This Real Food in the Instant Pot series has really gotten me out and around onto some new blogs and trying more new recipes than I have in a long time, since I’m just learning the art of pressure cooking with an Instant Pot. And you know what?
There are a lot of junky recipes out there!
I intended to be able to link to other bloggers’ recipes in at least two different posts for the series (“Instant Pot Recipes Even a Man Can Make” and “10 Basic Techniques for your Instant Pot“) but I am increasingly finding that I wouldn’t want to send people to some of these recipes in good conscience.
My dear friend Wardee at Traditional Cooking School can do just about anything with her Instant Pot – cakes, bread, main dishes, veggies, even “stacking” multiple kinds of food at once! She runs the most incredible online cooking classes with a total of 11 different topics and usually 2 dozen classes per topic.
Check out the pressure cooking modules HERE – I guarantee you’ll be impressed. And if you tackle the other classes, like sourdough, cultured dairy, or einkorn baking (they’re all included in the same membership), you might see a teacher you recognize, cough, cough.
This “cauli rice” thing, for example: making fake-out rice with a cauliflower is a big Paleo thing, and anyone who has eaten a grain-free diet has probably run across recipes for it. Cauliflower rice typically begins with a food processor and is made in a skillet with some chicken stock and spices.
I was super pumped to hear that it could happen in the Instant Pot with only one appliance to dirty, and I assumed it would also be quicker.
You know. “Instant” Pot?
The only recipe for cauli rice in the Instant Pot on the first couple pages of a Swagbucks search was this one, and it called for steaming the cauliflower for 8 minutes. That may not seem like a long time until you realize how a pressure cooker works:
- All the food goes in.
- The lid gets locked.
- It is brought up to pressure by boiling water inside – and it takes 10-20 minutes to happen, depending on how full your cooker is.
- Then the timing starts.
- Then you have to release the pressure before you can open the lid, and the food certainly continues cooking inside while you’re doing it. Even a “quick release” takes 2-5 minutes.
Therefore, for that cauliflower, it’s probably cooking for a minimum of 15 minutes with the 8-minute cook time. And how long would I steam cauliflower on the stovetop without any pressure to speed it up?
Uh. About 10-15 minutes. Tops.
So that recipe – which I tried – was pretty much cauli-mush. It tasted fine, but to call it cauli-rice was a biiiiiiig stretch.
I’m starting to think that most Instant Pot recipes for dishes other than meat probably instruct you to cook things too long (like 20 minutes for oatmeal instead of 3!).
But if you only steam the cauliflower ONE minute, use a potato masher, and skip the chicken broth since it was wasted (more or less) anyway – ta da! Basic cauli-rice in the Instant Pot:
Making Grain-Free Cauli Rice in an Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker)
I love how easy this is, and so versatile too! And of course…no washing the food processor.
Step 1: Grab a medium to large-sized cauliflower and wash it.
Step 2: Cut the leaves off. Big chunks are fine.
Step 3: Arrange cauliflower in the steamer insert of your Instant Pot (or any pressure cooker).
Step 4: Pour one cup water under the cauliflower and steamer basket.
Step 5: Lock the lid in place with the valve closed.
Step 6: Set on Manual to one minute.
This will take about 10 minutes to get up to pressure; less than many recipes because there’s so little liquid.
Step 7: After the minute cook-time, open the valve and let the steam quick release.
This takes about two minutes before you can open the lid. Do NOT let the cauliflower sit there for extra minutes because it will continue to cook…to mush.
Step 8: Lift the cauliflower out – right on the steamer insert if you can.
Step 9: Set the cooked cauliflower aside and pour out the water from the Instant Pot.
Use hot mitts to pick up the pot!
Step 10: Push the cancel button, and then turn to “Saute.” Pour in a tablespoon or two of oil.
Step 11: Add the cauliflower back in and break up with a potato masher tool.
Step 12: Add desired spices and stir around in the hot oil.
You can just eat it after a minute or two (to give the spices time to meld into the food) or stir for a few more minutes to try to crisp up the cauliflower pellets a bit better.
See? Easy peasy. One pot. Choose all sorts of spices to fit what you’re serving with the cauli rice.
Recipe: Choose Your Own Flavor – Instant Pot Cauli-Rice
- Wash cauliflower and trim off the leaves. Usually this means you'll chop it into a few large pieces.
- Put all the pieces into the steamer insert in an Instant Pot (or other pressure cooker).
- Pour one cup water under the cauliflower and steamer basket.
- Close and lock the lid. Make sure the valve is closed.
- Set on manual for one minute. (It will take about 10 minutes to get up to pressure.)
- After the cook timer beeps, open the valve to quick-release the pressure. (This takes about 2 minutes.)
- Remove the cauliflower to a plate.
- Pour out the water in the pot.
- Return the pot to the cooker and press cancel, then the saute button.
- Add the oil to the pot, then the cooked cauliflower.
- Break up with a potato masher.
- Add desired spices while stirring and heating. Salt and parsley makes a pretty basic cauli rice ready for any saucy dish on top.
- Use the optional spices and serve with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice for a delicious "cilantro lime" version, or try your own! You can shake a few seasonings in, taste it, and keep trying things.
- Serve warm with any main dish. (Be sure to turn the saute function off once the seasonings are mixed through and you've toasted the cauli rice a bit. You don't want it to burn and there's no "low" on an Instant Pot!)
The Big Question: Does it Taste Like Rice?
No, of course not.
Rice tastes like rice. This tastes like seasoned cauliflower.
BUT if you’re eating grain-free and would like something to put a meat dish or a saucy sort of thing OVER, then it’s fun to have the option for cauli-rice. It fills a gap where a bread-based side dish would often be. And it’s pretty!
It also might be a way to get kids to eat cauliflower if they’re a bit cauli-averse when presented with a big chunk on a plate. (Although roasted cauliflower or cauli mac and cheese actually has a better flavor for kids in my opinion). I roasted cauliflower using these spices (less garlic for the kids) and it was really, really yummy. (Our sponsor Plan to Eat keeps me organized when it comes to meal planning – like remembering to buy enough cauliflower when we’re eating grain-free!!)
Cauli Rice in the Instant Pot…the Right Way
Now the world has a proper recipe for cauli-rice in an Instant Pot.
If you don’t have an Instant Pot yet, I’m becoming a big fan. Check prices at Amazon for sure – they fluctuate and you can get a pretty good deal sometimes! Follow the Instant Pot series at KS as I post a whole bunch of recipes I hadn’t intended to post because they needed to be written better. And eventually I can get to the round-up posts I wanted to write in the first place!
And along the way, we hear things from the kids at our table like, “These Whole30 recipes are really tasting awesome, Mom,” and, “Who made this meal? Was it Daddy and the Instant Pot?” And our favorite: “Woo hoo, you won!” (You’ll hear more about that one in a later post…)
Here are the recipes so far:
Disclosure: Plan to Eat is a March sponsor receiving their complimentary mention in a post.