I have yet to meet a zoodle that can satisfyingly take the place of a noodle, but cauliflower rice is a different story. The tiny bits of cauliflower not only look convincingly rice-like, but they also have a similarly neutral flavor. Add enough herbs and spices, and you might not be able to tell them apart.
Well, okay, there are differences. With cauliflower rice there's always that tell-tale aroma of cruciferous veg, although it's pretty slight. And it retains a firmer texture than real rice, even when cooked.
Still, it's a great stand-in if you're looking to get more servings of vegetables into your diet or cut back on calories and carbs — so much so that it's exploded in popularity. And now frozen food manufacturers are playing with the format and adding all sorts of flavored cauliflower rices to the lineup, so it's just a matter of heat and eat.
I'm always looking for fast and easy ways to add more vegetables to my family's plates, so I gathered all the flavored frozen cauliflower rices I could find and conducted a taste test. Here are my hands-down favorites.
When you're craving Chipotle's rice: Hanover Lime & Cilantro Cauliflower Rice
I loved Hanover's fun flavors, especially this zesty lime and cilantro take. It's a near-perfect swap for Chipotle's cilantro rice — especially if you add a bit of salt. If you also add avocado and pulled pork, you'll have an instant taco bowl.
When you want cheesy goodness: Alexia Cauliflower Risotto with Parmesan Cheese and Sea Salt
This creamy side dish miraculously satisfied my ever-present craving for creamy, cheesy carbs — without the carbs. No surprise since it's made with cream, Parmesan, and butter. But it wasn't heavy, and the splash of cider vinegar and sprinkle of onion, garlic, and thyme rounded out the flavors. I also tried the white cheddar version, but it was actually less cheesy tasting and even a bit grainy. If you're craving a mac and cheese equivalent, this risotto is the way to go.
When you need an all-purpose side dish: Birds Eye Steamfresh Veggie Made Riced Cauliflower with Savory Herb
Savory herb is right. This one tasted so savory I thought it was cooked with chicken broth (it wasn't, making it totally vegetarian and vegan-friendly). Very moist and well-seasoned with vegetable oil, onion, garlic, turmeric, and chili pepper, it was delicious right of the bag it's microwaved in. I could see it going with a wide variety of dishes.
Do you have a favorite frozen option for cauliflower rice? Tell us about it in the comments below.