In recent years cauliflower rice has become a popular alternative to rice and couscous because it’s a low-carb, low-calorie alternative that gives you a similar experience to eating rice.
Cauliflower rice is particularly popular with low-carb dieters such as those on keto who want a bit of bulk with their meals without impacting their daily carb intake too much.
We’re also told that brown (or whole grain) rice is a healthier alternative to white rice and something we should switch to if we’re looking to adapt to a healthier lifestyle.
As a cauliflower rice eater myself, I wanted to look at the nutritional benefits of cauliflower rice and the differences between that and the healthy rice option – brown rice.
So, in this article, I’ll be comparing the differences between the two, including nutrition, uses, and flavor.
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Brown Rice Vs. Cauliflower Rice Nutritional Comparison
Starting with the nutritional comparison and to ensure it’s fair and accurate, I’ll be using official data from the USDA, and I’ll be comparing the two foods weight-for-weight (per 100g).
One of the main reasons people choose cauliflower rice over regular rice is the calorie content.
If you’re following a calorie-restricted diet, then of the two, cauliflower is the better option because it contains 100kcal less per 100g when compared to brown rice.
|Rice Type||Calories Per 100g|
Another reason people choose to switch to cauliflower rice over regular rice is that the carbohydrate content of cauliflower rice is much lower.
Cauliflower rice contains 4g of carbs compared to brown rice, which has 25.6g of carbs per 100g; this is a big difference if you’re on a low-carb diet such as keto and rice is off the menu.
Cauliflower is also slightly higher in dietary fiber than brown rice when you compare it weight-for-weight.
|Nutrition Type||Brown Rice||Cauliflower Rice|
|of Which are Sugars||0.24g||2.08g|
If protein content is important for your diet, then of the two, brown rice contains slightly more protein per 100g than cauliflower; however, neither can be classed as a high-protein food.
|Nutrition Type||Brown Rice – Per 100g||Cauliflower Rice – Per 100g|
As you might expect, brown rice and cauliflower rice are both very low in fat, but of the two, brown rice is slightly higher in fat and saturated fat, both of which are found naturally in small amounts in whole grain products.
The table below shows the fat content of cauliflower and brown rice per 100g, and as you can see, the amounts are nominal:
|Nutrition Type||Brown Rice – Per 100g||Cauliflower Rice – Per 100g|
|of Which is Saturated Fat||0.26g||0.07g|
Vitamins & Minerals Comparison
Brown rice and cauliflower rice both contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals in varying amounts.
When comparing the two, brown rice is higher in most categories, but cauliflower is higher in potassium and vitamin C and contains a wider range of vitamins and minerals.
Both kinds of rice are considered healthy options compared to white rice, with fewer nutrients.
|Vitamin/Mineral Type||Brown Rice – Amount Per 100g||Cauliflower Rice – Amount Per 100g|
If you’d like more information about how much of each vitamin and mineral you should be consuming daily, take a look at this article over at Medical News Today.
Brown Rice Vs. Cauliflower Rice Uses Comparison
Brown rice and cauliflower rice can be used in similar ways and especially as a base for a main dish such as curry or chili.
Both brown and cauliflower rice also work well as a rice dish with other flavors, spices, and vegetables mixed in to make it more interesting.
Cauliflower rice can be used to replace brown rice in most situations, but care needs to be taken because of the extra water it contains. Dry frying with spices gives good results and reduces the amount of water that comes out of the cauliflower during cooking.
Preparation and Cooking Comparison
We’ll now take a look at the preparation and cooking differences between brown rice and cauliflower rice:
When it comes to preparation, brown rice takes less time to prepare than cauliflower rice and only needs to be rinsed under cold water to remove any dust and grit.
Cauliflower rice takes more preparation because the outer leaves and any woody parts need to be removed before the cauliflower can be shredded or grated into something that resembles rice.
To save time next time you need cauliflower rice, you can make it in larger batches and chill or freeze it until you need it again.
Because brown rice has a thicker outer husk, it takes longer to cook than white rice and longer than cauliflower rice.
Brown rice can take up to 30 minutes to cook in boiling water (although quicker cook varieties are available). In contrast, cauliflower rice only takes around 3-4 minutes to cook either in water or stir-frying.
Best for Flavor and Texture
Cauliflower rice and brown rice taste very different, and the texture is also different.
Brown rice has a nutty flavor that is stronger than white rice with a substantial texture. In contrast, cauliflower rice tastes only of cauliflower and often needs other flavors to enhance the taste.
Per 100g of cauliflower, 93g is water, so you need to be clever about cooking it without it making the overall dish too watery and washed out.
When it comes to choosing the best for flavor and texture, it’s not easy to judge because it’s down to the individual which they prefer.
So to get a range of opinions, we’re taking a poll to find out whether brown rice or cauliflower rice is the public favorite.
Submit your vote below (no personal information required) to find out which is the favorite so far:
We’ve now looked at all of the differences between brown rice and cauliflower rice, and here’s a summary of each one:
- Cauliflower rice is much lower in calories than brown rice.
- Cauliflower rice is a low-carb alternative to brown rice, and it’s also a little higher in fiber.
- Brown rice is slightly higher in protein and natural fats.
- Both kinds of rice contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals, and cauliflower rice is high in vitamin C and potassium.
- Brown rice can be substituted by cauliflower rice in most situations, but care needs to be taken with the extra water content you get in cauliflower.
- Brown rice is easier to prepare, but cauliflower rice is quicker to cook and can be made and stored in large batches.
More Brown Rice Vs. Cauliflower Rice FAQs
Cauliflower rice is better than brown rice if you’re looking to reduce the number of calories you consume or are on a low-carb diet. Both kinds of rice contain a wide range of micro-nutrients and are a healthier alternative to white rice.
If you’re on a calorie-controlled or low-carb diet, then substituting white or brown rice for cauliflower rice can aid your weight loss in the long term because it’s both low-calorie and low-carb.
References Used for this Article
To ensure the nutritional information used in this article is accurate, I have used data from the USDA FoodData Central; the links below contain the source information: