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Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Rice

I recently hosted a dinner party for 12 people and wanted to serve cauliflower rice. But the idea of figuring out how to sauté, like, three heads of cauliflower — without the “rice” getting mushy — and how to have it all ready to serve at the same time was overwhelming. I wondered if there was an easier way.

There is: oven roasting!

Say hello to Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Rice. The oven-roasted rice is easier to make in large quantities (no stovetop management!), has a superior texture (no mush!), and tastes more like rice (nutty flavor!). This is my go-to from now on — even if I’m only making a single batch. Give it a try!

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oven-roasted cauliflower rice

Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Rice

Serves 2-4 | Prep 10  minutes | Cook 25 minutes | Whole30 approved

Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
3/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Cover a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Break the cauliflower into florets, removing the stems. Place the florets in the food processor bowl and pulse until the cauliflower looks like rice. This takes about 10 to 15 one-second pulses. You may need to do this in two batches to avoid overcrowding.

2. Place the cauliflower rice in a large bowl, add the melted coconut oil and salt. Toss with two wooden spoons until the rice is coated with the oil. Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast until tender and beginning to get a few brown spots, about 25 minutes.

3. Serve with anything that needs a lovely bed of rice. (Meatballs are always a good choice.)

oven-roasted cauliflower riceMoroccan Meatballs on a bed of Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Rice

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Bonus: Same Temp, Same Time

You might also want to note that the roasting time for Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Rice is exactly the same time and temperature it takes to bake a batch of meatballs — like the ones in this March Meatball Madness post or the Burgers, Balls & Bangers section of Well Fed 2. With about 20 minutes of prep and 25 minutes of oven time, you can have a complete dinner with minimal cleanup and maximum flavor. Just sayin’…

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Hey, Mel! What About Your Stovetop Rice Recipes?

From now on, when I make my cauliflower rice recipes, I’m going to roast the cauliflower. It’s reliable, the work gets done in the oven without me needing to pay attention to it, and it’s far easier to double and triple recipes. YAY!

Here’s how you can adapt the recipes in Well Fed and Well Fed 2 to this new technique.

rice

Well Fed: Cauliflower Rice Pilaf
Here are the changes you can make to the recipe in the book to use the roasted rice: Roast the cauliflower rice as instructed above. Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil and add the apricots, raisins, pine nuts, onion, and garlic. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine and cook until the onions are translucent and the nuts start to brown, about 5 minutes. Push the onions to the side of the pan and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Add the cumin and cinnamon to the oil, then stir everything together—oil, spices, onions, nuts, fruit—so they all mingle in happy harmony. When you can smell the spices, about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, toss in the roasted rice, and toss until everything is combined. Try a bite, then season with salt and pepper.

Well Fed 2: Citrus Cauliflower Rice
Here are the changes you can make to the recipe in the book to use the roasted rice: Roast the cauliflower rice as instructed above. Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil and add the onions, cooking until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and Aleppo pepper and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the ghee to the pan, along with the lemon zest and lemon juice. Toss in the roasted rice and stir until combined. Add the parsley, try a bite, then season with plenty of salt and a little pepper.

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52 Responses to “Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Rice”

  1. Lydia says:

    BRILLIANT! I’ve never been a fan of cauliflower rice, and I tend to just ignore that it exists at all. But I’m going to try this because roasting improves anything. Thanks, Melissa!

  2. Leslie says:

    I can’t wait to try this technique! I’m making chicken & “rice” today & this should save me a lot of time. Thank you so much!

  3. Trish says:

    Thanks! I was planning on mashing cauliflower tonight, but this sounds better! I’m imagining the texture will be more al dente like I like my rice.

  4. Felicia says:

    This is fantastic! I double or triple every recipe since my son eats us out of house and home. I can’t wait to try this! Thank you!

  5. Dawn says:

    Brilliant! Just “riced” two heads of cauliflower last night and stopped by the kitchen store and picked up 2 large cookie sheets on the way home. I’m ready to roast!

  6. Cat says:

    I stopped making cauliflower rice all that much because I make such a mess on my stove when I cook it. Problem solved! THANK YOU!! (though now I have another reason to wish for a double oven…)

  7. Matilda says:

    I love cauliflower rice, and I love meatballs, and win that they take the same amount of time.
    I believe I will be making cauli rice and meatballs soon.

  8. christa says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for this idea! Actually rice/potatoes have been my hardest vices yet (OK and cheese!) Knowing I can still have “fluff” on my plate makes my tummy sing :)

  9. Sarah says:

    How thick a layer of cauliflower on the cookie sheet?

  10. Lisa says:

    What a great discovery! Now I can make “rice” while I bake other items :)

  11. helene says:

    I always grate my cauliflower when its raw and then put it in the microwave until its done. Is this method easier? And is microwaving it a big no no?

