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  • “Cauli-Rice” – A South Beach Diet Phase 1 Rice Substitute

    Posted on | August 26, 2009 | 31 Comments |

    Phew! I got through the first two days of the second round of SBD Phase 1 successfully. Today was considerably better than yesterday both on energy level and on the cravings front. It is just going to get easier from here. I don’t think I’ll be able to post day-by-day menu and recap on the blog this time, but I’ll try my best to update as frequently as I can. Today it’s going to be a quick post on a brand new discovery which I feel is going to be a regular dish in my kitchen over the next few weeks.

    As you know, no grains are allowed in Phase 1 of South Beach Diet and there are some dishes out there that really need some rice to make it feel like a complete meal. Indian and Thai curries and some Chinese stir-fries for example. I’ve been seeing the mention of Cauli-Rice in different SBD forums and low-carb blogs for a while and I finally tried it yesterday. The idea is to pulse the cauliflower florets to small pieces that resemble rice and substitute for rice in many rice based dishes like fried rice. Of course, it wouldn’t work in dishes like biryani where the rice is supposed to absorb the liquid. Once cooked gently, the texture of the cauliflower is very much like rice. This time I made a simple flavored rice with butter, shallots, garlic and pepper and some silvered almonds for a bit more crunch and had it as a side for grilled fish. It was fantastic! Siv mentioned that I could’ve fooled him by saying it was fried rice!  I didn’t think the taste was that close, but regardless, it was very very tasty and I can totally imagine this in a vegetable fried rice or chicken and rice dish or plain sauteed cauli-rice served with some fish or chicken curry.




    • 4 cups cauliflower florets, rinsed and dried thoroughly
    • 1/4 cup shallots
    • 1 tbsp garlic, thin slices
    • salt to taste
    • 1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper
    • a few finely minced herbs like parsley or cilantro
    • 1 tbsp butter
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • a few silvered almonds for garnish.


    Using the shredder attachment on the food processor, chop the cauliflower florets till it resembles rice. I have read that you can use the S-blade of the food processor and pulse it to get the same shape too, haven’t tried it. The grater did make it a little smaller than I wanted, so next time I will try the S blade.

    Heat the butter and oil in a shallow non-stick pan and saute the shallots and garlic till soft. Season with the pepper and salt. Add the cauliflower and saute for a few minutes till the cauliflower is cooked. Stir in the herbs and some sautéed silvered almonds and remove from the heat. Serve warm.

    Here are some more Cauli-Rice recipes from the web.

    It is so simple, whoever came up with this idea first is a genius! Thank you, whoever you are!

    SBD Phase 1, Day 2 Menu


    • Breakfast – 1 slice of the breakfast casserole, 1 cup black coffee
    • Mid-morning snack – 15 almonds
    • Lunch – 1/2 Chopped Salad + grilled salmon filet from Purple Cafe
    • Evening snack – 1/2 cup edamame
    • Dinner – Chicken + Asparagus + Bell pepper salad with a creamy yogurt-curry dressing

    I was down 0.7lbs this morning, but it could just be the regular weight fluctuations. It is too early to really start seeing any benefits, but it is always nice to see the graph going down. I still haven’t started packing lunch for work, which is something I have to start doing, as the options at the office cafe are very limited. Today I got to go out for lunch though, and the chopped salad at Purple Cafe is one of the best salads ever!  With bacon and avocado it’s got a bit more fat than allowed, but there wasn’t any bad carbs in it, which is what really matters for SBD. At least that is what I am telling myself. 

    Category: Cauliflower, Phase 1, Side Dishes, South Beach Diet Friendly

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    31 Responses to ““Cauli-Rice” – A South Beach Diet Phase 1 Rice Substitute”

    1. indosungod
      August 27th, 2009 @ 3:46 am

      Sig, I am struggling with my taste buds protesting after a trip back home. Good Luck with the diet plan.

      Cauliflower as the carb substitute is a great idea.

    2. nags
      August 27th, 2009 @ 4:34 am

      SBD or not, this is an awesome recipe!

    3. Lakshmi
      August 27th, 2009 @ 5:22 am

      Will try with the S blade in food processor next time.
      a great sub for rice for sure!!

    4. Mamatha
      August 27th, 2009 @ 5:59 am

      Sig, I too was under the imprssion that cauliflower biriyani would turn all mushy. But if you mix the meat curry with pulsed cauliflower and bake in the oven, it turns out reasonably good. Yeah, it’s no patch on the real biriyani but would work in a pinch for phase 1.

      • sig
        September 1st, 2009 @ 10:19 pm

        I was thinking that all that water would make it mushy :) I gotta try a biryani soon, thanks Mamatha!

        • Mamatha
          September 11th, 2009 @ 11:01 am

          Just make sure you don’t use all the gravy, just enough to coat the cauliflower “rice”.

    5. elra
      August 27th, 2009 @ 6:27 am

      Perfect and unusual recipe! Sounds pretty tempting Sig!

    6. Nirmala
      August 27th, 2009 @ 7:22 am

      Hey Sig, this looks interesting but how would it when dieting, eating that much cauliflower might add moe vaadha in your body. Please take care.

      • sig
        September 1st, 2009 @ 10:18 pm

        Hi Nirmala, can you please elaborate? I haven’t read anything bad about eating cauliflower and it is part of a protein rich meal.

        • Nirmala
          September 3rd, 2009 @ 12:36 am

          Sig, by the concepts of Siddha medicine (heard from my sis who is a Sidda doc) the body constitution has 3 parts the vaadha, pitha and kaba. Any thing which can create gas (like beans, potatoes, cauli flower) has a tendency to increase vaatha in the body. The increase in vaatha can induce newly or aggravate already existing complaints like joint pains and muscle strains. I feel when you diet already there are lots of changes in your body constitution and if not careful with the diet “gas” inducing foods might create above complaints. As I read your latest post I doubt this diet would have aggravated your neck pain. I can’t show you any article in internet for reference but have observed this in my life and my family member’s health. Thats why I warned you. Hope you take this in proper sense. Nothing to offend your diting principles but watch out for these changes too. Hope you get better soon.

    7. Rina
      August 27th, 2009 @ 7:27 am

      I’m a cauli dish this is delightful for me..Cauliflower in any form is a go for me..luv this one.

    8. gee
      August 27th, 2009 @ 7:56 am

      i’m on my 3rd on SBD phase 1. I’m a vegetarian so can i eat lentil dosa or adai ( with out the rice, just soak 1/2 cup dhal and grind with some spices ) Is it allowed on phase 1. Please let me know.
      Thanks in advance.

      • sig
        September 1st, 2009 @ 10:17 pm

        Yes, lentils are allowed in SBD phase 1

    9. Sra
      August 27th, 2009 @ 9:39 am

      I’ve done this many times, not as a substitute for rice but as kheema – I like it, only thing is, it’s too much as I always seem to do this with big cauliflowers!

    10. Juliana
      August 27th, 2009 @ 12:50 pm

      I have the South Beach Diet book and like to once in a while browse it…this rice substitute sounds great, although I love my “real” rice :-)

    11. Parita
      August 28th, 2009 @ 1:45 am

      A unique dish! wouldnt the cauliflower get mushy? I need to try this to find out :)

    12. raji
      August 28th, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

      Is Rotiland uncooked roti-chappathi that is available from Costco is SouthBeach friendly? Please can anyone answer that? Thanks.

    13. lisaiscooking
      August 29th, 2009 @ 11:47 am

      I really like cauliflower, so this sounds great! The slivered almonds are a nice touch too.

    14. Arch
      August 30th, 2009 @ 7:39 pm

      Very nice idea ! I use cauliflower mince for my gobi parathas…would have never thought of it as a substitute for rice…

    15. Aparna
      August 31st, 2009 @ 4:20 am

      This is a most interesting way to cook cauliflower. It would be great to fill roti wraps with this. Yum. :)

    16. Soma
      August 31st, 2009 @ 3:18 pm

      This sounds like a real fun recipe. never thought of making rice with Cauli!!

      I love your meal plan.. very appetizing.

    17. Hb
      August 31st, 2009 @ 7:27 pm

      I was wondering what Cauli-rice could be. Interesting and definitely new. I might eat it as a subzi with roti :D

    18. spice and more
      September 2nd, 2009 @ 5:38 pm

      Interesting idea…I must give it a try. Thanks.

    19. Thas
      September 4th, 2009 @ 8:58 am

      hy sig, this is vry interesting, cauli rice..never had something like ths, will give it a shot for sure.:)

    20. Health | Melatonin Supplement
      September 27th, 2009 @ 2:51 am

      South Beach diet is the best for losing weight although it was originally designed by Arthur Agatston and Marie Almon to prevent heart disease.

    21. Anjeer
      May 30th, 2010 @ 9:49 pm

      My husband loves it! I find it a little salty though, so I add 2 tbsp of water to the marinade while simmering – it also makes the gravy less thick