Healthy Cauliflower Rice Pilaf Recipe for You!

Looking for an exciting and healthy new side dish to add to your dinner table? Look no further than my Vij’s Cauliflower Rice Pilaf Recipe! In this recipe, I’ve taken traditional rice pilaf and given it a delicious and nutritious twist by using riced cauliflower in place of traditional rice. Not only does this make for a low-carb alternative for those watching their weight, but it also provides a pop of flavor and texture that is sure to please even the pickiest eaters.

As an Israeli chef, I have spent years perfecting my recipes and techniques, and I’m thrilled to share one of my favorites with you. Whether you’re looking for a side dish to pair with your favorite chicken curry or coconut curried vegetables, or simply want to add some excitement to your usual dinner routine, my Vij’s Cauliflower Rice Pilaf Recipe is the perfect solution. So let’s get cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Vij's Cauliflower Rice Pilaf
Vij’s Cauliflower Rice Pilaf

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to traditional rice pilaf, you’re in for a treat! Vij’s Cauliflower Rice Pilaf has everything you need to satisfy your cravings without compromising on taste.

The secret lies in the use of riced cauliflower, a low-carb and high-fiber option that makes for an excellent substitute to basmati rice. Not only is it a great ingredient for weight loss, but it also works wonders in keeping blood sugar levels stable.

The spice blend of whole cloves, cumin seeds, and ground turmeric make it even more flavorful and aromatic than your usual pilaf recipe. It’s the perfect dish to impress your guests at a dinner party or add some variety to your weekday meal prep.

Plus, with the versatility of riced cauliflower, this recipe can easily be adapted to fit any dietary restrictions or preferences. Whether you’re following a low-carb, vegetarian, or dairy-free diet, this recipe has got you covered.

So give it a try and discover why Vij’s Cauliflower Rice Pilaf is the best cauliflower rice pilaf recipe out there. You won’t regret it!

Ingredient List

 A colorful and savory dish that's perfect for a family dinner or a fancy gathering.
A colorful and savory dish that’s perfect for a family dinner or a fancy gathering.

Here is the Ingredient List you will need to make Vij’s Cauliflower Rice Pilaf Recipe:

For the rice:

  • 2 cups of basmati rice
  • 3 1/4 cups of water
  • 2 tbsp. of canola oil
  • 1 whole onion, finely sliced
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp. of cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric

For the cauliflower rice:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, riced in a food processor
  • 2 tbsp. of butter or olive oil

For serving:

  • Chopped cilantro

This recipe makes six servings, so adjust the ingredients accordingly if you need to serve more or less people.

The Recipe How-To

 This cauliflower rice pilaf is packed with flavor and spices that will tantalize your taste buds.
This cauliflower rice pilaf is packed with flavor and spices that will tantalize your taste buds.

Now that we know why this recipe is loveable, let’s get started on making some delicious Vij’s Cauliflower Rice Pilaf! Whether you have riced your cauliflower or bought frozen cauli rice, the first step will be the same.


  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 3 ¼ cups water
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, riced
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • A handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped


  1. Begin with washing and soaking rice for about half an hour. Drain properly and keep it aside.
  2. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add canola oil to the skillet, followed by cumin seeds and cloves.
  4. Cook until spices become fragrant and start to sizzle, for about a minute.
  5. Add diced onion to the skillet and stir occasionally for around 8 minutes until it gets golden brown.
  6. Add butter to the skillet along with cauliflower rice, salt, and turmeric.
  7. Mix thoroughly so that everything is well coated with spices and cook for another minute or two.
  8. Add rice to this mixture along with fresh cilantro leaves and stir well so that everything is well combined.
  9. Now, add water to the skillet and bring it to boil under high heat.
  10. Turn down heat to low after a boil and cover the skillet halfway so that there’s some scope for steam escape.
  11. Cook until rice gets tender (about 15 minutes), turn off the heat completely, cover tightly again leaving no room for steam escape.
  12. Let it sit for about another few minutes before serving.

For people who prefer brown rice or are looking to track weight loss progress can substitute white basmati rice for brown basmati rice in a ratio of 1:1 (use same amount of water too). This recipe serves 6-8 people as a side dish with other courses such as chicken curry or curried vegetables or can be eaten alone as well.

Enjoy your bowl of warm goodness!

Substitutions and Variations

 It's a great way to sneak in some veggies into your meal without even realizing it.
It’s a great way to sneak in some veggies into your meal without even realizing it.

