Cauliflower rice makes a wonderful alternative to starchy, nutrition-poor regular rice. This fragrant and flavorful lemony cauli-rice is jazzed up with garlic, then scattered with toasted pumpkin seeds for extra flavor and nutrients and a satisfying crunch. And the best part is that this recipe takes just a few minutes to make. In all its deliciousness and simplicity, this Zippy Lemon Cauliflower Rice with Garlic and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds is a perfect keto side dish!
Tips for making the< Zippy Lemon Cauliflower Rice with Garlic and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
This is such an easy dish to make: you don’t really need any special tricks to ensure its success. But using ready-made cauliflower rice (if you can find it) makes things even simpler.
The most important thing is not to overcook the cauli-rice. Keep it crisp-tender for the best taste and texture. Actually, you don’t really have to cook it at all: just stir it in the skillet until it’s covered with fat, and that’s it.
But let’s take a look at how to make this sumptuous side dish:
First, take the lemon (organic is a must!) and grate the peel.
Juice it, too. Set both aside.
Heat a skillet over medium heat.
Add the butter or coconut oil to the skillet.
Let it melt.
Add the sliced garlic…
…and the lemon peel.
Cook, all the time stirring…
…until the garlic and lemon peel get some color. Don’t let them burn, or they’ll turn very bitter.
Next, add the cauliflower rice.
Stir until the cauliflower rice is evenly coated with the garlic-lemon mixture. You can cook it for an additional minute or two, but whatever you do, don’t cook it until it’s soft and mushy; cauli-rice is very unappetizing when soft!
Remove the skillet from the heat and drizzle with lemon juice to taste. I like to use about one to two tablespoons, but you can naturally add all the juice if you want. (By the way, if you have leftover lemon juice, you can use it to make nice sugar-free summer cocktails.)
Finally, add the toasted pumpkin seeds and mix well: use salted, toasted pumpkin seeds for maximum flavor. (You can toast seeds quickly and easily in a dry skillet.) By the way, I don’t think this dish needs any added salt, but you can certainly season it with natural salt if you want.
It’s fab, isn’t it?!
My Zippy Lemon Cauliflower Rice with Garlic and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds experiments
Here in Finland they don’t sell ready-made cauliflower rice. Which is a pity. I remember the stores tried to carry it a couple of years ago, but obviously people just ignored it, because it quickly disappeared from the shelves. Maybe they’ll start selling it again now that the keto crush is finally hitting Finland?
Anyway, since we’re not currently blessed with easy, ready-made cauli rice, I have to make my own. Here in the summer house (where I am now), all I have is an immersion blender with a small mixing bowl. (At home I have a proper food processor.) That means I have to process a single cauliflower in several parts to get enough cauliflower rice. Luckily, the process is surprisingly fast: it takes just a few seconds for the immersion blender to create perfect cauli-rice.
This is another recipe that’s been on my to-do list for a long time: at least, I’d been kicking around the idea of combining lemon — and especially lemon peel or zest — with cauliflower rice for quite awhile. At first, I was planning to use onion powder (my favorite seasoning), but then realized garlic would be a much better match for lemon and cauliflower. I’d intended to add the garlic raw, but changed my mind about that too, since I thought it would really benefit from frying. Frying would give it a mellow, toasty flavor.
I also wanted to add either toasted nuts or seeds for more crunch. I couldn’t decide which nuts or seeds to add, so I decided to test out a few. But first I had to make the cauliflower rice base, and to do that I had to get the amounts of the other ingredients right.
I processed one head of cauliflower with my immersion blender and its tiny bowl. The cauliflower was large, but very light in weight. It felt kind of “loose”. Maybe because it was the first cauliflower of the season? Anyway, it made really nice cauliflower rice. Nice rice!
Next, I grated the peel of an organic lemon and also juiced it. I heated a skillet over medium heat and added butter, two sliced garlic cloves, and the lemon peel. I wasn’t sure whether I should add the peel to the skillet and cook it, or just add it raw to the ready dish, but I thought it’d release more flavor if I were to cook it gently with the garlic and butter.
After the garlic had got some color, I added the cauliflower rice and just stirred it until it was well-coated with the garlic-butter mixture. Then I added the lemon juice (initially, I wasn’t planning to add lemon juice, but realized that I would get an even more fresh, lemony flavor if I added the juice as well). It really was the icing on the cake: the dish was deliciously fragrant and I couldn’t wait to taste it!
However, I still wanted to add some crunch with toasted seeds or nuts. So, I toasted sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds as well as some almonds and tried each of them with the dish.
I concluded that pumpkin seeds gave the best flavor: they were a perfect match for this dish. Almonds were bland and so were sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds were just weird. So, pumpkin seeds were the real winners. They lent just the right amount of nutty taste and crunch.
In my notes, I had indicated that I should add 1 cup (240 ml) pumpkin seeds, but luckily I didn’t. For my first experiment I used 1/2 cup (120 ml), and already that was too much. For the final recipe I decided on 1/3 cup (80 ml). It was just perfect.
Like said, I’m in our summer house now. So far the Finnish summer has been really warm, hot even, and sunny. But today we have lots of rain and it’s pretty cold. Our summer house is next to a big lake. Yep, there’s a lake here:
And since it’s so dark in the house because of the rain, I took the photos outside on the covered patio:
Luckily, the rain stopped and the light improved after a while. And I could also see the lake:
We have nice tiny wild strawberries growing all over the yard. I took this photo after rain.
But here’s the recipe that you’ve been waiting for. Thanks for scrolling down this far! Just try this superb dish: I bet you’ll fall in love with it!
- 1 organic lemon
- 3 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 4 cups = 950 ml cauliflower rice (about 1 lb = 450 g)
- 1/3 cup = 80 ml (salted) toasted pumpkin seeds
- Wash the lemon and pat dry. Grate the peel (only the yellow part: the white part is very bitter), then juice the lemon.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter or coconut oi and let melt.
- Add the grated lemon peel and the garlic to the skillet and stir well. Cook until the garlic and lemon peel have got some color. Don't let them burn!
- Add the cauliflower rice. Stir well. Ensure that the cauliflower is evenly coated with the fat. Cook for 1-2 minutes if you want it softer, but don't overcook.
- Remove the skillet from the heat. Add lemon juice to taste.
- Add the toasted pumpkin seeds. Mix well, and serve immediately.
|Nutrition Information||In total||Per serving if 4 servings in total||Per serving if 6 servings in total|
|Protein||27.3 g||6.8 g||4.5 g|
|Fat||59.0 g||14.7 g||9.8 g|
|Net carbs||12.7 g||3.2 g||2.1 g|
|kcal||727 kcal||182 kcal||121 kcal|
Tips for variation
Cauliflower rice dishes are wonderful in the sense that you can vary them endlessly. You can replace the garlic with finely chopped onion (or that onion powder I was thinking of at first).
You can also use grated orange peel instead of lemon. (I actually have a cauliflower rice recipe using orange peel and toasted almonds: I think I posted it several years ago on my Facebook page and it’s also in my Finnish keto-vegan book. It’s a really delicious variation!)
You can naturally add more seasonings, too. Add some heat with a dash of cayenne pepper or chipotle, or go for a mellower flavor by experimenting with different herbs. I can see myself trying rosemary here — paired with garlic and lemon, I bet it’d be fragrant and unbelievably tasty!
I’ve made this several times, and each time we have enjoyed it. Thanks for the perfect cauliflower recipe!
You’re welcome, so happy to hear!