Welcome to my new favorite comfort food with a healthy twist: Super Cheesy Cauliflower Rice. If Mac and Cheese met Cauliflower, fell in love and had a baby, it would be this Cheesy Cauliflower Rice. It’s so good that I didn’t even get fancy here by adding any other flavors. You get cauliflower and cheese…plus some other ingredients to help it get it on. This Cheesy Cauliflower Rice is a delicious gluten free, low-carb alternative to a pasta or rice side dish.
Add Vitamins & Nutrients to a Deliciously Cheesy Dish!
I eat a [mostly] gluten-free diet because it prevents uncomfortable bloating. For this Cheesy Cauliflower Rice recipe, you replace pasta or rice with cauliflower which gives you the same satisfying hearty texture as rice. AND you are not just taking away gluten, you are ADDING lots of vitamins and nutrients. “Cauliflower is high in fiber, which slows down the rate at which we absorb sugar, therefore helping to keep our blood sugar levels from spiking. It has 77% of the RDI (reference daily intake) for Vitamin C. It’s also packed with Vitamins K and B6, folate, magnesium, among many others. Cauliflower is also packed with antioxidants, which have been shown to slow the growth of cancer cells.” (Liana Purvis, Fitness & Nutrition Expert at Live Practically PT) And you still get all of the cheesy deliciousness – Win, Win!
PREP-AHEAD TO MAKE YOUR CHEESY CAULIFLOWER RICE COOKING ‘KIT’
You are busy, so these are the steps you can do a day or two in advance to prepare food ahead!
(See the recipe below for more details)
- Making your own cauliflower rice is incredibly easy. It also tastes like rice when other flavors are added. All it takes is 1) Cauliflower and 2) a Food Processor! To make the cauliflower rice, you first cut off the cauliflower florets from the head. Add the florets to a food processor and pulse until the cauliflower resembles the size of rice. NOTE: Be sure not to over process so that it becomes breadcrumb size. I use my mini food processor, so I do this in 3 batches so that I don’t overcrowd the processor. Once you are done making the raw “rice” just store it in a baggie or container in the fridge until ready to cook!
- The only other ingredient that to prep is the parsley for garnish, so just rough chop the parsley and store in a baggie.
COOK THE CHEESY CAULIFLOWER RICE:
- When the cauliflower turns into ‘rice’, it cooks incredibly fast in a large skillet on high heat with a bit of vegetable broth.
- Next you make the cheese sauce. However, rather than using a traditional roux made from flour (contains gluten) and butter, in this recipe I use cornstarch and milk to make a slurry. Add the slurry to the broth with more milk to thicken the sauce before adding in the cheese.
- Add the shredded cheese to the thickened broth and milk a little at a time, mixing as you add until it melts. Continue adding and mixing until all cheese is added. It becomes this wonderfully thick and cheesy sauce that mixes so beautifully with the cauliflower.
- After adding the cauliflower rice back into to the cheese sauce, simply mix to combine and simmer for a final 5 minutes so that they become one gooey, cheesy, delicious dish!
That’s it! Serve with parsley sprinkled on top for color.
BONUS: Add Roasted Chickpeas over top for a complete Vegetarian meal. The chickpeas, which bring protein to the party, are seasoned simply with extra virgin olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Then they are roasted in a 400 degree F oven for 30 minutes until they become almost crispy. Pour over the Cheesy Cauliflower Rice and you have a balanced meal.
Rich and Cheesy Cauliflower Rice
Welcome to my new favorite comfort food with a healthy twist: Rich and Cheesy Cauliflower Rice. If Mac and Cheese met Cauliflower, fell in love and had a baby, it would be this Cheesy Cauliflower Rice. This recipe is so simple with just the flavors from the cauliflower - plus a few other things to help it come together.
- 1 head Cauliflower
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- 1 cup Vegetable Broth (1/2 to cook the cauliflower, 1/2 to make the cheese sauce)
- 1 tsp Coconut Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 cup Milk, low fat 1% or Skim
- 2 Tbls Corn Starch
- 1 Tbls Ghee or Butter
- 1.5 cups Shredded Cheese
- 1 Tbls Italian Parsley, Chopped Optional for garnish
Make the cauliflower rice by first cutting off the cauliflower florets from the head. Add the florets to a food processor and pulse until the cauliflower resembles the size of rice. NOTE: Be sure not to over process so that it becomes breadcrumb size.
If you have a small processor, do this in batches and fill it half way with the florets, then pulse, empty, fill again and so on until you have completed it all. If you are not going to be cooking tonight, then put in a storage bag in the fridge.
If you are using parsley for garnish, rough chop the parsley and store in a baggie.
Measure out 1/4 cup of milk and whisk in the corn starch with a fork until completely dissolved. Add another 3/4 cup of milk to the mixture and whisk again. Set aside until ready to add to the pan.
Preheat a large skillet on high heat. Add a tsp of oil and spread around. Then add the processed cauliflower rice to the pan with salt and pepper. Stir to mix, then cook for 2-3 minutes to lightly sear the cauliflower rice.
Next add 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth and stir to ensure all of the rice gets moisture. Cook for 5 minutes stirring every minute or so to cook evenly. Transfer the cauliflower rice to a bowl.
Using the same pan, add the ghee (or butter) and vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. Then add the milk and corn starch mixture whisking briskly as you add and as it comes back up to a simmer. It will start to thicken after it warms back up to a simmer.
Once back up to a simmer, turn the heat down to the lowest setting and begin to add the shredded cheese a little at a time, mixing as you add until it melts, then adding more and continuing until all cheese is added.
Now, you can stir the cauliflower rice back in. Cook on low heat for a final 5 minutes until the cauliflower rice becomes thick and gooey and cheesy and delicious! Serve, garnish with parsley for color, and enjoy!