Alex Guarnaschelli's Trick For Perfect Cauliflower Rice

With clean eating, keto diets and low-carb living on consumers' minds, it seems like cauliflower is making its way into every meal nowadays. Just take your pick: cauliflower breakfast wraps, zesty buffalo fried cauliflower "wings," and even cauliflower-based chocolate cake are some of the most unique uses of the trendy vegetable, but there's one new staple that seems like it'll stick around.

Cauliflower rice is quickly taking over menus, presenting itself as an alternate, low-carb option to chow down on some fried rice or a burrito bowl. Chipotle even cashed in on the craze by adding cauliflower rice as an upgrade on its menu, and the brand has seen an uptick in new customers as a result of the offering (via CNBC). The new business is justified — when cooked just right, cauli rice seems to be the perfect substitute. The only catch? Well, it's pretty hard to "cook just right." All too often, cauliflower rice turns out more like a soggy side, and less like a substitute for the beloved starch.

Chef Alex Guarnaschelli may just have the answer, thanks to her extensive cooking career and background working with unfamiliar ingredients. The former Iron Chef winner turned Chopped judge took to Instagram to share her top trick to achieving fluffy, moist (but not mushy!) cauliflower rice, and we're certainly taking notes.

Too much oil might make for a mushy meal

According to Guarnaschelli's video, the key to nailing down the texture of cauliflower rice is to use as little olive oil as possible, and for as little time as possible. You don't want to go entirely without, but you just need a little drop in a good pan to sauté the rice substitute. She says to continuously stir the rice in an "almost dry pan," and for no longer than three minutes. Otherwise, you may end up with a soggy disappointment.

The chef notes that you can use fresh riced cauliflower, or frozen. Just be sure to fully defrost if you're using the latter to avoid any additional moisture in the mix.

Guarnaschelli isn't the first to report this cauliflower tip, either. Other chefs agree that overcooking cauliflower rice — let alone in too much oil or butter — is one of the most common mistakes that at-home cooks make. Like Guarnaschelli, Kitchn explains that you should "be mindful of the clock," and stick to three minutes over medium heat.

It's simple, easy, and requires minimal effort, and almost too good to be true. Sure, your dish will still taste slightly like vegetables (it is cauliflower, after all), but if you want to try your hand at this low-carb trend, stick with Guarnaschelli's tips to get the most rice-like result.