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Thursday, January 20, 2022

12 Vegan Cauliflower Rice Recipes That Are Mealtime Magic

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In the world of imaginative food substitutes, cauliflower can do no wrong. It can lighten up your favorite gnocchi recipe, add creamy decadence to your morning smoothie, stand in as an insanely crispy pizza crust, and even hold its own in a wrap (thanks Trader Joe’s). Seriously—I’ll never stop marveling at all that the creative cruciferous veggie is capable of. But where does its magic really shine? Cauliflower rice, of course. I can happily make rice the base of any meal. Spooning out some curry? Add rice. Got a medley of vegetables about to go bad in the fridge? Rice makes them a meal. To inspire some next-level takes on making the powerhouse grain substitute a part of your everyday diet, I shook the internet upside down for the best vegan cauliflower rice recipes for every meal. 

In 2022, I’m focusing on adding in more of the good stuff (greens, beauty-boosting fruits, and plant-based proteins) than concerning myself with what I’m leaving out. And while I’m definitely cutting down or completely eliminating caffeine, alcohol, and added sugars at least for a little while, it brings me more joy to think about all the space I’m creating for foods that help me feel my best. Subbing in cauliflower for your grains is no different. I love knowing that I’m getting tons of fiber and antioxidants from this one single swap. 

So if you’re worried about missing rice in your meal, know that you have nothing to fear. Keep scrolling for all the best vegan cauliflower rice recipes that prove you can have your comfort food—and eat your veggies, too.

Healthy Vegan Cauliflower Fried Rice from Running on Real Food

Why We Love It: In a pinch when I need something hearty and filling (and my fridge is packed with veggies that are about to go bad), fried rice is my jam. This version lightens things up while still managing to pack in 15 grams of protein per serving. If you want to up the protein content of this dish, even more, then stir in or top your plate with baked tofu or tempeh.

Hero Ingredient: Classic fried rice flavor, courtesy of soy sauce. If you want a low-sodium, soy-free substitute, coconut aminos is a great solve.

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Green Cauliflower Rice from Minimalist Baker

Why We Love It: Maybe it’s just the way my brain works, but there’s something about seeing a plate full of green ingredients that instantly cues me to the fact that I’m about to do beautiful things for my body, mind, and mood. When you pull this recipe together (it only takes 20 minutes!), the result is beyond vibrant. It gets all of its green goodness and kick of flavor from a pesto-like mixture of jalapeño, cilantro, and lime juice.

Hero Ingredient: Nothing brings the heat like jalapeño.

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Roasted Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Rice Buddha Bowls With Turmeric Tahini Dressing from The Roasted Root

Why We Love It: In this world of buddha bowls aplenty, it can be hard for a recipe to stand out. Well, this one found a way to do the impossible. Its separate components are delicious and distinct on their own, but they come together for a bowl that doesn’t leave out any color and certainly doesn’t skimp on flavor. Let me introduce you to the meal you’ll be craving for weeks straight.

Hero Ingredient: This turmeric tahini dressing is liquid gold. It’s cheesy thanks to the nutritional yeast, sweet from the maple syrup, and the tahini-coconut milk combo makes it lusciously rich.

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Gluten-Free Cauliflower Tabbouleh

Why We Love It: Packed into pita or enjoyed on its own, tabbouleh is a lunchtime, and really anytime, staple. This recipe swaps out the bulgur for, you guessed it, cauliflower rice. While you don’t get the expected nuttiness from the bulgur, this take is full of tons of veggies (cucumbers, celery, parsley, cilantro, and green onions), so you’re not missing out on any flavor.

Hero Ingredient: Sesame seeds sprinkled on at the end is the epitome of chef’s kiss.

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Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowl from Love & Lemons

Why We Love It: Like your go-to Chipotle burrito bowl order, but it’ll make you feel energized (and not like you want to curl up on the couch for the rest of the day). There’s so much packed into this bowl that gives it an amazing variety of flavor. Fajita veggies, mango, avocado, and the dreamiest cashew green chile sauce. Consider your lunch plans out canceled for the foreseeable future.

