Alright, I know you must be thinking one of two things when you read the title of this post:
- Cauliflower…. rice? What kind of sorcery is this?
- Why not just use regular rice?
Those are both very valid questions. I’ll give you a short answer and a longer answer.
For the short answer I will simply provide you with a visual representation of cauliflower before you use it in this recipe and cauliflower after its beautiful transformation into rice:
If that answer was enough for you, then scroll on down to the recipe located at the bottom of this post and get cooking! Otherwise, keep reading and find out my thoughts on cauliflower rice.
So, for the uninitiated, cauliflower rice is as simple as it sounds- it is cauliflower that has been grated on a box grater or put in a food processor and pulsed until it is about the size of rice grains. Simple enough, but preparing cauliflower rice can get a little messy. If you are anything like me in the kitchen, that cauliflower is going to end up all over the place and somehow you are going to make at least five different dishes dirty in the process. Luckily for those of us with tragic dish-dirtying habits, some saint came up with the idea to sell prepackaged cauliflower pearls!
These are the cauliflower pearls that I buy at the store. In my local Kroger these bags are located next to the to baby carrots and boxed lettuce. They are worth every penny. One of the best parts about these bags is that they contain 5 cups of pearls, perfect for meal prep! They may be more expensive than simply buying heads of cauliflower, but my student loans have given me a false sense of security and I think the price is justified.
Alright, now let’s talk rice vs. cauliflower. Check out the nutrition facts for cauliflower and brown rice below:
I know just using generic brown rice compared to a head of cauliflower isn’t the greatest comparison, but it gets the main points across. Before I begin the comparison, it should be noted that “0.2 heads” of cauliflower roughly comes out to one cup of cauliflower rice.
When I was meal prepping initially and attempting to get my weight under control, I was counting my macros and calories on a low-carb diet. Working out is important and healthy, but calories are where weight loss is truly decided. Looking at the two images labels above, it is rather obvious which food is more calorie dense. When limiting your daily intake of calories, every calorie counts! I could eat more cauliflower rice than brown rice and still have more room for calories elsewhere in my meal. Beyond that, look at the sheer difference in carbs. If you’re not eating low carb this part isn’t as big of a deal, but it really makes a difference when you’re watching your carbs tightly.
Rice is a food with a high glycemic index. A food’s glycemic index is a value that represents how the carbohydrates in that food affect blood glucose. There are several factors that play a role in how quickly the carbohydrates within a food affect blood glucose. Some of these factors are the physical structure of the carbohydrates, the preparation of the food, the fatty content of the food, and how refined the carbs within a food are. Essentially, with a high glycemic index, rice can cause blood sugar spikes.
All in all, I’m a fan of substituting cauliflower rice for regular rice. I am in no way trying to demonize rice. My rice game is strong. However, it is important to realize the importance in moderation and portion sizing when meal prepping or just when eating in general. Rice is amazing. Rice is delicious af. But, rice should be eaten in moderation, just like most foods.
TexMex Cauliflower Rice Recipe
This recipe should make 5 servings of rice, about 1 cup each. I’m sure the recipe works with normal rice, but I’ve never tried it. If you do make it with normal rice, let me know how it turns out!
Typically, the first step to any meal prep session is setting up a fire playlist and getting a drink ready. While I did do that with this dish, it was not the main course so I’ll post the playlist and drink of choice on the recipe page for the actual meal prep itself.
- Dice 2 roma tomatoes and set aside.
- Roughly chop a handful of cilantro and set aside.
- Dice 1/2 of an onion, set aside.
- Mince 4 cloves of garlic and set aside.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add oil.*
*I use 1 tbsp coconut oil when I make this recipe.
- Once the oil is hot, add the diced onion and cook for around 2-3 minutes until the onion becomes slightly tender.
- Add the garlic.
- After around 30 seconds, add the cauliflower pearls and cook for around 2-3 minutes.
- Once the rice has heated through, add 2 tbsp of tomato paste, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp paprika, and the diced Roma tomatoes to the skillet. Cook for about another 2-3 minutes until heated through.
- Add the chopped cilantro and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove from heat.
TexMex Cauliflower Rice Grocery List
- 1 bag cauliflower pearls -or- 1 large head of cauliflower (about 5 cups riced)
- 1 tube tomato paste
- 2 Roma tomatoes
- 1 onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 bunch cilantro
***Casual shoutout to my uncle, Uncle Steve (yes his first name is Uncle and his last name is Steve. Deal with it.) for being amazing and offering to take hella sexy pics of my meal preps during the week that I made this dish!***