Cauliflower Rice {with Garlic and Parmesan}

January 16, 2021

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Cauliflower Rice – with this easy recipe cauliflower florets are minced in a food processor, from there sautéed in a skillet and seasoned with fresh garlic, bright lemon and flavorful parmesan. This is one of my favorite ways to make it!

Photo of cauliflower rice shown from the side in a serving bowl.

Easy Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice is a simple, nutritious and even sneaky side dish that is everyone will enjoy.

My kids have even mistaken it for regular rice, so in other words it’s a great way to get anyone to eat vegetables.

With cauliflower rice you can easily adjust seasonings using other things like cilantro and lime. Or trying to mimic the classic Mexican rice by including sautéed onion, tomato paste, cumin and chili powder.

Other options are to make it lively and herbaceous by adding a blend of fresh herbs, or make it just a little more rich and lightly nutty in flavor by finishing it with some browned butter.

Endless possibilities with it, just like with classic white rice. It starts very plain but you can build up those flavors and seasoning as you like.

There’s just something about the trio of flavors used in this recipe though, they it will actually leave you craving it time and time again. That’s right, craving a vegetable!

I think the secret is including some rather boldly flavored ingredients because cauliflower is very mildly flavored on it’s own.

There’s just something addictive about that sharply toned yet very welcomed parmesan flavor included here, it really can turn the most drab and dull food into something that’s utterly enjoyable. Try this and you’ll see what all the hype is about!

Overhead photo of cauliflower rice in a blue bowl set over a wooden plate.

Cauliflower Rice Recipe Ingredients

  • Cauliflower: You’ll need 1 medium head (about 2 to 2 1/4 lbs). Use the freshest you can find, free of browning.
  • Olive oil: This is used for sautéing though butter will work great too.
  • Salt and pepper: Season to taste.
  • Garlic: I like this fairly garlicky so I go with 3 cloves, but of course you can adjust that amount to taste.
  • Parmesan: Wait until the end to add so it doesn’t seize up in the skillet.
  • Parsley: Feel free to double up the amount for an herbier flavor.
  • Lemon juice: If you don’t want this flavor here you can skip it, I just prefer that bit of brightness it gives.

Scroll down for full printable recipe with ingredient amounts.

Photo of ingredients used to make cauliflower rice. Includes fresh cauliflower, olive oil, parsley, garlic, parmesan, lemon, salt and pepper.

How to Make Cauliflower Rice

  1. Cut cauliflower: Cut cauliflower from the core, discard core (or reserve for a vegetable broth), cut remaining into florets.
  2. Mince in food processor in batches: Pulse half of the florets at a time in a food processor until they are between the size of rice grains.
  3. Heat oil and saute garlic in pan: Heat olive oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute 20 seconds.
  4. Add cauliflower to pan, season: Add in cauliflower, toss with garlic and spread into an even layer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Cook, tossing only occasionally: Let rest a few minutes then toss. Repeat this process until cauliflower is tender, about 6 minutes total.
  6. Add cheese, herb and lemon: Remove from heat, toss in parmesan, parsley and lemon. Serve warm.

Collage of four photos showing how to chop and prep cauliflower then showing it before and after mincing in a food processor.

Can it be riced without a food processor?

Yes the other method is to grate a cauliflower head that has been quartered using a cheese grater.

How to Make it Vegan

Just go with a vegan parmesan cheese (such as Follow Your Heart Brand) to make this recipe vegan. Start with 1/4 cup then add more to taste.

Collage of four photos showing how to cook cauliflower rice in a skillet and season at the end with parmesan and herbs.

Variations

Here are my other favorite ways to make it:

  1. Cauliflower Chicken Fried Rice
  2. Cilantro Lime Shrimp and Cauliflower Rice
  3. Loaded Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice shown overhead in a skillet.

Tips

  • Only pulse the florets in short bursts in the food processor so it minces more evenly (giving the top layer a chance to fall and be blitzed).
  • Pulse just to a small rice-like size, not like fine grains or it won’t have much texture.
  • Careful not to burn the garlic or this dish can taste bitter.
  • Only toss the “rice” occasionally while cooking.
  • Cook just to al dente. It should have a very light bite to it, you don’t want it completely soft and mushy.
  • Keep in mind it will cook a little off heat if you leave it in the pan from the residual heat.

Close up photo of cauliflower rice.

More Simple Sides to Try

Cauliflower Rice

Perfectly simple and deliciously seasoned cauliflower rice with garlic, bright lemon and flavorful parmesan. This is one of my favorite ways to make it!
Servings: 5
Prep12 minutes
Cook6 minutes
Ready in: 18 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 lbs)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup (1.2 oz) finely shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (optional)

Instructions

  • Cut cauliflower from the core, discard core, cut remaining into florets. 
  • Pulse half of the florets at a time in a food processor until they are between the size of rice grains.
  • Heat olive oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. 
  • Add garlic and saute 20 seconds. 
  • Add in cauliflower, toss with garlic and spread into an even layer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Let rest a few minutes then toss. Repeat this process until cauliflower is tender, about 6 minutes total. 
  • Remove from heat, toss in parmesan, parsley and lemon. Serve warm.
Nutrition Facts
Cauliflower Rice
Amount Per Serving
Calories 119 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 5mg2%
Sodium 156mg7%
Potassium 470mg13%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 427IU9%
Vitamin C 78mg95%
Calcium 124mg12%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.