As with any recipe, there are many ways to make it your own while still keeping its essence. Here are some substitutions and variations you can try with the Vij’s Cauliflower Rice Pilaf recipe:

– Brown rice: If you prefer brown rice over white, you can use it in this recipe instead of basmati rice. Keep in mind that brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice, so adjust the cooking time accordingly.

– Frozen cauliflower rice: If you’re short on time, you can use frozen cauliflower rice instead of ricing your own cauliflower. Just make sure to adjust the amount of water accordingly.

– Chicken broth: Instead of using water to cook the rice, you can use chicken broth for added flavor.

– Curried cauliflower rice: For a twist on the original recipe, add some curry powder to the riced cauliflower before cooking.

– Coconut curried vegetables: To turn this side dish into a main course, add some sautéed mixed vegetables and curry powder. Finish off with coconut milk for richness.

These substitutions and variations will not only expand your culinary range but also suit your dietary restrictions or preferences such as low carb recipes for weight loss or vegetarian recipes for those looking for meat-free options. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you!

Serving and Pairing

 You can customize the spice level to your taste, from mild to hot.
You can customize the spice level to your taste, from mild to hot.

Vij’s cauliflower rice pilaf recipe is a versatile dish that can be served as the main course, side dish or a low-carb substitute for traditional rice recipes. The subtle but distinct flavor of the cauliflower rice pilaf pairs well with a variety of foods, especially Indian curries and grilled meats.

For an authentic Indian meal, serve this delicious pilaf recipe alongside chicken curry, coconut curried vegetables or tandoori chicken. The fragrant and aromatic spices in the curries wonderfully complement the subtle and nutty flavor of the cauliflower rice pilaf.

For a more contemporary approach, serve this rice pilaf recipe as a side dish to grilled meats like steak, chicken or even fish. The lightness and healthfulness of the cauliflower rice pilaf make it a perfect pairing with rich and savory meats like these. It also provides a nice contrast with spicy or acidic marinades and sauces.

If you want to keep it simple, you can enjoy Vij’s cauliflower rice pilaf as a main course by topping it with some grilled vegetables or tofu. You can also blend in some frozen cauli-rice once cooked if you want to stretch it out for more servings. It is hearty enough to satisfy your appetite without weighing you down or sabotaging your weight loss goals.

Whether you’re serving it for a weeknight dinner or special occasion, Vij’s cauliflower rice pilaf is a great choice for anyone looking for an easy-to-make yet flavorful and healthy meal that’s both delicious and satisfying. Try it today!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 This pilaf is perfect as a side dish to grilled meats or as a meal on its own for vegans and vegetarians.
This pilaf is perfect as a side dish to grilled meats or as a meal on its own for vegans and vegetarians.

Making ahead and storing the Cauliflower Rice Pilaf is easy and convenient for meal prep or leftovers. I suggest cooling the cooked pilaf down to room temperature before transferring it to the fridge in an airtight container. It will keep well for up to 4 days.

When ready to serve, simply reheat it in a microwave-safe dish, covered with a damp paper towel or in a saucepan over medium-low heat with 1-2 tablespoons of water or chicken broth to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Gently stir occasionally until heated through, about 5-7 minutes.

If you’re planning on freezing this recipe, I recommend doing so before adding any cilantro as it tends to lose its flavor after being frozen. Once cooked and cooled down to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Allow thawing completely at room temperature or overnight in the fridge before reheating according to the instructions above.

Note that reheated cauliflower rice pilaf may lose some of its texture and may become slightly soggy. However, using frozen cauliflower rice can help maintain its texture better than fresh cauliflower rice when reheated.

This recipe is perfect for meal prepping and leftovers as it can be easily stored and reheated without losing its flavors and nutrients. Give it a try and discover how delicious and flexible this side dish can be!

Tips for Perfect Results

 The rice texture of cauliflower rice pilaf is surprisingly similar to regular rice, but with fewer carbs.
The rice texture of cauliflower rice pilaf is surprisingly similar to regular rice, but with fewer carbs.

To achieve the perfect dish, here are some tips to keep in mind when making Vij’s Cauliflower Rice Pilaf:

1. Use high-quality basmati rice: The quality of the rice can make or break this dish, so make sure you choose the best basmati rice available.

2. Rinse the rice: It’s essential to rinse the rice before cooking to remove excess starch and ensure that it doesn’t become sticky.

3. Use a food processor to create cauliflower rice: While you can use pre-made cauliflower rice, I highly recommend making it fresh in a food processor. This will give you a better texture and taste.

