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. Gluten-Free, Paleo, Vegan, Whole30, and Keto!
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, we needed a substitute. STAT. Especially since the husband and I were eating our way through January Whole30, and needed the perfect companion to Taco Tuesday. It’s hard for me to enjoy my taco bowls, or fajitas without the addition of rice. I love a good taco salad, but sometimes I want that extra texture and flavor of rice all mixed in.
So why can’t I enjoy the same flavor with cauliflower? Oh I can. And it’s with the most perfect Cauliflower Spanish Rice right here!!!
How to make Spanish Cauliflower 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!
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
Cauliflower Spanish Rice
- 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. 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.