The perfect compliment to your Mexican side dishes! This Cauliflower Spanish Rice is full of flavor and super easy to make! Such a great and healthy alternative to rice, and one that is packed with nutrients. Only 10 minutes of prep time and 10 minutes of cook time! This easy recipe is low-carb, Keto friendly, Paleo, and Whole30 compliant.
Why Cauliflower Spanish Rice?
As a nutritionist, I am always looking for ways to add in more fiber for digestive health. Cauliflower Spanish Rice is basically checking all of these boxes for me: flavor, nutrition, ease, and texture!
Spanish rice will forever have a place in my heart as my most favorite food as a child. Kind of weird, right? I use to devour by the bowl full. Forget the beans. I just wanted the rice.
Now as an adult who doesn’t eat grains very often, I make a lot of my favorite rice flavors into cauliflower rice recipes! A few of my favorites include:
- Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice
- Cauliflower Rice Tabbouleh
- Hibachi Steak Bowls with Cauliflower Fried Rice
- Coconut Lime Cauliflower Rice
What do I need to make Cauliflower Spanish Rice?
This cauliflower rice comes together with a few simple ingredients:
- Cauliflower (duh)
- Tomato paste
- Vegetable or chicken broth
- Add in some additional fresh cilantro and lime for an even tastier treat!
How to make the easiest and most flavorful Cauliflower Spanish Rice:
We start by chopping up the cauliflower into florets and discarding the base. This will make the pulsing in a food processor so much easier!
Next, pulse in a blender or a food processor. And by pulse, PULSE!!! If you keep the blender on, you may end up with mush. In my Vitamix, it only requires a few pulses (3-5). A food processor is actually better to use for pulsing cauliflower. Either way, you will most likely need to do this in a few batches! Stop when you get that “rice” like texture.
Now we work on the saute portion. Heat a large skillet to medium heat, then add oil, onion, and garlic. Saute for a total of 4-5 minutes. Then we add in the riced cauliflower and let it saute for another 5 minutes. Let it soften and get the onion flavor. Stir in cumin, salt, tomato paste, and broth. Give it a nice stir and cover. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. It should be ready to devour when the rice is softened and the flavor has been evenly distributed.
Can I use already riced cauliflower?
Absolutely!! I do this sometimes when I’m lazy. Most stores actually have already riced cauliflower in the produce section. Or you can also buy in the frozen section. Trader Joe’s sells the organic cauliflower rice frozen at $2!!! This will alter the cooking time a bit, and release more water. So you won’t need as much broth, if any at all.
I prefer to pulse my own cauliflower, mainly because a large head of cauliflower produces more rice then I can get in the frozen section. You will most likely need 2 bags of the frozen!
Serving and Storing:
Squeeze a little lime juice and add some cilantro for a more fantastic flavor! Taco Tuesday is going to be so much better with the addition of this rice. It’s perfect to just add in a protein, and toppings for a complete meal! You can also store in the fridge and it will keep for an additional few days.
Here are a few of my favorite recipes to serve over my Cauliflower Spanish Rice:
- Instant Pot Chicken Tinga
- Sheet Pan Chipotle Steak Fajitas
- Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Creamy Southwest Chicken
- Sheet Pan Shrimp Tacos
Be sure to rate the recipe below and comment if you make it! Also, tag me on Instagram @wholesomelicious with your creations. I love to see them!
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Cauliflower Spanish Rice
Cauliflower Spanish Rice is the best side dish to any of your Mexican dishes! So simple to make with 10 minutes of prep and 10 minutes of cook time. Paleo, Vegan, Keto, and Whole30.
- 1 large head of cauliflower*
- 1 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt + more to taste
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- Fresh cilantro for garnish optional
- 1 lime, juiced optional
Cut your cauliflower in half and in half again. Remove stem and discard. Chop the head of the cauliflower into chunks (1-2 inch pieces). Place inside a food processor and pulse. You probably need to do this in 2-3 batches. Between each batch, remove and set aside.
Heat up a large skillet to medium heat. Coat the pan with oil. Add onion and saute for 3 minutes, then add garlic and saute another 1-2 minutes.