Hero Ingredient: About that cashew green chile sauce. It’s thick, creamy, and exactly what I want to spoon on top of… everything.

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Quick Cauliflower “Risotto” With Asparagus and Cilantro-Basil Hemp Seed Pesto from Half-Baked Harvest

Why We Love It: Risotto is a go-to favorite in my fam. It’s the best thing on a chilly winter night when nothing else can seem to warm you up, plus, it doesn’t take much more than a little stirring to make this crave-worthy meal. While I once thought it was blasphemous to use anything other than arborio rice for my risotto, this recipe has me thinking otherwise. It’s fully grain-free, and can easily be made vegan by swapping out the cheese for the plant-based miracle that is nutritional yeast.

Hero Ingredient: It would be a biiiig miss if you didn’t finish off your risotto with the Cilantro-Basil Hemp Seed Pesto. (The color alone is a sight to behold.)

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Curried Cauliflower Rice and Chickpea Sauté from Sprouted Kitchen

Why We Love It: Chickpeas and cauliflower rice go together like PB&J, and this recipe does the pairing justice. There’s texture, there’s protein, there are greens—I mean, there’s everything. I love curry’s complex heat, and the coriander brings just a little sweetness that keeps everything balanced. This is a level of heat that just about everyone can handle.

Hero Ingredient: Everything’s fair game in this recipe, but when the ginger hits your sauté pan, magical things happen.

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Curried Cauliflower Rice Kale Soup from Cotter Crunch

Why We Love It: Never underestimate the power (and crave-worthy factor) of a good kale soup. While it sounds detox-y, the taste is anything but. It’s comforting, warming, and yes, full of key nutrients we could all use a little more of. This recipe is real food done right.

Hero Ingredient: It’s not an expression I use often, but when a recipe calls for two to three tablespoons of curry powder, it’s go big or go home.

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Mushroom Cauliflower Rice Skillet from Primavera Kitchen

Why We Love It: It only takes 20 minutes until you have a plate of this perfection ready to devour in front of you. It’s a one-pan recipe whose ease-to-deliciousness ratio alone is enough to convince you to make it every night of the week. It’s the perfect base for a bunch of my favorite vegetables, and if you want to add a little something extra, it makes a great side dish as well.

Hero Ingredient: Parsley is the perfect herb for any recipe that’s heavy on the mushrooms.

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Cauliflower Rice Stuffed Peppers from Minimalist Baker

Why We Love It: Stuffed peppers are a weeknight classic. But with rice, cheese, and sometimes meat packed in, it can be hard to make it through a whole pepper without giving up. Cauliflower rice comes to the rescue in this recipe, retaining all the flavor and comfort of the stuffed peppers we all grew up with without having to worry about a subsequent food coma.

Hero Ingredient: I love a little (or, when necessary, a lot) of salsa in my stuffed peppers. It lends a little zest to these packets of cheesy, hearty deliciousness that kids and adults alike will devour.

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Cauliflower Coucous With Golden Raisins and Mint from Feed Me Phoebe

Why We Love It: The flavors that come together in every bite of this Moroccan-inspired dish are unparalleled. You can create so much depth in so few steps (and so little time). I kid you not: this recipe only takes five minutes to make. Plus, it’s full of the darling of the anti-inflammatory world, turmeric, so you’re getting plenty of goodness just by piling your plate.

Hero Ingredient: For some reason, I can’t hang with mint when it’s used in sweet recipes (I know, I’m the anomaly who doesn’t like Thin Mints). But in this recipe, the herb adds a little freshness and a gorgeous pop of green that I’m fully on board with.

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Healthy Vegan Lettuce Wraps from With Two Spoons

Why We Love It: Confession: I have an unhealthy obsession with these healthy lettuce wraps. (Totally kidding, but they’re definitely making me a meal-repeater.) It’s easy to prepare the filling in advance and make a big batch of it for lunches all week. When mealtime comes around, all that’s left for you to do is stuff your wrap as full as you’d like. It’s a great recipe for anyone who’s looking to make Mondays meatless or dive deep into a plant-based lifestyle.

Hero Ingredient: Mushrooms mimic the flavor and texture of meat to perfection.

Get the recipe.



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