4. Add salt at different stages: Adding salt at different points during cooking helps to enhance the overall flavor of the dish. Add a pinch to the onions as they cook, another when you add the rice, and finally, adjust for seasoning once the dish is complete.

5. Toast your spices: To bring out their full flavor, toast your cumin seeds and whole cloves in a dry pan over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes before using them in this recipe.

6. Don’t stir too much: Unlike risotto, pilaf shouldn’t be stirred excessively. Doing so will break up the grains of rice and cauliflower, resulting in a mushy texture.

7. Let it rest: Once you’ve finished cooking your pilaf, cover it with a tight-fitting lid and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together and gives you fluffy grains of rice.

By following these simple tips, you’ll be able to create a delicious and satisfying cauliflower rice pilaf that is perfect as either a side dish or an entree.


As we near the end of this recipe article, some questions may arise about Vij’s Cauliflower Rice Pilaf Recipe. Therefore, in this FAQ section, I will address some commonly asked questions that have come up during my many years of experience with this recipe.

How do you make cauliflower rice not soggy?

When preparing cauliflower rice, it’s best to sprinkle some oil and cook it over high heat to remove some of the moisture and achieve a crispy texture. To avoid a mushy consistency when steaming your cauliflower rice, use a paper towel to press out any excess water before cooking.

Is cauliflower rice good for you?

Looking for a healthier option to replace rice? Look no further than cauliflower rice! Not only is it low in calories and carbs, but also potentially offers numerous health advantages like weight loss, anti-inflammatory properties, and disease protection. Plus, it’s a breeze to prepare and can be eaten in its raw state or cooked, making it perfect for any meal.

Can you use a food processor to rice cauliflower?

To start, the cauliflower florets should be put into the food processor, not exceeding ¾ of the capacity. Working in batches might be necessary, depending on the processor’s size. Employ the s-blade to pulse the cauliflower until it resembles rice in texture.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Vij’s Cauliflower Rice Pilaf Recipe is an exceptional and healthy alternative to the traditional rice pilaf. With its unique blend of ground turmeric, whole cloves, and cumin seeds, it provides an excellent opportunity to spice up your platter with lesser starch and more veggies.

This recipe is adaptable to meet specific dietary requirements – whether for weight loss, low-carb diets or vegetarian lifestyles, the Vij’s Cauliflower Rice Pilaf Recipe is sure to satisfy your taste buds. The ingredient list is versatile enough that you can make substitutions or variations without compromising the integrity of the dish.

Finally, this recipe can be made ahead of time and reheated in no time or even frozen for a later use, without losing its flavor or texture. It goes well with almost anything as a side dish or as a main course. The cilantro garnish adds texture, color and brightens the flavors of the dish.

I would highly recommend adding this recipe to your collection and experiencing the stories of spices cherished in Vij’s traditional family cookbook project firsthand through his recipes. You can try pairing it with chicken curry or coconut curried vegetables for a meal experience that is unforgettable.

Vij's Cauliflower Rice Pilaf

Vij’s Cauliflower Rice Pilaf Recipe

Vij's note: This cauliflower rice pilaf tastes great with raita or plain yogurt as a light meal on its own. Otherwise, it's a great accompaniment to any meat curry. When cutting the cauliflower, use as much of its stalks as possible.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Calories 237.6 kcal


  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cauliflower, in 1-inch florets (about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, with stems


  • To prepare the rice: Wash rice twice in cold water. Soak rice in 3 cups of water for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain rice.
  • In a medium pot with a lid, combine rice, 3 ¼ cups of water, butter and salt on high heat. As soon as the rice starts to boil vigorously, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 18 to 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, but do not remove the lid. Allow rice to sit for about 5 minutes, then remove the lid and set aside.
  • To prepare the cauliflower: In a separate frying pan or a wok, heat cumin seeds in oil on medium-high heat. Once seeds have sizzled for 30 to 45 seconds, reduce the heat to medium and add onions and cloves. Sauté the onion for 8 to 10 minutes or until brown. Add turmeric, jalapeño and salt, and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add cauliflower, stir well and stir-fry for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes, until cauliflower is cooked but still firm and not too soft.
  • Add cauliflower to rice and combine well. Add cilantro and stir with a large fork until the rice is completely yellow from the turmeric.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 247gCalories: 237.6kcalCarbohydrates: 41.9gProtein: 5.4gFat: 5.8gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1.9mgSodium: 687.9mgFiber: 3.8gSugar: 3g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Long-Grain Rice, Rice
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