    • Mel says:

      I used to microwave mine, but I think the texture is a lot better if you don’t… although that depends on how you like to eat rice. I like mine fluffy and pretty dry, rather than wet-ish and soft.

      I think this method tastes a lot better and is easier than on the stovetop.

  12. Ann says:

    I do this but I think other fats work better than coconut oil – I get more browning. I also like throwing it in the very hot oven then turning on the the broiler and toasting it to brown, tossing it, then toasting some more. Nom.

  13. Heather R. says:

    Is this a recipe that would work well with making a large batch and then freezing for later use?

    • Mel says:

      I don’t think cauli rice freezes well. I tried it a few times, and it just turns into smelly mush when it defrosts. You can make a large batch and eat it for 4-5 days, but I don’t recommend that you freeze it.

      • Heather R. says:

        Thanks for the heads up.

        I live on my own, so it can be hard to deal with portion sizes, and avoiding eating the same the for a week straight.

  14. Kim D says:

    Oh I can’t wait to try this roasting method! I cook almost exclusively out of your 2 cookbooks and am currently in love with the coconut rice. Now I have to try it roasted with some meatballs on top! By the way, my favorite way to eat the meatballs is heated and cut into small pieces and tossed into sweet potato (white ones) salad (which is cold) that I make with mayo and black olives. The potatoes are sweet, the mayo is tangy, the olives are vinegary and the meatballs are little pops of heated meaty joy! I probably have this 2 weeks out of every month for dinner with a different meatball recipe each time! LOVE your recipes – my 2 cookbooks of yours look like they have been through a war zone as they are well-loved and covered in oil, sauce, bits of onions, etc.

    • Mel says:

      I’m so happy that you like the recipes in Well Fed and Well Fed 2 — thanks for letting me know!

      I also LOVE your idea for meatball salad. I’ve always thought it was weird that I liked hot meat with cold veggies and dressing — glad I’m not alone in that.

      Happy cooking to you!

  15. Jen says:

    This is awesome timing – making your Nanking chicken tonight with cauli rice. I love that I won’t have to babysit the rice now! Thanks!

  16. Lauren C-B says:

    This looks awesome! I’m thinking of making “rice” as my side dish for our blackened redfish tonight–if I wanted to add seasonings to this, would I just wait until it’s cooked and toss it in a bowl with the spices, or include the spices in the original tossing with coconut oil to cook with the spices on it? I’ve never made cauliflower rice before, so I’m not familiar how it cooks or what the consistency is like hehe! LOVE your books (and site)! Nice to have a paleo role model who lives so close to our area! (we’re in San Antonio)

    • Mel says:

      You can do the seasoning either way. If it’s spices, you could add them pre-roasting. For herbs, I’d add those at the en and toss with some fat. If you use my advice above as a guide under the heading, “Hey, Mel! What About Your Stovetop Rice Recipes?” you’ll get an idea of how you can do it.

  17. Kristina says:

    Uh oh.

    My household adores any vegetable tossed in fat and roasted. Literally any vegetable (okay, so Mom doesn’t like asparagus or Brussels sprouts… but everything else is fair game). You name it, its been roasted in my oven. I can’t even imagine what they’d do if I started roasting cauliflower rice.

    This, however, just confirmed that when I am finally financially independent and have my own home, having a double full-sized wall oven and separate range top has gone from Pinterestfantasy to absolute necessity.

  18. Anna says:

    This is so genius. Thank you!

  19. Crystal says:

    Mel,
    You may have a recipe for this out there but please overlook my ignorance. I am new to the low Carb type world and wondered if this rice could be made into dirty rice. If so, would you have a recipe I could try? Thanks in advance!!

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t made dirty rice yet, but it’s on my to-do list — I LOVE it! I know Paleo Comfort Foods has a recipe in their cookbook, but it doesn’t seem to be online. I did a search for paleo dirty rice and found some recipes but honestly, none of them look too awesome. Most don’t include chicken livers, which is kind of key. This recipe from Simply Recipes is not paleo, but you could use her ingredients list and sub cauli rice — until I make up my recipe :-)

      http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/dirty_rice/

  20. Lissylis says:

    YUMMY, i wish i was eating this right now!

  21. Ashley says:

    I tried cauliflower rice once before and hated it, so I was pretty skeptical about this. I made it tonight with Nom Nom Paleo’s Slow Cooker Chicken with Gravy. AMAZING. I mixed mine with ghee, garlic powder, salt and pepper. It took about 30 minutes for me at 425. Love, love, love. Will definitely be making this again.

  22. Jenifer says:

    I tried this tonight and it was YUMMY. I bought a bag of florets from Costco and used almost the whole bag. I also used 2T of avocado oil instead of coconut and added about 15 minutes onto the cooking time. It was FABULOUS. Can’t imagine making it the old way ever again. THANK YOU!

