Fried rice is a popular side dish, served on the menu at nearly every Chinese restaurant. It’s hard to resist chewy grains tossed with umami flavors and vibrant vegetables. Growing up it was a staple meal, quickly cooked in the wok, my family would make using leftovers in the fridge.
LOW-CARB FRIED RICE
This version swaps the traditional starchy grains of rice with cauliflower. A quick pulse in the food processor breaks the cauliflower florets into rice-sized pieces known as cauliflower rice or riced cauliflower.
The cruciferous vegetable is seamlessly incorporated into the stir-fry and is a big hit for those looking for a low carb option without compromising on taste.
Making the cauliflower rice is really easy. Combined with fragrant Asian seasonings, tofu, colorful vegetables, and scrambled eggs, the recipe is a flavorful and satisfying one-pot vegetarian meal.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO MAKE CAULIFLOWER FRIED RICE?
Cauliflower has a neutral taste, so it’s easy to infuse traditional Chinese elements into each bite. A good stir-fry is all about layering in each ingredient at the right time to coax out the most flavor.
- Tofu: Start by lightly searing cubes of drained extra-firm tofu coated with sesame oil and white pepper. This adds color and texture on the surface of the tofu. I’ve found that firm or extra-firm works best in recipes that involve more vigorous movement to maintain its shape.
- Eggs: Scrambled eggs are quickly swirled in and cooked until just tender. Typically, the eggs are added at the end with the rice to add cohesiveness, but I like larger pieces of egg so I add the eggs at the beginning.
- Aromatics: Ginger, garlic, and onion are briefly stir-fried to make the cooking oil and dish more fragrant and a bit more pungent. Small pieces of carrots, bell pepper, and green peas add a bit of crunch and eye-catching color.
- Cauliflower: The riced cauliflower is added at the end to ensure it doesn’t overcook. It takes less than 10 minutes to tenderize the florets in the sizzling hot wok.
A drizzle of soy sauce at the end gives the dish a savory boost. I also like sprinkling on some freshly sliced green onion right before serving.
WAYS TO ADAPT THIS RECIPE
This recipe provides a go-to cauliflower fried rice base. It’s easy to switch up the variations by changing out proteins and vegetables.
- Instead of tofu: Use shrimp, chicken, char siu chicken or pork (Chinese barbecue) or spam (a Hawaiian staple).
- Swap out peas, carrots, and peppers for: Edamame, chopped bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, or asparagus.
HOW STORE AND REHEAT CAULIFLOWER FRIED RICE
Stir-fry a big pot of cauliflower fried rice, and if it isn’t devoured in one sitting, the leftovers reheat really well.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. I like to eat it the next day for breakfast. I just reheat it in the microwave for about a minute and top it with a fried egg. The fragrant cauliflower rice soaked up the oozy yolk—delicious!
MORE FRIED RICE RECIPES
Cauliflower Fried “Rice” Recipe
- 8 ounces extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 head cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 2 large eggs, whisked
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
- 1/2 cup carrots, 1/4-inch dice
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, 1/4-inch dice
- 1/2 cup peas, frozen and defrosted
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons green onions, thinly sliced
1 Prepare the tofu: Line a sheet pan with paper towels. Spread the tofu in an even layer on the paper towel, then place another paper towel on top, lightly press to soak up excess moisture.
After 15 minutes and when the cubes feel dry on the surface, transfer the tofu to a bowl and toss with 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil, 1/8 teaspoon white pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.
2 Make the cauliflower rice: Use a knife to remove the outer leaves and cut the cauliflower florets from the stem. Cut florets into 1- to 1 1/2-inch sized pieces.
Add half of the florets to a food processor. Pulse 5 times in 1-second increments until pieces the size of cooked rice are formed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Transfer to a large bowl. Remove any large floret pieces that do not get processed and process them with the next batch.
Repeat with processing the remaining cauliflower florets. When finished with both batches, you should have about 5 to 6 cups of cauliflower rice.
3 Cook the tofu: Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Carefully add the seasoned tofu in a single layer, cook for 3 minutes, stirring every minute. The tofu should be lightly browned on the surface. Transfer tofu to a plate.
4 Scramble the eggs: Add the whisked eggs to the wok, use a quick stirring motion to cook and break the eggs into small scrambled pieces. Transfer eggs to the plate with the tofu.
5 Stir-fry the vegetables: Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil to the wok. Add the garlic, ginger, and onions. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the carrots and bell peppers, stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the peas and cook for 1 minute.
6 Stir-fry the cauliflower rice: Add the cauliflower rice to the wok with the vegetables, stir to combine. Spread into an even layer and allow to cook for 2 minutes without moving. Stir and cook until cauliflower is tender, about 5 minutes.
7 Add the seasonings: Add the soy sauce and 1/8 teaspoon white pepper, stir to combine. Save a few green onions to garnish the dish and add the remaining green onions to the wok, along with the tofu and scrambled eggs. Stir to combine.
Taste the cauliflower fried rice and adjust seasonings as desired. Top with reserved green onions and serve hot.
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