cheese – I used parmesan cheese (ParmigianoReggiano) but you can also use grana padano or sub half the parmesan to pecorino cheese (this is a cheese similar to parmesan but it’s made with sheep’s milk and not cow’s milk, it has a more pronounced, tangier flavor).

Lemon zest – brightens up the dish.

Fresh parsley – you can also use dried or frozen chopped parsley, Italian/French herbs, or sub parsley for basil (but I think just plain chopped fresh parsley works best here).

Broth – it’s used to help cook the cauliflower without burning it in the pan, it also adds lots of flavor. You can use chicken broth or vegetable broth (I used chicken) or just water if you don’t have any broth on hand. Good-quality broth cubes will also do.

Butter – to cook the garlic and cauliflower.

Garlic – use fresh and not dried garlic for the best flavor.

Labeled ingredients for parmesan cauliflower rice.

Step by step instructions

How to cut cauliflower into rice

  • In a food processor:
    • Cut off the outer leaves of the cauliflower (discard them or add to your homemade vegetable broth).
    • Cut off the core, then divide the cauliflower into small florets.
    • Add the cauliflower florets in batches into a food processor and pulse until it resembles rice grains.
  • You can also grate the cauliflower on the big holes of a box grater.

Measure out 5 cups of cauliflower rice or 500g for this recipe.

Cauliflower head is being separated into florets. Riced cauliflower in a food processor container and showed on a spoon.

How to cook cauliflower rice

Garlic is being cooked with butter in a pan. Riced cauliflower in a pan.

STEP 1: Heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds or until fragrant.

STEP 2: Add the cauliflower rice. Cook over high heat, stirring, for about 3 minutes until slightly browned at the bottom.

Broth is being added to cauliflower rice. Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and parsley are being added to cauliflower rice.

STEP 3: Add the broth and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft but still a little bit crunchy.

STEP 4: Take the pan off the heat. Stir in grated Parmesan, lemon zest, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

Other cooking methods

You can also roast cauliflower rice in the oven. It’s a good method if you have lots of “rice” to prepare but it comes out less crunchy. How to do it: Add all the ingredients except the broth (it won’t be needed) to a baking sheet, toss until combined. Spread it in an even layer and bake for about 10-15 minutes at 400°F/200°C until soft.

Storage

How to store it: keep it in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

How to reheat: cauliflower rice reheats very well. You can reheat it in a non-stick pan or bake it in a 350°F/180°C oven until warm (about 5-10 minutes).

Make it ahead: you can make riced cauliflower and store it in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.

How to freeze: you can freeze riced cauliflower or cooked cauliflower rice and freeze it for up to 6 months. It will taste as good as freshly made but it will be a little less crunchy.

Parmesan cauliflower rice in a green bowl is being picked with a fork.

Top tips

  • Cooking time depends on how large cauliflower pieces are.
  • Don’t skip the broth – it’s easier to cook cauliflower with it (it doesn’t burn or stick to the pan) + adds more flavor to the dish. If you have a non-stick pan you can cook the cauliflower without the broth as it won’t stick that much but I still recommend adding broth for flavor.
  • Grate the cheese yourself for the best flavor, pre-grated cheese is less flavorful.

What to serve it with

FAQ

Does cauliflower rice taste like real rice?

It tastes very similar and actually better in my opinion (but I also love cauliflower)!

Is cauliflower rice supposed to be crunchy?

It should be soft but still a little bit crunchy and not soggy.

Can I use frozen cauliflower to make cauliflower rice?

Yes, you can, but your cauliflower rice will be rather soft and not crunchy (but it still will taste good!)

How to keep cauliflower from being soggy?

Cook it over high heat so that excess broth can evaporate. Don’t overcook it so it’s not too soft.

Parmesan cauliflower rice on a white plate served with salmon.

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

Parmesan cauliflower rice

Parmesan cauliflower rice is a flavorful side dish. I combined riced cauliflower with parmesan cheese, lemon zest, parsley, and garlic. Serve it with chicken, fish, or seafood for a light and delicious meal!
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Parmesan cauliflower rice in a green bowl.
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No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 152kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

  • 5 cups cauliflower rice 18 oz/500g, 1 very small cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cloves garlic pressed through a garlic press
  • 1/2 cup broth vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup (45g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • zest grated from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Make cauliflower rice:

  • Cut off the outer leaves of the cauliflower. Cut off the core, then divide the cauliflower into small florets.
  • Add the cauliflower florets in batches into a food processor and pulse until it resembles rice grains.
  • Measure out 5 cups of cauliflower rice (or 500g) for this recipe.

Cook the cauliflower:

  • Heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds or until fragrant.
  • Add the cauliflower rice. Cook over high heat, stirring, for about 3 minutes until slightly browned at the bottom.
  • Add the broth and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft but still a little bit crunchy (don't overcook it so it's not too soft).
  • Take the pan off the heat. Stir in grated Parmesan, lemon zest, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • You can also use store-bought cauliflower rice or frozen cauliflower.
  • You can use vegetable broth, chicken broth, or good-quality broth cubes. Don’t skip the broth – it’s easier to cook cauliflower with it (it doesn’t burn or stick to the pan) + adds more flavor to the dish. If you have a non-stick pan you can cook the cauliflower without the broth as it won’t stick that much but I still recommend adding broth for flavor.
  • How to store it: keep it in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
  • How to reheat: cauliflower rice reheats very well. You can reheat it in a non-stick pan or bake it in a 350°F/180°C oven until warm (about 5-10 minutes).
  • Make it ahead: you can make riced cauliflower and store it in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.
  • How to freeze: you can freeze riced cauliflower or cooked cauliflower rice and freeze it for up to 6 months. It will taste as good as freshly made but it will be a little less crunchy.
  • If you don’t have a food processor, you can also grate the cauliflower on the big holes of a box grater.
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/4 of the recipe). This is only an estimate!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword cauliflower rice, parmesan cauliflower rice, riced cauliflower recipe

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