Add in riced cauliflower and saute for another 4-5 minutes. salt, and cumin. Stir around the veggie mixture to coat.
Now add in cumin, salt, tomato paste, then 1/4 cup broth (you might not need broth with frozen rice as it produces enough moisture). Bump up heat to medium high. Continue to stir around until the tomato paste dissolves in the mixture. If the mixture is too dry, add in more broth by the tablespoon. If the mixture is slightly wet, continue to cook until the liquid dissolves.
Serve hot with garnished cilantro, lime juice, and added salt to taste.
*You can also use the 12 oz bag of frozen Trader Joe’s in place of the head of cauliflower. You will most likely need two bags for this recipe.
Aimee @ like mother like daughter says
I’ve been noting Ryan cauliflower rice, this looks like the perfect recipe to start with!
Aimee @ like mother like daughter says
Wanting to try*
Thanks Aimee! Hope you enjoy!
Catherine Shroyer says
If using frozen cauliflower rice do you saute it frozen?
You can do either one! I usually defrost for a bit, but if you do frozen you’ll increase the cook time for an extra 3-5 minutes.
Hi I was wondering if you have the macros for this? Thanks!
Renee Kohley says
So pretty! I grew up with a lot of Spanish rice so this is very nostalgic for me! I can’t wait to try it!
Me too! I used to eat spanish rice all the time, but need a healthier variation 🙂
Mmmmmmmm…. can’t wait to try this!
Cristina Curp says
Bello!!! What a lovely color and I;m sure it tastes divine too.
Can you heat this up the next day?
Hi Keven, Yes you could easily re-heat the next day. I prefer to eat it within 2 days!
I love cauliflower rice and now I have new flavor that I can try this coming weekend. Thank you !
Michele Spring says
What a convenient recipe – we love spanish rice but needed a Paleo equivalent to go with our Mexican-inspired dishes. This will be perfect!
Exactly! We make it all the time now!
I love cauliflower rice, and I have to try this! Thanks for sharing!
Hannah Healy says
Oh my! I want to make this now!
Yes, you should!
Carrie Forrest says
What a great recipe idea!
Thank you, Carrie!
Jessica DeMay says
I love this! I grew up on spanish rice (from a box!!) so this is a great healthy version. It looks so delicious!
Me too, spanish rice in a box!! Haha, this one is way better 🙂
Becky Winkler (A Calculated Whisk) says
This sounds so good! I love Spanish flavors.
Emily @ Recipes to Nourish says
This sounds so good!!! I love Spanish rice but never make it because my body doesn’t do well with grains. What a great idea to make it with cauli rice!
Taesha Butler (The Natural Nurturer) says
This looks so incredible and easy! I love super healthy dishes that remind me of a childhood favorite!
This recipe is delicious. It doesn’t taste like cauliflower at all. It says 76 calories. How much is a serving size or how many does the recipe serve?
Erin Carter says
This sounds so tasty!
Kari - Get Inspired Everyday! says
I love Spanish rice, but I’ve never thought to make it with cauliflower before – thank you for such a great idea, this is going into the regular rotation!
Stacey Crawford says
This is fantastic! I always get so envious at restaurants when people are eating the Spanish rice 🙂
Georgina Young says
This is literally the sexiest cauli rice that I have seen yet! Love it!
Totally looking this back up next time I make paleo paella. 🙂
My grocery store sells riced cauliflower! About how many cups of rice does a large head of cauliflower produce?
Yay!! Makes things so easy! It normally makes around 3 cups. But 2 cups would also be fine, just cut back a bit on the chicken broth 🙂
Can you share the Calories per 1/2 cup serving and any Fat, Protein, and Carb macros?
They are updated in the notes of the recipe!
Can i use tomato juice If I don’t have tomato paste
I would use canned diced tomatoes or fresh tomatoes in it’s place.
I added a jalepeno and lots of fresh lime and a 1/2 teaspoon “Mexican spice” from thw spice aisle!! I also added shrimp to the rice. Was amazing. Sat down and ate the entire thing and then did it again the next night!
