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
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