My cauliflower rice stir fry recipe will have you turning dinners around in 20 minutes or less. Best part? It's packed with nutritious veggies and tastes fantastic.
How to stir fry
Essential how to stir fry tips are often overlooked. If you're not sure how, here are a few steps to a perfect stir fry.
- The most important step in any stir fry is preparation. Everything must be prepared in advance, including meat (chicken, beef, shrimp) and all vegetables cut and prepped before you turn on the heat.
- The right oil makes a big difference, stick with grapeseed oil (common in most households) or peanut oil (less common) but preferred by Chinese cooks. I use grapeseed oil which has a clean flavor and high smoke point. While peanut oil has a slightly nutty flavor.
- Wok if you have, but cast iron skillet works great on western-style stoves and burners. A cast-iron skillet is easier for us less experienced cooks because it holds heat well, which is critical to a successful stir fry.
- Proteins first, then vegetables. And I prefer doing this in batches to ensure everything stays crisp. This also helps avoid overcrowding and, as a result, steaming vs. frying.
- Sear everything for 30-60 seconds. This locks in the flavor and gives each ingredient a nice golden color while still retaining that nice crunchy texture.
- Combine everything and flavor with aromatics, soy sauce, or even a homemade sauce thinned with broth to tie the ingredients together.
You can take a deeper dive into the history of stir-frying here.
Easy and quick meal
This easy 20-minute recipe's secret ingredient is CAULIFLOWER, which I absolutely love. And if you are looking for a clean, healthy rice substitute, you cannot beat cauliflower rice.
If you happen to love cauliflower rice as I do, there is a good chance you'll like one of these great cauliflower recipes. Cilantro lime cauliflower rice is my favorite cauliflower side dish. This pair perfectly with my bottom round roast and my ranch pork chops with homemade ranch seasoning.
And while I'm not one to brag, my friends and family rave about my recipes. Many of my recipes are perfect for meal planning and classified as homemade, clean eating, and keto-friendly.
How about you ditch, take out, and try this easy, delightful dish that won't weigh you down?
Ready to get started? Let's go...
🥘 Ingredient Notes
These ingredients come together to create a perfectly balanced cauliflower rice stir fry that is easy to make and loaded with flavor.
Ground turkey, red bell pepper, white onion, cauliflower rice, garlic, thyme, green onion, celery, oregano, cayenne pepper, and paprika.
While you can go the convenient route and get frozen rice cauliflower at the grocery store, I prefer the homemade version. It's fresher, finer, and to be honest, it tastes better. All you need is a food processor or box grater.
If you're using a processor, cut the head of cauliflower into large pieces. Toss them into the bowl and pulse until the pieces resemble rice. Remember to work in batches as you don't want a watery mush.
With a grater, hold the cauliflower by the stem and grate the cauliflower florets on the large holes side. I prefer this option cause the rice-sized pieces are consistent in size and finer.
If you didn't know, raw cauliflower rice freezes well. So I usually make big batches and store them away for later use.
After you've grated the cauliflower, Pro tip, place it in a kitchen towel or paper towels and give it a good squeeze to remove excess moisture. *note 1*
🔪 How to make
Preheat your heavy-bottomed pan or pot to medium-high heat and add grapeseed or peanut oil. You can also use refined coconut oil or canola oil if you wish.
Add the ground meat of your choice and season with black pepper, half of the garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. Break up the meat while it cooks until it makes a fine crumble. This ensures it gets well browned on all sides.
After the meat is browned and there's no pink visible, reduce the heat to medium, add onions, celery, and bell pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until the veggies are tender and onions translucent. If you have a small cast-iron skillet 12", you can also do this in batches.
Stir in the minced garlic, paprika, oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper and continue to sauté for another minute.
Add your fresh or frozen riced cauliflower, then let it cook undisturbed for about 3-4 minutes or until slightly brown over medium heat. Add chicken stock to loosen and deglaze the bottom of the pan, then season with the remaining salt and garlic powder. You can even add sesame oil, tamari, or soy sauce for a bit of kick. Continue to cook, occasionally stirring until the cauliflower rice is soft and the extra liquid evaporates in the pan.
Garnish with green onion and serve.
💭 Cooking Tips
- Always use high-quality chicken stock. If possible, make it yourself. Nothing beats the robust flavor of homemade chicken stock. But if you can't for one reason or the other, get a high-quality, low sodium store-bought stock.
- Allow the cauliflower to brown before adding the stock. Sautéing caramelizes the cauliflower, which brings out its sweet, nutty flavors.
When stored properly, cooked cauliflower rice can last for 3- 5 days in the refrigerator and 10-12 months in the freezer. Refrigerate or freeze in an airtight container or freezer-friendly bag. A heavy-duty aluminum foil can work just as great as long as you wrap it tightly.
