With one pan and 25 minutes, veggie-packed Mexican cauliflower rice can be on your table. Naturally vegan and gluten free, this tasty side dish is the perfect addition to a festive Taco Tuesday spread and an easy way to squeeze just a little more nutrition onto your plate without sacrificing one bit of flavor!
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It’s no secret that Cameron and I love Mexican food. And it’s no secret that I love to sneak extra veggies onto our plates whenever possible.
Enter Mexican Cauliflower Rice.
To be honest, I received major side eye when I told Cameron I was making a cauliflower rice version of his beloved side dish. He was not amused.
That is, until I presented him with a bowl of this low carb flavor bomb, first smothered with my slow cooker cilantro lime chicken, and later served with a runny egg and avocado.
Instant convert! And you will be too.
This vegan and Whole30 compliant delight will become a staple in your kitchen. It’s packed with all of the flavor of traditional Mexican rice, but with loads more nutrients (and less guilt if that’s your thing).
How to Make Mexican Cauliflower Rice
Mexican cauliflower rice can be on your table in just 25 minutes. Made with simple whole foods and classic spices, this low carb side dish is the perfect accompaniment to your favorite Mexican proteins. We love it with cilantro lime chicken for dinner, or with a poached egg and avocado for a warm and filling breakfast.
How to Rice Cauliflower
You can purchase pre-riced cauliflower from a variety of stores these days – everywhere from Whole Foods to chain grocery stores carries it. I like the riced cauliflower from Trader Joe’s best. I don’t really care for frozen cauliflower rice for this recipe – even after it’s been defrosted, the finished rice is still too wet.
If you want to make your own cauliflower rice, you’ll need a food processor. I prefer the standard s-blade for a finer consistency. You can also use the shredder attachment for a coarser consistency.
Prepare the cauliflower by washing it throughly under cool running water. Use a paring knife to trim the leaves. Then place the head of cauliflower upside down. Using a paring knife, slice away the florets.
Place the florets into the food processor and pulse until finely diced. Scrape down the sides using a rubber spatula at least once to make sure you catch any larger pieces. I recommended pulsing the florets in two batches for best results – one head of florets is simply too much to process in one go to achieve the right consistency in a standard 7-cup machine.
Mexican Cauliflower Rice Step-By-Step
One pan, 15 minutes – let’s do this!
This recipe moves pretty quickly, so get your mis en place (aka “prep”) in order before you start. You’ll need a chopped white onion, minced garlic, minced jalapeno, tomato paste, cumin, paprika, salt, some fresh lime juice, and lots of chopped cilantro.
Place a 12″ non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil, heat until it shimmers, then add the onion. Sautee until the onion is soft, translucent, and starting to brown around the edges (about 5 minutes). Then add the minced garlic and jalapeno and sautee, stirring continuously, until very fragrant (a minute or two).
Add the tomato paste, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Work the tomato paste and spices into the vegetables with a wooden spoon.
Add the riced cauliflower to the skillet, stirring continuously until the seasoned vegetables are evenly distributed throughout the rice. Continue sautéing, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower releases its moisture, and the Mexican cauliflower rice is light and fluffy.
Remove the skillet from heat. Add the lime juice and chopped cilantro and stir. Taste for seasoning, and add additional salt and pepper to preference.
What to Serve with Mexican Cauliflower Rice
You can use this Mexican cauliflower rice anywhere you’d use regular cauliflower rice:
- As a side dish for low carb tacos or fajitas
- Topped with cilantro lime chicken or seasoned black beans
- Stuffed into burritos
But my favorite way is for breakfast – yes, breakfast! I whipped up this Mexican cauliflower rice keto bowl and it was OMG tasty.
Just add a bit of shredded cabbage for crunch, half an avocado, a poached egg, and a little queso fresco if you’re feeling frisky. It was AH-mazing, and oh so filling.
Mexican Cauliflower Rice Frequently Asked Questions
Is is spicy? Not overly so! There is some spice from the jalapeno, but more flavor and less heat.
Can I make it spicier? Yes! Keep some of the seeds from the jalapeno, and/or add up to a teaspoon of chili powder.
What kind of skillet should I use? Non-stick is best. I really love ceramic pans, like Green Pan. A 12″ pan will give you the best texture since the cauliflower rice will have more space to release its liquid and really fluff up.
Is Mexican cauliflower rice healthy? Healthy is subjective, so – that’s up to you! I can tell you that this recipe is vegan, gluten free, Whole30 compliant, and low carb.
How long does this last in the fridge? This recipe will keep well for up to 5 days stored in the fridge.
More Easy Side Dish Recipes
- Cauliflower Tabbouleh
- Crunchy Kale Slaw
- Grilled Corn Salad with Peppers and Basil
- Sugar Snap Peas with Bacon and Mint
- Quinoa Pilaf with Cherries and Pine Nuts
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- Rice the cauliflower. Slice the florets from the head of the cauliflower. Fit a food processor with the s-blade. Place half the florets into the bowl of the food processor and pulse until riced, scraping down the sides once halfway through to catch any larger pieces. Scrape out the riced cauliflower and repeat with the remaining florets.
- Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the onion and sautee until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, 5-6 minutes.
- Add the garlic and jalapeno and sautee until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, salt, cumin, and paprika and stir into the vegetables.
- Add the cauliflower rice and stir continuously until all ingredients are incorporated. Continue sautéing, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower releases its liquid and is dry and fluffy.
- Remove the Mexican cauliflower rice from heat. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Serve immediately.