Light, fluffy lemon herb cauliflower rice stir fry is a winning side dish that I use in place of regular rice. Half the calories and carbs. And half the cooking time. Throw in some butternut squash and it’s really pretty too.
I love beautiful colors on a plate and this cauliflower rice recipe hits the mark with white cauliflower, green herbs and orange butternut squash. You can certainly leave out the squash if you don’t have any on hand. I go the lazy route and buy the squash peeled and cubed – so convenient.
A food processor is ideal to turn whole cauliflower into tiny ‘rice’ pellets. Some use the grater blade attachment. I just use the regular chopping blade. If you don’t have a processor, a box grater will work fine, although it does take a bit more elbow grease.
I kept the seasonings really simple for this side dish. Lemon, herbs, salt and pepper. I also add a little butter for richness, but oil is fine too.
Consider the amounts of ingredients used in the recipe as a guideline. A bit more or less won’t matter. The only part of the recipe that’s not as forgiving is the cook time. If you cook the cauliflower rice too long, it will turn mushy. In fact, it’s best to err on the side of under cooking. Tender with a bite is what you’re looking for.
Anything you would normally serve rice with can be replaced by this cauliflower rice stir fry. Here’s a few options to try: instant pot (or regular) veal stew, saucy baked chicken meatballs, tomato curry butternut squash, grilled BBQ chicken and Thai curried shrimp and vegetables.
Tailor To Your Taste
- Seasonings: Play around with the seasonings and aromatics. Try adding minced garlic, ginger, chili flakes.
- Herbs: I use cilantro, parsley and chives. Other good options are basil, dill, green onions. Here’s an article on how to use and store herbs to last weeks.
- Toppings: The cauliflower rice stir fry is great on it’s own. You can, however, top it with: spicy sweet chili sauce; chopped tomatoes, olive oil and olives; toasted chopped nuts; a drizzle of BBQ sauce or peanut sauce.
The recipe only takes 15 minutes, but you can cut the time and effort down even further (no judging).
- Buy cauliflower rice (some groceries sell cauliflower that has already be processed into ‘rice’ pellets). You’ll need about 22 ounces (or about 16 ounces of cauliflower rice and 6-8 ounces butternut squash).
- If you’re combining the cauliflower with butternut squash, buy peeled cubed butternut squash to save time.
- Uncooked riced cauliflower can be frozen for up to a month.
- Cooked cauliflower can be kept in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Lemon Herb Cauliflower Rice Stir Fry
- Food Processor (or box grater)
- 2 tbsp butter or olive oil
- 2 lbs cauliflower (1 medium) Note 1 this will make ~ 5 1/2 cups riced cauliflower
- 1 cup chopped fresh herbs Note 2 any combination of chives, parsley, basil, cilantro, dill, green onion
- 1 lemon zest plus 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp butter (optional)
- 1 tsp kosher salt or to taste
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper or to taste
- RICE CAULIFLOWER (and BUTTERNUT SQUASH if using): Wash cauliflower and pat dry well. Cut into 2 inch chunks. You will need to process cauliflower (and squash) in 2-3 batches. Place chunks in bowl with regular chopping blade. Pulse until cauliflower is small rice size. Repeat until all cauliflower (and butternut squash) is riced. Note 3. If riced cauliflower feels moist, pat dry with paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible. I almost never have to do this.
- COOK CAULIFLOWER/SQUASH RICE: Heat butter or oil in large skillet to Medium. Add cauliflower (and squash) 'rice'. Stir for 1 minute. Cover and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until veggies are tender but not mushy.
- FINISH 'RICE': Add herbs, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper and butter (if using). Stir to combine well for 1 minute. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Serve immediately. Drizzle a topping of your choice if desired. Note 4.
- For a combo of cauliflower and butternut squash 'rice': For great color and additional fiber, vitamin A and C, you can replace 1/2 lb of cauliflower with 1/2 lb (~2 cups) peeled cubed butternut squash. Rice it in food processor as you would the cauliflower.
- Herbs: Fresh is best, but dried will work well. Or partly fresh, partly dried. Figure about 1/3 the amount of dried herbs to replace fresh. Add, taste, then add some more to achieve the seasoning you like. Frozen herb cubes are an excellent substitution here. Typically 1 cube = 1 teaspoon fresh. Chop the herbs in a food processor or by hand.
- If you don't have a processor: use a box grater. Grate large chunks of cauliflower on medium holes of grater.
- Toppings: Serve the cauliflower rice as you would any rice. or drizzle on a topping such as: spicy sweet chili sauce; chopped tomatoes, olive oil and olives; toasted chopped nuts; peanut sauce.
- Make Ahead:
- Uncooked riced cauliflower can be frozen for up to a month in a sealed ziploc or container. (Don't rice it and keep it in the fridge - it gets funky).
- Cooked cauliflower can be kept in the fridge in a sealed container for 2-3 days. It doesn't freeze well once cooked.
Other cauliflower rice recipes you might like: