rice dish with red peppers and herbs sprinkled on top

If you’re following a low-carb diet and missing rice, I have just the solution for you: rice made from cauliflower. That’s right; low-carb, grain-free rice that uses superhero ingredient cauliflower in place of the starchy, high-carb grain.

How is this possible? All it takes is a head of cauliflower and the “S” blade of your food processor to turn this cruciferous vegetable into “rice.” If you don’t have a food processor, simply grate the head of cauliflower on a box grater.

I’ve been using cauliflower to make rice for years. That’s because I follow a grain-free, or Paleo diet. I went 100% grain-free, in 2001 and it has helped me in dealing with myriad health issues, including celiac disease.

Some people use the grain-free diet to lose weight or control blood sugar. Others, such as myself use it to supercharge their treatment plan when a gluten-free diet isn’t enough. I also put my older son on the grain-free diet when he was diagnosed with celiac disease at age 3 and it helped to heal the terrible inflammation in his gut.

The grain-free diet is a family affair and even the boys’ friends expect grain-free food when they come to our house. After school each day a bundle of teenagers come over and gobble up all of the grain-free cookies and other foods that I test every day while they are in school. Often, I’ll serve them this dirty rice with a side of eggs for an afterschool snack with some of my grain-free crispy chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Then I run them over to baseball practice and head home to start another grain-free meal for everyone in the evening. Teenagers are a hungry lot and luckily I like to feed them!

Low-carb Dirty Rice recipe

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 orange pepper, diced
  • 3 cups cauliflower, riced with the “S” blade in a food processor
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground chipotle
  1. Heat olive in a large skillet
  2. Sauté onion for 10 minutes until soft
  3. Stir in peppers and sauté for 10 more minutes
  4. Stir in riced cauliflower, salt, and chipotle
  5. Cover the skillet and sauté for 5-10 minutes until cauliflower is soft
  6. Serve

About the author

Elana Amsterdam

Wellness expert and gluten-free guru Elana Amsterdam is the New York Times best-selling author of the book Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry, and founder of the blog elanaspantry.com, where she shares simple, healthy recipes and lifestyle advice. Elana has written for Parents, Shape Magazine and Delicious Living, and has been featured in a variety of media outlets including Fortune Magazine, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News Live. Her other books include The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook (Random House 2009) named one of the "Best Cookbooks of the Year" by The Denver Post, and Gluten Free Cupcakes (Random House 2011), a tome of enticing, yet healthy desserts. Elana has a BA in history from Columbia University. She now lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband of 18 years and her two teenage sons.

Elana Amsterdam