Paleo - Cauliflower pilaf

Paleo “Rice Pilaf”


When you cook and eat Paleo style, there are some very interesting substitutions that you can make.  An excellent example of a delicious substitution is Cauliflower “Rice”.  In this technique, cauliflower florets are pulsed in small batches in the food processor until they are the size of grains of rice.  Then the “riced” cauliflower joins the rest of your pilaf ingredients in the pan for a quick saute until it is tender-crisp.  This dish makes a really nice addition to the dinner plate and gives you an approximation of the texture of rice while also being a solid stand alone vegetable dish.

The first time I tried it I followed the recipe that appears in Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed book.  She offers multiple variations of the recipe  including; Cauliflower Rice Pilaf, Basic Rice, Confetti Rice, Curry Rice and BBQ Pork Fried Rice.  I started with the Curry Rice which uses ingredients such as fresh fruit, nuts and curry powder to make a flavorful and fragrant vegetable dish that I really liked.  The texture really does work as a rice stand in and the flavor was a great counterpoint to the grilled Churrasco steaks that I was serving that night. The carrots that appear on the plate are also from Well Fed, they are the Cumin Roasted Carrots and they were delicious!

I will definitely try more recipes from Melissa’s book, I have my eye on her “Meatza” which is a Paleo Pizza, but in the meantime here is my own version of a Cauliflower Pilaf.  This is exactly the same as the Basmati Rice Pilaf that I have previously posted here on my blog but I am adapting it to use cauliflower instead of the basmati rice.

Paleo “Rice”


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, grated (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp black mustard seeds (if you can't find these, don't worry it is still delicious without them)
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup nuts of your choice (pistachio, slivered almond and walnuts all taste great!)
  • 2 - 4 Tbs chopped cilantro, parsley or mint for garnish


  • Cut the cauliflower florets off of the stem. Working in batches, pulse the cauliflower in the food processor until it resembles grains of cooked rice.
  • In a large shallow pan heat the oil to medium and fry the onion, garlic and carrot for 2 -3 minutes. Stir in all of the spices and cook 2 minutes more, stirring constantly to make sure the spices don't burn.
  • Add the cauliflower florets and salt and pepper to taste (I start with 1/2 tsp of salt and a few twists of the pepper grinder). Saute for approximately 5 minutes or until the cauliflower is crisp-tender.
  • When ready to serve, remove the 4 cardamom pods. Stir in the nuts and check for seasoning (you may want to add more salt and/or pepper at this point) then scatter the chopped parsley or cilantro across the top.
  • This dish keeps well and can be made ahead and reheated.

If you are interested in Paleo eating, check out my Paleo Eating Experiment:

Paleo Eating Experiment – Part 1
Paleo Eating Experiment – Part 2
Paleo Eating Experiment – Part 3


This post is participating in Real Food Wednesday, Healthy 2day Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Works For Me Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Keep It Real Thursdays, Tastetastic Thursday, Freaky Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Foodie Friday, Friday Favorites, Feasting in Fellowship, Fight Back Friday, Monday Mania, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Must Try Monday, Make Your Own! Monday, Fat Tuesday, Heart and Soul Blog Hop, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Fit and Fabulous Fridays

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  1. I’ve never tried the grated cauliflower as a pilaf, but we do enjoy it as “fried rice.” I’m finding all kinds of uses for cauliflower.

  2. Interesting idea. Found you via Beyond the Peel’s Keep it Real Thursday. I linked in a simple salmon pizza. Have a nice week.

  3. Hi Jen,
    Your Rice Pilaf looks delicious, it will be a great side dish to add to any meal. Hope you are having a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  4. Ooh I have been wanting to try cauliflower rice for sooo long! We eat a LOT of rice (the husband’s favorite) & I get so bored! Found you through Foodie Friday :)

  5. The texture sounds really interesting. Definitely very healthy.

  6. Cauliflower is really delicious. We have this chop suey and adding cauliflower is really good. Added with shrimps and mushrooms and tiny corn bits plus some fried rice is very tempting.
    Add-ons on the menu with calamares (native food on squid coated and fried) surely is a satisfying meal once served.

    Maria :)
    My blog post on ..

  7. Thank you so very much for sharing this at Must Try Monday. It’s great to have you! Hope to see you next week!

  8. Yummo, we love eating healthier choices at our house like this! Thank you for linking up at H2W last week, I hope you’ll join us this week with another great post! Also, this post was chosen as 1 of my top 3 this week, so this post will be featured!

  9. Pingback: Healthy 2Day Wednesday {Week 63} | Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy

  10. Pingback: healthy 2day wednesdays — Young Living Oil Lady | A Christian Homeschool Mom with a Passion for Healthy Living

  11. This is brilliant. I never would have thought to make cauliflower into rice. I love this idea. I just bought cauliflower yesterday, so I’m going to give it a try. Thanks for stopping by Hearth and Soul.

  12. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back later today when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

  13. This is a great recipe! I have been doing a modified Paleo for a while. I love getting new ideas. Thank you for sharing at Fit and Fabulous Fridays!!

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