Are you on the keto, Paleo, or grain-free diet? If so then you might be wondering how you can replace grains like white, brown, and black rice. These diets swap out grains including rice. One alternative is something called “cauliflower rice.” This food can be made using a food processor or blender. It’s just a matter of grating the superfood so it’s small enough that it looks like grains of rice. This allows you to prepare rice dishes with the net carbs in cauliflower rice. Since it’s sky-high in Vitamin C you’ll be getting over 75% of your daily intake. The veggie also has other healthy stuff like fiber and antioxidants.
If you’re on Keto or Atkins you might be wondering about the carbs. These diets require you to consume low-carb foods to stay in the state of “ketosis.” Fruits and veggies are generally low-carb although like everything else in life: there are exceptions. Don’t worry! Brown rice has 9x more carbs per cup than cauliflower rice. It’s quite low at 5g, which makes it ideal for keto-friendly lunches and dinners. Another plus is since you’re getting lots of nutrients like fiber it can provide many of the same health benefits as rice.
Net Carbs in Cauliflower Rice
When on diets like Keto and Atkins it’s important to pick low-carb alternatives that are allowed on other diets. For example, in Keto, you’re allowed 50g of carbs per day. That figure is even lower in some versions and ranges from 5% to 10% of your total calories.
You won’t have to worry about cauliflower rice kicking you out of ketosis. It has 5g of carbs per cup. Compare that to over 45g of carbs for the same amount of brown rice. It’s worth noting because brown rice is the whole grain version of the popular food.
One of the main benefits of this “rice” is it isn’t as heavy as grain rice. Besides that, it helps add more vegetables to your diet. Remember: eat your veggies!
There are two methods you can use for creating cauliflower rice. One option is a “box grater” with mid-size holes. These are usually used for making cheese although it’s ideal for making vegetable-based rice.
If you want an easier option then consider using a food processor. You should use the grater blade to chop the cauliflower into tiny pieces. Both of these options make itty-bitty pieces of cauliflower that resemble the size of grain rice.
An extra step you should consider is removing water from the rice before you cook it. This will help to prevent it from getting soggy.
It’s a piece of cake to cook cauliflower rice. Just sauté the vegetable in a big skillet that’s sitting over medium heat. Make sure to add 1 TBSP of healthy oil.
Cover the skillet and let the rice steam so it gets tender. You should cook the rice for 5 to 8 minutes. Then add seasoning like salt, pepper, or soy sauce. The process is somewhat tougher than preparing grain rice but you’ll have a low-carb, high-nutrient veggie rice. It’s worth it!
Top Benefits of Cauliflower Rice
How serious is the lack of fiber in modern times? Studies show just 5% of Americans get enough daily fiber, for example. One good source is cauliflower.
How much does it have? One cup of cauliflower delivers 10% of how much you need every day. Fiber is critical for feeding the good gut bacteria. This helps to improve your digestive system and reduce inflammation.
Another big benefit of fiber is it can help to reduce digestion problems. They include constipation and something called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Cauliflower and broccoli are often considered “superfoods” since they’re full of various nutrients. For example, cauliflower provides three-quarters of your daily Vitamin C, and one-fifth of Vitamin K. It’s also a good source of folate, manganese, potassium, Vitamin B6, and others.
3. Weight Loss
Cauliflower rice might provide weight loss in various ways. Each cup has just 25 calories so you won’t have to worry about putting on lots of weight even if you eat lots of the veggie.
Since you’re replacing grain rice, you’re also reducing calories and carbs. You can even substitute cauliflower for wheat flour.
Another plus is cauliflower makes you feel full. That helps to prevent binge eating when you get snack attacks.
Here’s another major benefit of cauliflower rice. This can help to prevent inflammation, which can reduce the risk of illness/disease.
Cauliflower is a “cruciferous” veggie that contains powerful antioxidants. Studies show they can reduce how fast cancer cells grow. That’s always a good thing.
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant. So, since cauliflower provides over 75% of what you need daily, you’re also getting lots of antioxidants from Vitamin C alone.
Low-carb Rice Substitutes
- Spaghetti Squash: This low-carb food has a hearty taste like rice—minus the carbs. Besides that, it has a low 7g for one cup of the squash. It’s even easy to make. Just roast the veggie, and pull out the strands.
- Cauliflower Rice: This is one of the best options when you’re swapping out grains from your diet. That’s because it even looks like rice if you look from far away. Cauliflower is a good way to ditch grains and eat more veggies. Besides providing over 75% of daily Vitamin C it’s also low in carbs at 5g vs. brown rice’s 46g of carbs.
- Cabbage Rice: Once you get past the name this one is another great substitute for regular rice.
- Spiral zucchini: This is another low-carb choice that can be used to replace wild rice and other varieties. Zucchini is a good option for replacing high-carb foods like rice and pasta. One cup of spiralized zucchini only has around 4g. You can add extra flavor with some basic toppings. They include olive oil and tomato sauce to add some pizzazz to the rice substitute.
- Broccoli Rice: Cauliflower’s cousin is another good option for veggie-based rice. It’s also full of nutrients like vitamins and minerals. When you need more greens, broccoli is one of the best options besides leafy greens. Broccoli rice has around 4g of carbs. It’s also just as easy to make as riced cauliflower so you won’t have to spend hours preparing a tasty lunch/dinner.
- Rutabaga Rice: You’ve probably heard of this root crop but weren’t sure what it is. This veggie is sometimes swapped into recipes to replace high-carb potatoes. However, you can also use it to make some rice. One big benefit is rutabaga has just 9g of carbs per cup. It’s also loaded with various vitamins like net carbs in cauliflower rice.