When freezing, remember to label the containers and bags with the date and name. And if possible, don't freeze your rice stir fry with the sauce. When you're ready to serve, thaw in the fridge overnight, then reheat on the stove. You can pop it into the microwave if you want to, but the stove is the best option.
Cauliflower is in season between June and November. If you love cauliflower rice or use it frequently in meal planning, I highly recommend buying a large batch at the end of the year. One head of cauliflower will yield about 6 cups of cauliflower rice. I tend to store about 12 heads or 72 cups of cauliflower. A typical meal uses 4 cups on average, which allows for 18 meals between Dec-May. *note 2*
📖 Recipe Variations
This cauliflower rice recipe allows you to be creative and adventurous.
Use any meat of your choice - don't limit yourself to only ground meat. Any protein would work on this recipe - chicken, beef, pork, bacon, shrimp -you name it. It's also a perfect way to use up any leftover cooked meats you have on hand! If you're looking to be adventurous, try shrimp fried cauliflower rice. They are flavorsome and guaranteed to please the whole family.
Sneak in other vegetables - feel free to add other veggies that you like. If you're trying to add more vegetables to your diet, carrots, peas, and broccoli florets would be great in this. And if you're vegan, swap the meat for more veggies. You can also try vegan-friendly tofu.
Switch up seasoning - I always tell my readers to include seasoning that they love and do away with what they don't. So don't be afraid to add other spices and herbs to your cauliflower rice stir fry to achieve your desired taste. Also, tinker with the seasoning amounts given in the recipe -adjust the seasoning to your liking. Want more heat? Add more cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes.
Use other ingredients to deglaze the pan - I used chicken stock for its rich, fuller flavor to intensify the taste of the cauliflower fried rice. But you can use wine or just water if you don't have either on hand.
🥣 Quick Stir Fry Sauce
Make stir fry sauce to spruce you the meal - the sauce is essential to make this lieu of rice more exciting. It provides a blend of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors to accentuate the flavors of cauliflower and meat. It literally takes 5 minutes to make this sauce.
In a bowl, mix 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce (coconut aminos or tamari if gluten-free), 1 tablespoon honey (or agave nectar if vegan), 2 teaspoons minced ginger, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, or almond, 2 teaspoons garlic sauce and ½ teaspoon sriracha sauce.
Drizzle this delicious sauce on top of your cauliflower rice stir fry before serving.
If you want to store more for later use, simply double or triple the sauce ingredients.
This stir fry sauce goes perfectly well with my chicken stir fry marinade.
🥗 Related easy recipes
Here are a few of my favorite dinner alternatives to fit into your meal planning.
👪 Serving Size
This easy cauliflower rice stir fry recipe serves a family of 4. Cilantro lime cauliflower rice is an outstanding side dish. I absolutely love this dish with my creamy ranch pork chops with homemade ranch seasoning. This combination is iconic! My cheesy cauliflower casserole as well!
Love this dinner recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.
Try one of my quick, easy, and affordable dinner recipes for your next family meal! And if you have any questions, I'm here to help!
Cauliflower Rice Stir Fry
- Wok, Cast-Iron Skillet, Heavy Skillet
- Food Processor or Box Grater
- Wooden Spatula or Spoon
- 3 tablespoon grapeseed oil - or peanut oil
- 4 ribs celery - diced
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 red bell pepper - diced
- ½ onion - diced
- ¼ teaspoon oregano - dried
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper - powder
- ¾ teaspoon paprika - powder
- ¼ teaspoon thyme - dried
- 1.5 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup chicken stock
- 12 oz cauliflower rice - fresh or frozen, 4oz = 1 cup
- Using a wok, cast-iron skillet, or heavy skillet over high heat. Add grapeseed oil and the ground meat. Season with 1 tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. pepper and ½ tsp. garlic powder.
- After the meat is browned, reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, celery and bell pepper. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes until the veggies are tender and the onions are translucent. Add the minced garlic and the next four ingredients and cook for about another minute.
- Add the frozen cauliflower rice, chicken stock or water and season with the remaining ½ tsp. salt and ½ tsp. garlic powder. Combine thoroughly and use the liquid to loosen and deglaze the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the cauliflower rice is soft and there is no extra liquid left in the pan. Garnish with sliced green onion and serve!
- After you've grated the cauliflower, Pro tip, place it in a kitchen towel or paper towels and give it a good squeeze to remove excess moisture.
- Cauliflower is in season between June and November. Plan ahead and freeze cauliflower rice.
What do you think about my Cauliflower Rice Stir Fry?
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