  23. Renee says:

    I made this last night with ghee. I love this because I can do the rice and the veggies at the same time. Served with roasted broccoli and this recipe: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/23/magazine/chicken-with-shallots-chef-style.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

  24. Jeanette says:

    Thanks for all your wonderful recipes and ideas. I will be doing this tomorrow in my small paleo café. It will definitely cut down prep time and get more done at once.

    I will be attending the Paleo FX and will be looking out for you.

  25. Laurie says:

    Officially my new favorite way to fix Cauli Rice!! Thank you so much for this fab recipe!

  26. Tiffany says:

    Just made some, it was delish and so easy I will be making caul rice on a regular now instead of avoiding. Had it with some pressure cooker curry.

  27. De23 says:

    Thank you for this! I love the rice pilaf recipe, but it always did turn out a little mushy (or undercooked). Will try this as soon as I get to the store!

  28. Amanda says:

    Love this! I drizzled it with a little lime juice and some cilantro to serve with the citrus carnitas and bam! A little Mexican fiesta! Love Well Fed and so does my non-paleo (yet!) hubs!

  29. Bob Silverberg says:

    Made this tonight and it was fabulous. This will be my go-to cauliflower rice from now on. Thanks!

  30. Sarah says:

    Wow! I just made your citrus cauliflower rice this week for the first time. It was a HUGE hit! I used the left over to make a cauli-fritter……. sooo good. So tonight I am trying the roast techniche. I can only imagine how good it will be! I love the taste of roasted cauliflower. Yumm! Thank you!

  31. Elizabeth says:

    I can’t wait to try this! Just wanted to mention that I rice the stems too. I discard the dry ends, and peel the stem (like I would broccoli), then rice it in the food processor. Tastes great, less waste.

  32. John Mack says:

    I need to try this, I cook for 7 a lot so this is the best idea I have ever seen!

  33. Erin D says:

    I used your method with a twist last night. I finely chopped up two carrots & a generous quarter of an onion and roasted them right along with my cauliflower.

    I served it as a bed to some grass-fed beef roast that had just came out of the crock pot.

    For a little extra beefy goodness I added a few tablespoons of the liquid that came off the roast to the cauli rice before adding my beef.

  34. Diane B says:

    Hands down the best thing to happen to our Paleo repertoire all year! So much easier than on the stove top! I had avoided making Cauliflower Rice because of the hassle on the stove. Now going to be a weekly staple!

    Only criticism: you forgot one of the crucial ingredients! Onion!

    Easy fix: I pulse a large onion in the food processor after pulsing the cauliflower. Mix into rice and coconut oil seasoning. The smell from the oven is AMAZING!!

  35. Kristine in Santa Barbara says:

    Thank you so much for this. I’ve had no interest in cauli rice. We eat tons of cauliflower every week. But the idea of getting out the food processor and then trying to get it all cooked in my largest pan (12″ cast iron skillet) just sounded messy and undercooked. The roasting worked perfectly. Used coconut oil the first time since we were on a Whole30, used butter today. Just delicious and easy both ways!

  36. Michelle says:

    OH. MY. GOODNESS. Just made this to use up some cauliflower nearing the end of its prime, and it is AMAZING. I may never eat cauliflower any other way. Thank you!

  37. Amy C says:

    Genius! Could this be done with the coconut cauli rice from WF2? It’s one of my favorite variations, and I love anything that saves time :-)

    PS- Your cookbooks are one of the biggest reasons I’ve started to eat Paleo. I haven’t found a bad recipe yet! Thanks for all you do!

    • Mel says:

      Hmmm… I’m not sure. Now I want to try it! I *think* it could work if you just mix the ingredients together and spread them on a baking pan, but I’m not sure… it might not get infused with the coconut milk the way it does on the stovetop.

      If you try it, let us know how it turns out!

      So glad you like my recipes! Thank you :-)

  38. Jerusha says:

    Love this. I recently started roasting my cauliflower to make mashed cauliflower for the same reason. Hadn’t thought of doing it with “rice.”

  39. Alison says:

    Having cooked my way through virtually all the recipes Michele Tam has produced, I finally branched out to Well Fed. What on EARTH have I been waiting for???? Your citrus cauliflower rice (oven-roasted, yum, you are so right about the nuttier flavor) I could eat every day and night. Just ordered my hard copies so I can have them all the time rather than flipping through on Kindle. You’re a creative genius :-) (Oh and kick-@ss ketchup also rocked with the jalapeno bacon burgers)

    • Nom Nom Paleo is one of my favorites, too — and I’m glad you decided to give Well Fed a try. I’m really happy that you’re enjoying the recipes! And thank you for calling me a genius :-)

  40. Paleo4Africa says:

    Easy and delicious…love this!!

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