What Is Cauliflower Rice?

What Is Cauliflower Rice?

You might not have noticed, but cauliflower has been sneaking up the list of food trends for several years now. First there were cauliflower steaks, oven-baked cruciferous slabs drizzled in olive oil, garlic, and salt. Then came cauliflower pizza crust, the low-carb, keto-and-paleo friendly idea that sent Pinterest and food-bloggers alike into a frenzy. There’s even Buffalo cauliflower, breaded and fried and cut to resemble a chicken drumstick.

Cauliflower rice has moved beyond trendy into the mainstream – it can now be commonly found premade on supermarket shelves and on the menu in upmarket restaurants across the bay area. According to urban legend, it was first made by chef Ben Ford – son of actor Harrison – in 1998; others trace it back further, insisting it was part of the Raw Food movement. Either way, for the last five years it’s been somewhat omnipresent – just have a glance in your local freezer section to see how many brands now exist.

Of course, grinding vegetables into some form of flour is nothing new – chickpea flour has been used across South Asia for centuries. But cauliflower has hit the mainstream thanks to a number of circumstances converging. Americans became increasingly obsessed by protein. Diets such as paleo and keto moved beyond being mere fads. Carbs were seen as the very antithesis of healthy eating. And so, every more inventive and elaborate ways of replacing traditional foods and ingredients were sought. Hence cauliflower rice.

Novelty doesn’t last forever – it either fades away, or simple becomes the norm. Cauliflower rice is well on its way to the latter. A common staple in supermarkets and pantries across the US, the health benefits compared to normal rice – no carbs, lower calories, high in fibre, packed with calcium and vitamin C – mean it’s not just those following paleo or keto who’ve made it a regular part of their diet.

Premade is convenient, but really, it’s so easy to make yourself. It’s almost effortless. Simply chop up a head of cauliflower into bite-sized florets, then pulse in a food processor till it has the size and consistency of rice (or grate it old school, using a box grater). That’s it – all that’s required. It can be eaten raw, but some people feel it has something of a bitter taste. And, if you want to cook it, that’s just as simple. 

Pan fry it in some olive oil. Bake it in the oven for 10 min. Steam it. Or just stick it in the microwave for 5 minutes. All of these produce a slightly different flavour, but all result in cauliflower rice that’s tender, and with the bitter edge taken off. Simply serve your preferred version as you would normal rice – alongside stews, stir fries, stuffed into peppers, or added to salads.

At Buffalo Market, we carry a number of cauliflower-based products, and can thoroughly recommend giving them a try – we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Or just stick some cauliflower in your cart and make cauliflower rice – simple, tasty, and super healthy. What’s not to like?