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Mexican Cauliflower Rice

Flavorful Mexican Cauliflower Rice is the perfect side dish, low in carbs, and easy to make. Prepare this recipe in under 30 minutes and serve with chicken, tacos, steak and more.

a fork full of Mexican cauliflower rice

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE

I love rice so much I could eat it with EVERY meal, but I needed to develop a recipe that’s both healthy and filling like my favorite Mexican restaurant’s rice. This recipe is perfect with Instant Pot Carne Asada, Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas, and Roasted Poblano Cheddar Soup.

large bowl of cauliflower rice and spoon next to chicken breast
the perfect cauliflower side dish for any meal

What we love about Mexican Cauliflower Rice:

  • it’s deliciously flavorful, like Mexican takeout
  • low in carbs– only 7g. net per serving
  • healthy with veggies and protein
  • it’s an easily customizable side dish for any meal
ingredients for Mexican cauliflower rice, including cauliflower, peas, carrots, tomato paste, chicken broth, cilantro

INGREDIENTS

Cauliflower contains a lot of natural liquid, so you do not need to add much liquid. You will need time to cook it till it dries out like rice.

  • CauliflowerFresh is best. Frozen can get soggy and be less flavorful
  • Olive oil 
  • Tomato paste– any brand
  • Onion– diced finely
  • Minced garlic– finely minced
  • Tomato bouillon – I use the Knorr Swissa brand in the Mexican section- or use chicken boyillon
  • Chicken broth– you may also use vegetable stock/ broth
  • Carrots– fresh or frozen peas and carrots will work
  • Peas
  • Salt
  • Cilantro
directions for making Mexican cauliflower rice, including ricing the cauliflower in a food processor and simmering with tomato paste, garlic, peas and carrot

easy to make

INSTRUCTIONS

To make this recipe, first rice the cauliflower, then sauté the remaining ingredients.


HOW TO RICE THE CAULIFLOWER

  1. Remove heads from stems and cut into quarter sized pieces. Keeping them about the same size will help them each break down to similar sizes.
  2. Place the pieces in a food processor and pulse for 20 seconds and check to see whether all the pieces are about rice size. Pulse longer if needed.

Sauté Remaining Ingredients

  1. Add carrots and broth in a small saucepan for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the carrots are soft but not mushy.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the peas. Add onions to the olive oil while the carrots are cooking. If there is any liquid left after cooking the carrots and peas, drain before adding to the cauliflower.
  3. Afterward, add the garlic and continue to cook for a further minute.
  4. Mix in tomato paste and tomato bouillon, followed by the cauliflower, carrots, and peas.
  5. 10 to 15 minutes on medium heat with the cover on the pan. Once in a while, give it a little stir. After releasing it’s moisture, the cauliflower must be cooked until it is “fluffy” and dry.
  6. Before serving, season with salt to taste and garnish with cilantro.
big bowl of Mexican cauliflower rice with cilantro garnish on top
easy one pan side dish, Mexican cauliflower

EXPERT TIPS

You’ll want to taste-test to get the right texture: if it’s cooked, the rice will be chewy, but still have a faint bite to it.

Make sure you keep an eye on the pan and begin testing for texture around the 5-minute mark, as overcooked cauliflower rice can become full of moisture and too soggy.

  • Process the cauliflower florets to ensure a uniform ricing by making in batches.
  • Take care not to overfill the bowl by more than half and utilize the pulse option instead of blending it on its continuous mode.
  • Avoid overcooking the rice by keeping an eye on the pan. As cooking times can vary, it’s critical to check the texture of the dish after only 5 minutes.
Mexican cauliflower rice with chicken and cilantro
perfect with chicken or beef

FAQ

RICE CAULIFLOWER WITHOUT A FOOD PROCESSOR

Yes, you may still rice the cauliflower if you do not have a food processor, albeit time consuming. First, chop the cauliflower florets, then, continue chopping until the size of rice.

CAN I USE FROZEN CAULIFLOWER RICE?

Yes. The convenience of pre-riced, bagged cauliflower in the produce department of most supermarkets is undeniable.

You’ll definitely need to wring out the defrosted and thoroughly dried cauliflower rice to keep it from getting soggy.

A note about pre-packaged cauliflower rice:  If you see a touch of green in the rice, it means that the cauliflower was under-ripe or riced sections of the stem and/or leaves. Toss these out and be sure to towel-dry after thawing to reduce moisture.

close up of seasoned Mexican cauliflower rice
the perfect blend of spices

SUBSTITUTIONS

Keto: Substitute peas and carrots for mushrooms and peppers.

Vegetarian: Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER CAULIFLOWER RICE

  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Freeze in a sealed zippered bag for up to 3 months.
Mexican cauliflower rice with peas and carrots

Mexican Cauliflower Rice

Flavorful Mexican Cauliflower Rice is rich in flavor just like your favorite Mexican, but without all the carbs. Make this easy riced cauliflower to serve as a low carb side for any meal.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: cauli rice, healthy mexican rice, keto Mexican, low carb Mexican
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 72kcal
Author: Amber @ Low Carb Quick

Equipment

  • food processor

Ingredients

  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup carrots peeled and finely diced
  • ½ cup frozen peas optional
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • cup onion finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp tomato bouillon
  • 1 head cauliflower riced*
  • salt to taste
  • cilantro for garnish, optional

Instructions

Rice the Cauliflower

  • Remove heads from stems and cut into quarter sized pieces. Keeping them about the same size will help them each break down into similar sizes.
  • Place the pieces in a food processor and pulse for 20 seconds and check to see whether all the pieces are about rice size. Pulse longer if needed.

Sauté

  • In a small saucepan, place the carrots and the broth and cook for 7 to 8 minutes until the carrots are slightly softened. Add the peas and turn off the heat.
  • If there is any liquid left after cooking the carrots and peas, drain before adding to the cauliflower.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the onions.  Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
  • Stir in the tomato paste and tomato bouillon, then add the cauliflower, carrots and peas and stir until combined.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and cook over medium for 10 to 15 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  The cauliflower will release its moisture and then it will need to cook till it's “fluffy” and drier.
  • Season with salt to taste and sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

Notes

pre-packaged cauliflower rice:  Pre-packaged and frozen rice is not the best, but can be used if you towel-dry after thawing. This reduces moisture.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 72kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 172mg | Potassium: 465mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1997IU | Vitamin C: 56mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

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