Gina Bringetto says
Do you have the nutrition facts of this?
Hi Gina, I just added the nutrition facts to the bottom of the post in the recipe box. Hope that helps!
Has anyone actually made and eaten this recipe instead of just looking at it?? If so, what is your review of the flavor, texture, etc.?
I’m going to make it tonight, so I’ll post again after we try it!
I just made this tonight and my husband and I ate it up! I make Spanish rice frequently and have wanted to find a healthier alternative. I was nervous about how the texture would turn out but it was so good! Very flavorful!
Laura Seibel says
I’ve made this and it tastes just like regular Spanish rice. Both my husband and I loved it. It reheats well too. I used frozen cauliflower and thawed it in the microwave first. I used a paper towel to absorb the excess water.
YAY!!! Glad you loved it!
Awesome recipe! My picky eater boyfriend didn’t know the difference between this and real rice! Thanks for the recipe!
You’re welcome! Glad you loved it!
Could I make this cauliflower verde by subbing tomatillos for the tomato paste?
How long do you cook it after you add in the cauliflower? I don’t see any time in the instructions.
Katrina Bolanos says
I used frozen roasted garlic cauliflower rice and this turned out AMAZING!!!
I doubled the recipe and only used 1tsp of salt since I think there was salt in the cauliflower rice that I had. I also used frozen onions and bell peppers and cooked those until the liquid was gone. My family and I LOVED this!! THANK YOU!!! 🙂
Yay!! happy to hear!!
Mckenzie Woods says
This was delicious. Ate it in shrimp tacos and the whole family loved it!
Yes!!! Love hearing that!
OMAR SARA says
This sounds very delicious!!. Thank you AMY
Absolutely scrumptious! I’m already craving my next bowl of this. Thankyou ????
Absolute favorite side for Mexican dishes or just with leftover chicken breast, so yummy and healthy!
This is so amazing. I was surprised how good this was! Tastes exactly like Spanish rice. Love it.
This is so tasty!! It turned out great and my family loved it. An amazing low-cal alternative to the much loved classic Spanish rice recipe. You should make a cauliflower rice paella recipe!
What is the serving size for the 76 cake? I’m counting and would just like to be sure! Thanks!!
Hi Jess, serving size is around 1 cup. I am not sure what 76 cake is, but I hope that answers your question!
Melissa from Texas! says
I can’t believe I got my very Latina mom to eat this and say it was GOOD! We’re on a journey to grain-free (so hard to say see you later to white flour/corn tortillas!) and it was an absolute favorite for now! Thank you so much!
YES!!!! The best kind of review, love it!
This recipe comes together so quickly and is very flavorful.
So great to hear!
Very good! Nailed it on flavor. Texture not too shabby either. Served it with pollo a la crema. I would definitely make this again.
Pamela Joe says
I definitely will try, looks healthy
Pretty good base recipe. We added taco seasoning for flavor and a half can of rotel for more tomato taste and color 🙂 Will make again!
Amy Rains says
Love those changes!
This is very good! I added some cayenne pepper for a little more heat.
Sarah Stendahl says
So good! Made this for my family tonight instead of our regular Spanish rice and this was a winner. Will be making again and again. Thank you.
The first time I made this and it came out perfect. Tasty way to eat cauliflower.
Great recipe! My tweaks: I added a chopped carrot, sub’d some overly ripe tomatoes instead of chicken broth/paste, added cholula. I tried FullGreen riced cauliflower for the first time – yum! I am definitely saving this recipe! Delicious!
I made this not really hoping for much as I haven’t found a recipe for cauliflower rice that I like but this was so flavorful and really fantastic. This will become one of my go-to sides.
Thanks for making cauliflower so tasty.
Tamara Steele says
Really tasty. Better than most spanish rices that I’ve had. Contemplating adding things to make it a main. Maybe taco bowl style. Also now I want to try a cauliflower rice curry.
Rainah Myers says
I ended up adding 5 tablespoons of tomato paste. If you mix the tomato paste with the broth it is easier to stir into the cauliflower rice.