Enjoy this classic Spanish dish with a grain-free makeover using cauliflower rice! This Cauliflower Rice Paella is packed with flavor and spices, and yet, so simple to make for a busy weeknight! It all comes together on a skillet in less than 30 minutes. Paleo, Gluten-Free, grain free, with a Whole30 option.
Another day, another way to enjoy an amazing low carb version of a classic dish!! As a nutritionist and recipe developer, I love to take traditional food and make it better for you. That is exactly what we are doing with this Cauliflower Rice Paella!
What is Paella?
Paella is a traditional Spanish dish that is loaded with flavors and spices like: smoked paprika, saffron, chorizo, tomatoes, seafood (or sometimes chicken) bell pepper, a quality wine, and more!!! It is traditionally served and cooked in rice.
You know the moment when you meet a new friend in your adulthood and instantly just click? You want to hug him/her and say, “where have you been all of my life?” That’s kind of how I felt about Paella the first time I tried it in Spain several years ago. She’s like my sister from another mister. How did I not know about this dish growing up?
Clearly, once I tasted a bite of this pure delicious cuisine, I became obsessed with trying it at every Spanish restaurant. And maybe trying every Spanish restaurant I could find. I love that traveling ignites this passion for food and possibilities. Plus, I kind of became a fan of sangria. Sangria + Paella might be the perfect meal.
What you need to make Cauliflower Rice Paella
Here is what we need to make Cauliflower Rice Paella:
- Head of cauliflower (you can also use pre-riced cauliflower)
- Avocado oil or olive oil
- Yellow onion
- Red bell pepper
- Roma tomatoes
- Smoked paprika
- Saffron threads
- sea salt
- Chorizo sausage
- Raw shrimp
- Chicken stock
- White wine
- Lemon juice
- Tomato Paste
- Fresh parsley
Tips and adaptations for making Paella
- Cauliflower rice cooks much faster than rice and can get mushy. So it’s best to saute it in the beginning with the onion and garlic and not use frozen (frozen cauliflower rice will have more moisture)
- You can use pre-cooked chorizo sausage and cut into slices. OR, saute the chorizo with the onion and garlic in the beginning.
- Use white wine for a more flavorful variation. You can also substitute with chicken broth.
- Feel free to swap out the shrimp and use chicken for a non-seafood variation!
- Serve hot with fresh parsley and a glass of wine. This recipe will not keep well in the fridge and is best enjoyed in one sitting!
Other Cauliflower Rice Recipes to enjoy!
- Ground Turkey Tacos with Spanish Cauliflower Rice
- Jalapeno Popper Chicken Burrito Bowls with Cauliflower Rice
- Chicken Divan Casserole
- Coconut Lime Cauliflower Rice
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Cauliflower Rice Paella
We're taking the traditional Spanish Paella and lightening it up with cauliflower rice! Less than 30 minutes until dinner is on the table.
- 1 large head cauliflower*
- 2 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 med yellow onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 cup roma tomato diced
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp saffron threads
- 1 tsp salt
- 8 oz chorizo sausage**
- 12 oz raw shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1/2 cup white wine***
- 4 tbsp lemon juice divided
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
Place cauliflower florets into a food processor or blender. Pulse for about 10-20 seconds until cauliflower resembles a rice texture. Do not over pulse, or it will become mushy. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp oil, then saute garlic and onion for 3-4 minutes. If using raw chorizo, add it here and cook for 4-5 minutes. Now add bell pepper and cauliflower rice. Continue to saute for 5-6 minutes, consistently stirring.
Now add tomatoes, paprika, saffron, salt, and chorizo. If using precooked sausage, slice into bite size pieces and toss into the mixture. Now add the shrimp.
Place white wine, lemon juice, and tomato paste into the skillet. Increase heat to medium high and bring to a quick boil. Now reduce the heat to a simmer, and let the flavors meld while the shrimp cooks. Continue to stir and cook for another 8-10 minutes.
Add the last 2 tbsp lemon juice and parsley (if using) for garnish. Serve warm.
