BuckeyeBites: Diabetes-friendly cauliflower 'rice'

A rice-based dish is quick, easy and affordable. But rice, especially white, lags significantly as being a completely healthy choice. That’s why a great alternative is subbing out traditional rice for cauliflower. 

Chef Jim Warner of Nutrition Services at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center explains the health benefits. 

“This is a really good option for someone who has diabetes. A cauliflower rice dish is very low in carbs,” says Warner. 

Cauliflower is much lower in carbohydrates than typical white rice, so therefore it has less of an impact on a person’s blood sugar levels. When people eat carbs, the digestive system breaks those down into sugar, which enters the blood.

Warner adds the cauliflower rice recipe is an easy way to include more vegetables in your diet or to lose weight, if you are trying.

“Cauliflower rice has fewer calories per serving than rice. Plus it has additional fiber, which may be beneficial in increasing that feeling of being full after a meal.” 

Lastly, if you want to make this recipe even more healthy, Warner offers these alternatives: 
  • Make the dish half brown rice and half cauliflower rice to achieve a nutritious balance of whole grains and vegetables.
  • Increase vegetable content of the dish by adding shredded carrots, zucchini, squash or arugula.

Healthy Sicilian Cauliflower Rice

(yields 4 one-cup servings) 


  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • 1 large head cauliflower (separated into 1-inch florets)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup sliced skin-on almonds or shelled pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 2 small cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped


  1. Soak the raisins in warm water until plump, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. 
  2. Trim the cauliflower florets, cutting away as much stem as possible. In three batches, break up the florets into a food processor and pulse until the texture resembles that of couscous.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. At the first wisp of smoke from the oil, add the onions, and stir to coat. Continue cooking the onions, stirring frequently, until the edges are golden brown and the onions have softened, about 6 minutes. Add the almonds, raisins, capers, garlic, lemon zest and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir until the almonds are golden, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the cauliflower to the skillet, and stir to combine. Add a pinch of salt, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower has softened, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Spoon the cauliflower into a large serving bowl, garnish with parsley and season to taste with salt. Serve warm. 

Nutrition information: (per serving)

Calories: 230 
Carbs: 16 grams
Fat: 19 grams*
Protein: 3 grams

NOTE: It’s worth pointing out that this is all plant based fat sources (nuts and olive oil). So there is no cholesterol, and the saturated fat per serving is 2g meaning the rest of the fat is unsaturated. You still want to consume fat in moderation, but when you do eat it, choose unsaturated as much as possible.