Spanish Cauliflower Rice makes this staple of Mexican food available to those on a low carb or grain free diet. The cauli rice recipe is simple, easy to prepare, and ready in about 10 minutes.
This makes for a great weight watchers side dish and is gluten free too. It is so rice like, your family may not realize it isn't.
Spanish Cauliflower Rice - Low Carb Mexican Side Dish
When starting a low carb, keto, or grain free diet one of the first struggles you will face is finding swaps for those carb loaded side dishes.
They are what make a simple entree into a complete meal after all.
Technically, this could be called Mexican cauliflower rice, since it uses cumin rather than saffron. Feel free to swap a few threads of saffron in place of the cumin. Most of us don't have that pricey spice readily on hand though.
As some of you may know from conversations on social media or from my Cauliflower Rice Pilaf recipe, I am a big proponent of sauteing rather than steaming riced cauliflower.
The slight caramelization of the tiny cauliflower bits along with the onions adds flavor and improves the texture. This makes the cauliflower barely distinguishable from a traditional rice dish.
Adjusting Rice Recipes for Cauliflower
Pretty much any rice recipe can be converted to riced cauliflower. The primary thing to keep in mind is that the cauliflower will not absorb liquids like rice does.
In making this Spanish rice from the vegetable, I swapped tomato paste in place of tomato sauce.
I also skipped using broth completely, since I feel the finished cauli rice has plenty of flavor. If you wish to add some, just add a small amount of paste vegetable or chicken base.
When adding thicker ingredients like this, cover the pan while cooking. This traps enough escaping moisture from the cooking cauliflower to blend them in.
How to Make Spanish Cauliflower Rice
Here is a run through of making this low carb Mexican side dish.
While I have used frozen riced cauliflower, you can easily convert a head of cauliflower. Rough chop it then pulse in a food processor, until chopped to rice sized bits.
Keep in mind, fresh raw riced cauliflower will take longer to cook than the frozen.
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Here are the ingredients you will need to make this low carb Spanish rice substitute.
- 12 ounces frozen cauliflower rice
- 1 tablespoon oil (avocado, coconut, olive oil or ghee)
- ½ medium onion, diced (approximately ½ cup)
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder (or one clove of garlic minced)
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
Gather your ingredients and a large skillet. There is no need to thaw the frozen riced cauliflower, it is actually easier to get out of the bag if you don't.
Place skillet over medium high heat and pour in the oil.
Once the oil is hot, toss in the onions and spices. Stir to coat, then add the paste and riced cauliflower. Mix well then cover.
Cook for about about 10 minutes, stirring several times while the cauliflower rice cooks.
Remove from heat and serve with your favorite dishes.
If you are on a very strict limit for carbs, the counts on this can be lowered by reducing or omitting the onions and using less tomato paste.
Swapping a ½ tsp of onion power for the onions and using 1 tbsp of paste rather than 2 will reduce the net carb count per serving from 6g to 4g.
Low Carb Sides
Here are some more low carb sides to team with your entrees.
- Sauteed Asparagus and Mushrooms
- Broccoli Rabe Recipe - Perfect Keto Side Dish
- Roasted Turnips, Ranch Style - Lower Carb than Potatoes!
- Baked Asparagus
- Buffalo Roasted Cauliflower
Spanish Cauliflower Rice
- 12 oz frozen riced cauliflower
- 1 tbs oil avocado, coconut, olive oil or ghee
- ½ medium onion diced (approximately ½ cup)
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp garlic powder or one clove of garlic minced
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- Gather your ingredients and a large skillet. There is no need to thaw the frozen riced cauliflower, it is actually easier to get out of the bag if you don't.
- Place skillet over medium high heat and pour in the oil.
- Once the oil is hot, toss in the onions and spices. Stir to coat, then add the paste and riced cauliflower. Mix well then cover.
- Cook for about about 10 minutes, stirring several times while the cauliflower rice cooks.