*You will want about 4 cups cauliflower florets, or about 3-4 cups cauliflower rice
**You can use pre-cooked spicy sausage or chicken sausage (I use the Aidells brand)
***You can omit the white wine (Whole30 option) and use 1/2 cup chicken stock instead
madalin stunt cars 2 says
Yummy! I can’t wait to try it!
Let me know what you think!
Another awesome recipe from your site. The flavors were so good.
Loved this and so did the bf. His comment: “I love this cauliflower rice, because I don’t feel like I have to have another side of veggies.” Tee hee.
I was wondering what to do with leftover white wine and cauliflower stalks, so this was perfect. I didn’t have chorizo, so used hot Italian sausage, and took it out of the casing. I also had to do without the saffron since there is none left in the cupboard It was still devine! My only challenge was that I slightly overcooked the shrimp.
Love hearing that!
Rita Hamlet says
You can always substitute tumeric for saffron. That’s what I did. Delicious.
Jennifer Duncan says
How much turmeric do you use a sub?
Candace H says
I was wondering if the saffron makes a huge difference in the meal. Both grocery stores near me don’t have it. 🙁
Oh no! It’s fine to leave it out, but is a nice touch if you can find it.
Candace H says
Came back to report that A: I found saffron and was able to make your recipe and B: it was delicious!!! Family is fighting over who gets the leftovers ha!
Oh yay!!! So happy to hear!!!
Rita Hamlet says
Substitute tumeric for saffron. That’s what I do. Saffron is hard to find and super expensive.
Wow! Made this last night, and it was DELICIOUS!! Hubby and I fighting over the leftovers! Will definitely be making again!! I added a little pulled chicken, and some green peppers. I have a question I ask the family after new dishes. “Next week, next month, or next year”? This was for sure a “next week”!!
Marla Schultz says
I’m excited to try this. My family loves paella (our neighbors are Spanish), but because I’m eating low carb now, I needed an alternative. Thank you!
Great! Hope you love it!
Lynn Deutsch says
Sorry but this was just meh… First, the recipe emphasizes not to over process the cauliflower because it will be mushy. That’s exactly what happens to the cauliflower in this recipe. Riced cauliflower cannot tolerate being in a pot and stir fried for more than 4-6 minutes. Highly recommend you saute it to your satisfaction with the onions and garlic and then add it back at the end. Adding chicken stock further waters it down. I literally doubled the smoked paprika, garlic and it was still pretty bland (spices were purchased at Penzey’s same day so they were very fresh. Keeping the cauliflower in there and adding the chicken broth, wine the rest of the ingredients by bringing them to a “quick boil” and then reducing to a simmer for another 8-10 minutes pretty much ruined the dish. Clearly it was edible but I used both shrimp and scallops, really splurging on the seafood – very disappointing.
happy wheels says
This looks amazing! I will definately give it a try!
That dish looks great, thank you for sharing it.
My sister found this recipe because I am on Whole30 this month and it worked out so well. I was craving a dish that wasn’t bland and had depth. For fridge storage, we didn’t mix the cauliflower rice in the sauce but that’s because I like that texture. We also added mussels and used chorizo since we had that on hand. Thank you thank you!!!!
So happy to hear that!!
Can you use frozen cauliflower rice?
The main thing this dish was missing was – RICE! It would have absorbed the sauce in a way that cauliflower never could. Unfortunately, I’m on the SCD (specific carbohydrate diet) & can’t have rice. Also, the chorizo & shrimp were over cooked. I’d suggest adding them way at the end. But, always looking for a way to have variety in a very restricted diet
among us 2 says
Great post! This is a very good blog that I will definitely come back to more times this year! Thanks for the article.
Nutrition info on this cauliflower paella recipe please. Am I just missing it? Sounds wonderful!!
So happy to have this recipe for no rice paella. I’ll be making it this week and am looking forward to it.
This recipe is absolutely delicious and doesn’t leave you with that bloated feeling which comes after eating rice. The great thing is you don’t overeat because your sugar level doesn’t spike as with carbs.I will make this a regular.