The Technique to Turn Any Vegetable into "Rice"

May 18, 2018

If the spiralizer craze of 2016 taught us anything, it’s that we all love to experiment with vegetables impersonating carbs. We noodled with zucchini and carrots and fennel and beets—some successful, while others had us dreaming of spaghetti. And now, one of the spiralizer’s biggest fans is ready to tackle a new starch: rice.

In her latest book, Inspiralized & Beyond, The New York Times bestselling author Ali Maffucci describes how the spiralizer can transform all sorts of vegetables into rice-like bits.

“I find spiralized rice to be the most rice-like alternative to true rice,” she writes. “Select your spiralized vegetable based on what kind of dish and flavor you’re going for. Spiralize your vegetable of choice, then pack the noodles into a food processor and pulse until broken down into rice-like bits.“

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With this technique, all sorts of vegetables open up to ricing: butternut squash, carrots, celeriac, daikon, jicama, kohlrabi, parsnips, rutabagas, sweet potatoes...

By spiralizing, then pulsing any of these vegetables, you get the thinner, rice-like texture than simply pulsing in the processor.

"Its consistency is firmer and more solid than a fluffy cauliflower rice, and because you can spiralize twenty-five to thirty different vegetables, you can make that many spiralized rice varieties," Maffucci says.

However, if you don’t have a spiralizer, you can still DIY vegetable rice. Similar to the technique to make cauliflower rice, just pulse chopped pieces of your vegetable of choice in a food processor until everything’s grain-sized. Make sure not to over-pulse, or it'll turn into a paste.

Curious? Replace cauliflower “rice” with a new variety in one of these recipes:


Are you a fan of alternative rice? Share thoughts in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Anne Biedenstein
    Anne Biedenstein
  • witloof
  • BakerRB
  • BerryBaby
Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


Anne B. May 21, 2018
The problem with any kind of "alternative rice" is that is doesn't absorb juices, sauces, etc. the way real rice (couscous, quinoa, or other grains) does. If anyone has a way around this, please share!
witloof May 20, 2018
Cauliflower rices perfectly when I slice it on my mandoline.
BakerRB May 19, 2018
I haven't tried this spiralizing trick, but I have used the food processor attachment to grate the vegetable first. It breaks down into rice faster and more evenly. It worked a little better with softer items (cauliflower) that grated into coarser pieces than hard ones (carrot). I have an older large Cuisinart.
BerryBaby May 19, 2018
I’ve found using the mini food processor works without the extra step.
However, maybe the texture is different by first using the spiralizer?