Cauliflower fried rice with shrimp is a healthy and delicious vegetable-based alternative to traditional Chinese stir-fry. Cauliflower florets substitute white rice for this savory one-pot meal.
A traditional Chinese dish gets a healthy twist with this shrimp fried cauliflower rice recipe. My family loves their comfort food, and with this meal, I’m able to add more vegetables on their plates without sacrificing taste. This quick stir-fry is prepared in a wok, where any protein and vegetables can be mixed in with the rice base.
With this popular Asian meal, cauliflower can be substituted and made into grains of rice. In doing so, this recipe becomes healthier with fewer carbs, and it’s also grain-free.
Using cauliflower instead of rice cuts the preparation time down significantly as you don’t have to boil the rice and wait for it to simmer. The cauliflower can be added directly to the hot wok and saute with the other ingredients.
The first step for the dish is to transform a head of cauliflower into rice-shaped pieces. I used the largest hole on my handheld grater to break down just the florets (no stems). There are multiple ways to make cauliflower rice, giving versatility with the tools you already have in your kitchen.
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable packed with nutrients, especially fiber, vitamin C and K. It is a lower carbohydrate alternative to white rice, allowing you to add more vegetables to each bite. The cauliflower rice is an excellent alternative for other tasty meals like teriyaki tofu and kung pao chicken.
Here comes my favorite part! In a big wok, add carrot, peas, and cauliflower rice and fry until all of the vegetables are tender but not mushy. Scrambled eggs, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and the pre-cooked shrimp goes in next to bring all of the goodness together in one hot pot. Just looking at the picture, if I hadn’t told you that there was no rice in the dish, would you even know?
Each piece of cauliflower is light and tender and is seasoned nicely with the savory soy sauce and freshly ground pepper. Sometimes my family would add ham, spam (yes spam), bacon, cabbage, mushrooms, bean sprouts, corn or cashews into the dish.
Play around and add your favorite ingredients to mix it up! To me, nothing beats rice in a traditional fried rice dish, but it’s nice to have another tasty option when you’re looking for a healthier meal.
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Benefits of using a wok
Woks are efficient for quickly cooking food because their round bottom shape creates a large surface area. Make sure to preheat the wok and oil over high heat so that the oil can reach a temperature of 415°F (212°C). Cooking the shrimp and vegetables in a single layer at separate times encourages maximum Maillard browning and flavor, especially for the cauliflower rice.
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Shrimp Fried Cauliflower Rice Bowl
- 8 ounces shrimp, small uncooked, shelled and deveined (26/30 count shrimp)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ cup carrots, ¼-inch cubes
- ¾ cup peas, fresh or frozen
- 1 head cauliflower, shredded into very small pieces (about 4 cups)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 stalks green onion, thinly sliced
- Using the largest holes on a grater, grate each cauliflower floret into small pieces, similar to the size of a grain of rice or to the size of a pea. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, season shrimp with ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
- Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. The pan is hot enough when a bead of water instantly sizzles and evaporates. Once this happens, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan, swirl to coat.
- Add the shrimp to the pan in one even layer. Allow the shrimp to cook for 30 seconds, then flip and cook for another 30 seconds. The shrimp should be pink and cooked through, being careful not to overcook. Transfer to a large plate and set aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium and pour in the beaten eggs. Use a quick stirring motion to cook and break the eggs into small scrambled pieces. Once the eggs are almost fully cooked, transfer to the plate with the shrimp.
- Carefully wipe the pan clean. Increase the heat to medium-high and add one tablespoon of oil.
- Once the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds, until fragrant but not browned.
- Add the carrots and cook for 2 minutes, until tender. Add the peas and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the cauliflower, stir to combine. Spread the cauliflower mixture out evenly in the pan so that it has more area to fry, allow to cook without stirring for about 2 minutes.
- Mix the rice and lower heat to medium and cover the pan and cook until the cauliflower rice is tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the soy sauce and sesame oil, stirring to combine. Taste the rice and add more soy sauce, salt, and pepper as needed.
- Add the eggs and shrimp, stir, and cook for a few more minutes. Garnish with sliced green onions.
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