This Cauliflower Fried Rice recipe is one of my favorite ways to get my kid to eat his vegetables. For the longest time, he had no idea I wasn’t actually using rice and chances are your family won’t realize it, either. Both the texture and flavor are the same as homemade fried rice, but with just a fraction of the carbs and the pleasure of knowing they’re getting a day’s worth of vegetables in one delicious meal.
I usually make ours with chicken, though I’ve been known to change things up with shrimp or even skip the protein altogether. If you decide to use chicken, the steps for “velveting” it that I’ve included will give you that same tender yet juicy texture you find at Chinese restaurants. As with all stir-fried recipes, be sure you’ve got your ingredients ready to go before you start because once the oil is hot you won’t have time to pause.
Cauliflower Fried Rice
Grated or chopped cauliflower stands in for the rice in this recipe. You can make it manually by running cauliflower florets along the large holes of a cheese grater, but if you have a food processor it goes even faster. Just break florets off and discard the core, then pulse the florets in the bowl of your processor until they look like rice.
Tip: You can freeze bags of “riced” cauliflower for future use. I find doing so actually makes them softer and more rice like, plus it turns this into a super speedy weeknight meal.
Chop your onion, broccoli and carrots into uniform pieces so they all cook at the same rate. I was out of fresh broccoli and used frozen this time with equally good results.
Tip: If you’ve got arthritic hands, or would like your kids to help, use a vegetable chopper to make this a speedy task. In fact, you can go ahead and chop extras to freeze along with the riced cauliflower for future meals!
Velveting the chicken is an extra step but one that gives it that authentic Chinese-restaurant texture. Just whisk your egg white, cornstarch, rice wine, and salt in a bowl. Add thin slices of boneless, skinless chicken breast and let that sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so. Then cook them in 2 tablespoons of oil just until the outside of the chicken is done. You don’t need to cook it through at this point — it’ll finish cooking when you add it to the fried “rice”.
Tip: You can reduce calories by using the water velveting technique described by SeriousEats.
Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Then add the rest of the oil to the pan, set it to medium-high and let it heat until the oil is shimmering.
Add your carrots, broccoli and onions to the hot pan and reduce the temperature to medium. Cook the vegetables 2 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently so they don’t burn, until the onions begin to turn translucent.
Return the chicken to the pan and continue cooking over medium heat. This is when we finish cooking the chicken all the way through, about 3 more minutes. Be sure to stir regularly so nothing burns.
Add the cauliflower “rice” and cook another 3 to 5 of minutes until the “rice” softens. If you’re using fresh cauliflower this may take up to 4 minutes, but if you’re working with “rice” you’d previously frozen it will be soft within 2 minutes.
Add your soy sauce and, if using, fish sauce for the final minute. It’s a good idea to start by using a small amount at first then adding more if needed, rather than dumping it all in at once.
And, voila, Cauliflower Fried Rice!
Serves: Serves 4
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons rice wine
- 1 large egg white
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets and core discarded
- 2 carrots, chopped
- ½ head broccoli florets, chopped (or 2 cups frozen florets, chopped)
- ½ yellow onion, chopped
- 4 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil, divided
- Soy sauce to taste (1 to 3 tablespoons)
- Fish sauce (optional) to taste (1 to 2 teaspoons)
- Whisk rice wine, egg white, cornstarch and salt together in a bowl.
- Add sliced chicken to bowl and stir. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to marinate.
- Meanwhile, pulse cauliflower florets in a food processor until they resemble rice.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken from egg mixture to skillet and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 4 minutes until outside of chicken is cooked. You do not need to cook the chicken all the way through at this point. Discard egg mixture.
- Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
- Add remaining oil to pan and turn heat to medium. Let oil heat until shimmering.
- Add carrots, broccoli and onion to hot pan and cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 4 minutes until onion begins to turn translucent.
- Add chicken to pan and cook, stirring frequently, another 2 to 3 minutes to finish cooking the chicken.
- Add cauliflower "rice" to pan and cook, stirring constantly until "rice" is softened.
- Add soy sauce and fish sauce, if using, to taste.
- Serve immediately.
This freezes and reheats very well so if you make extra don’t fret!
Equipment I’ve Used To Make This: