Cauliflower is enjoying renewed popularity as health-conscious chefs turn to it for its benefits and versatility. This sister to broccoli has anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties, and may be connected with cancer prevention. It also contains vitamin C, which protects against colds, flu, and damage caused by free radicals.
By itself, cauliflower has a rather neutral flavor, so consider it a blank canvas. Add some lemon and garlic or your favorite spices, and watch it transform into a savory culinary masterpiece. For a unique dinner idea, follow this recipe that turns your cauliflower into rice. With the addition of some light seasonings, you’ll discover a nourishing side dish that transcends the typical dinner routine.
Total: 00:35 Prep: 10 Cook: 25
Servings: 2 (as a side dish)
1 large white cauliflower (makes approximately 16 ounces of “rice”)
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for greasing
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease a baking sheet with oil and set aside.
2. To make the rice, quarter the cauliflower. Trim out the inner core of each quarter. Break the cauliflower into florets with your hands and place them into a bowl. If the core is tender, cut it into pieces the same size as the florets and add to the bowl.
3. Transfer some of the cauliflower to a food processor, filling until ¾ full. Pulse until cauliflower breaks down to the size and texture of rice or couscous. Avoid overprocessing and making the rice mushy. Set aside, and repeat with the remaining cauliflower in batches.
4. Combine the cauliflower rice, oil, garlic, and salt. Spread the mixture in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove the rice from the oven, and immediately transfer to a bowl.
5. Top with the lemon juice, parsley, and more salt to taste. Serve warm as a side, under chicken, or over a salad.
- Spicy Cauliflower Rice with Garlic and Lemon. Add ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes to the rice prior to roasting.
- Cauliflower Rice with Garlic, Lemon, and Feta. Add ¼ to ½ cup crumbled feta right before serving, and toss well. The feta combines nicely with the rice and adds a creamy texture, tangy bite, and vegetarian protein source.
- Cauliflower Rice with Garlic, Lemon, and Olives. Add some chopped kalamata olives before serving, and toss well. Olives that have been brined in vinegar and spices lend the most flavor. (Combine with the feta from Variation #2 for a complete Mediterranean meal.)
To grease the baking sheet, use about 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Using your fingers or a paper towel, make sure the whole sheet is thinly coated. This method is healthier than using chemical-filled aerosol cans of oil!
Cauliflower contains an array of vitamins, as well as the trace mineral manganese. Manganese is responsible for a variety of vital functions, from blood-sugar regulation and sex hormone production to calcium absorption and carbohydrate metabolism. Your body will benefit from eating cauliflower and other foods containing manganese.
Once made, this dish will last for about 3 to 4 days in your fridge. To keep it interesting, try serving with your favorite protein, such as chicken or fish, and then enjoy leftovers as a one-bowl meal with crumbled feta and chopped kalamata olives. You can also toss your leftovers with a leafy green salad.