Whip up a quick and easy cauliflower rice pilaf made from riced cauliflower and carrots in just minutes. Cranberries and pecans add holiday flavor!
Simple yet flavorful, that’s what I look for in a recipe. Whether you’re planning a special holiday meal or just trying to get dinner together on a busy weeknight, coaxing out the most flavor in the least amount of time is usually the goal.
As far as sides go this cauliflower rice pilaf is one of the simplest and easiest you can make. It only requires a handful of ingredients (most which can be prepared ahead of time) and a few minutes on the stove to cook into a fluffy and flavorful addition to any meal. After a minimal amount of prep and cooking you end up with a colorful side that’s a sweet and savory mix of tastes and textures. It’s an easy addition to an already cooking intense day like Thanksgiving or regular rushed weeknight.
At the base of the pilaf is a mix of both riced carrots and cauliflower. The easiest way to make both is in the food processor. A few quick pulses and you’re good to go. Of course if you’re short on time you can also pick up a bag of riced cauliflower at the grocery store.
The pilaf is tender and nutty with just enough chew. Cranberries add a pop of color and a sweet-tart holiday friendly flavor while lightly toasted pecan add a bit of crunch and extra nuttiness. Here’s what you’ll need:
(Here are a few notes about the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe. As always find the full list of ingredients and directions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.)
- Cauliflower – You can make your own or purchase pre-riced cauliflower for convenience.
- Carrots – The carrots are “riced” as well and added to the cauliflower pilaf.
- Scallions – Both the white and green parts finely chopped.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – For cooking.
- Coriander – Earthy ground coriander pairs nicely with the carrots and cauliflower.
- Parsley - Fresh finely chopped parsley brings freshness and color to the pilaf.
- Chives - Fresh finely chopped chives add a mild-onion flavor.
- Dried Cranberries – Cranberries add a pop of color and chewy sweetness.
- Pecans – Chopped toasted pecans are added for crunch.
How to Make Cauliflower Rice Pilaf:
(Here are the basic steps and some helpful tips on how to make the recipe. Find the full directions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.)
- You’ll start by pulsing the cauliflower and then carrots in a food processor to make rice-sized pieces.
- Next you’ll quickly toast the pecans in a small skillet and set those aside.
- The carrot and cauliflower rice is then quickly sautéed in olive oil and spices until tender, which only takes about 5 minutes. Using a large pan and cooking over a medium heat ensures that the rice cooks up nutty and tender without becoming soggy or burnt.
- Off the heat, cranberries, toasted pecans and a handful of fresh herbs like parsley, scallions and chives are tossed into the rice for a fresh yet fall inspired finish that will be right at home alongside any other seasonal mains or sides.
Serve the pilaf either warm or at room temperature and enjoy!
- Use all cauliflower instead of carrots and cauliflower
- Use walnuts instead of pecans
- Use dried cherries instead of cranberries.
More Holiday Sides:
Fresh herbs, cranberries and toasted pecans make this quick and easy cauliflower rice pilaf an irresistible seasonal side.
- ½ lb/ 227g cauliflower, chopped into pieces (or pre-riced)
- ½ lb/ 227g carrots, peeled and chopped into pieces
- 2 scallions, white and green parts finely chopped (divided use)
- 1 ½ Tablespoons/22ml extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp. ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup, parsley, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons chives, finely chopped
- ¼ cup/40g dried cranberries, chopped
- ¼ cup/30g pecans, chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Working in batches pulse cauliflower and then carrots in a food processor until small rice-sized pieces form.
- Place pecans in a small, dry, cold skillet. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly toasted (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat and transfer pecans to a plate to cool.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add white parts of the scallions to pan and cook stirring constantly until softened (about 1 minute). Add riced cauliflower, carrots, coriander and salt. Cook stirring frequently, until just tender (about 3-5 minutes).
- Remove from heat and stir in, green scallions, parsley, chives, cranberries, toasted pecans and toss gently to combine. Finish with a pinch of freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 189Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 312mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 5gSugar: 11gProtein: 3g
Nutritional information for recipes contained on this website, such as calories, fat, carbs, etc. are only estimates and are not guaranteed to be accurate.
Sylvie Shirazi is the recipe developer and food photographer behind Gourmande in the Kitchen. For the last 10 years she's been making eating more healthfully easy and accessible with gluten-free, grain-free, paleo and vegan recipes that are free from processed ingredients.