Having a gluten allergy has forced me to become creative in the kitchen, especially when it comes to side dishes. Although rice is easy to prepare and gluten-free, it lacks significant nutritional benefits.

Cauliflower on the other hand is low in fat and carbohydrates and high in dietary fiber, folate, water and vitamin C - making it a great alternative to traditional starchy sides, just like steel cut oats!

Below is my basic riced cauliflower recipe and a few tasty variations.  As always, I encourage you to experiment with new flavors and share your ideas with us!

Basic Riced Cauliflower

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5+ minutes
Total time: 15-20 minutes

Serves: 12
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, separate the florets from the stalks
  • 4 tsp salted butter
  • 1 stalk fresh leeks, chopped

Instructions

  1. To create texture, pulse the florets in small batches in a Cuisinart food processor until they begin to look like rice.  Do not over pulse or too much moisture will be released, and the cauliflower will become soggy.  Set aside. Note: You can also "rice" the cauliflower using a chef’s knife by shaving the head of the cauliflower onto a sheet pan. A cheese grater will also work. 
  2. Pulse the stalks.  You may need to pulse these longer so they will properly break down.
  3. Place riced cauliflower in a bowl.  Firmly pat with paper towels until the excess moisture is gone.
  4. Over medium heat, melt butter in a large sauté pan.
  5. Add leeks to the sauté pan and brown them in the melted butter.
  6. Add the pulsed cauliflower florets and stalks and stir for 5 minutes.   I like my riced cauliflower to have a crunch to it, but if you prefer yours softer, cook for an additional 3 – 5 minutes.
  7. Salt to taste.  Enjoy!

Pesto Riced Cauliflower

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp basil pesto
  • ½ red pepper, small dice
  • 1 large of head cauliflower, pulsed

Instructions

  1. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add garlic.  Sauté until garlic is soft and begins to turn golden.
  2. Add red peppers and sauté for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add pulsed cauliflower and stir for 5 minutes.
  4. Add pesto and mix well.
  5. Salt to taste.

Great with grilled chicken or pan-seared fish.

Mushroom & Sun-Dried Tomato Riced Cauliflower 

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small container Cremini or porcini mushrooms, chopped
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes, minced
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
  • ½ log local goat cheese
  • 3 sprigs flat leaf parsley, remove stems, coarsely chop leaves
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, pulsed

Instructions

  1. Over medium heat, melt butter in a large sauté pan.
  2. Add garlic and sauté until golden.
  3. Add mushrooms and cook until soft and they begin to release their moisture.
  4. Add sun-dried tomatoes and sauté for another 5 minutes.
  5. Add pulsed cauliflower and stir for 5 minutes.
  6. Salt to taste.
  7. Set in a serving bowl and sprinkle local goat cheese, walnuts and parsley over the top.

Note: Toasting the walnuts in a pan on medium heat will bring out the oils and make for a nuttier flavor.  There is no need to add oil to the pan.  Simply make sure the pan is hot, add the walnuts and keep stirring to evenly toast.


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