Mexican Cauliflower “Rice” ♥

Mexican Cauliflower Rice, more Mexican meal prep ♥ A Veggie Venture
graphic button small size size 10 Cauliflower Meal Prep! Turn a head of cauliflower into a stand-in for rice for Taco Tuesday and so much more. We love this dish, so healthy, so flavorful. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Freestyle Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free. Whole30 Friendly. graphic button small size size 10

LET IT BE SAID Mexican is a totally food-prep friendly cuisine! When we did a month-long deep dive into Mexican cooking last spring, what fun – and the easiest cooking I've ever done in my entire life. (Want to know more about that project? See Deep Mexico: Ingredient-Driven Mexican Meal Prep. )

A big reason is that I'd do some meal prep every day. After that, dinner (and lunch and especially breakfast) kind of made themselves.

One of our favorites then (and still, four months later) was Mexican Cauliflower "Rice" – not rice at all, of course, but one of cauliflower's many low-carb chameleon acts. Cauliflower doesn't just masquerade as rice but also as potatoes, even chickpeas. There's a whole section here with all my cauliflower recipes. Check them out!


Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Makes 7 cups (freezes well)

2-1/2 pounds (1135g) large whole cauliflower (or 2 pounds, 900g, cauliflower rice)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped fine
1 poblano, chopped fine
1 pound (454g) good tomatoes (or 15 ounces canned tomatoes, just as good or better!)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Cauliflower Rice
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano (or regular oregano)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3/4 cup water
Salt & pepper to taste

MAKE THE CAULIFLOWER "RICE" Trim off all the heavy leaves. The easy way to do this? Put the cauliflower head on a secure cutting board, it helps to put a damp towel or something rubbery underneath so it doesn't slip. With a big knife, cut the head in half, top to stem, then cut each half in half again, that makes, um, yeah, four quarters. Turn each quarter cut-side down and just slice off the inner core and all the leaves. (And compost, right? See My Most-Used Kitchen Tool, a Garbage Bowl or Compost Bowl) How easy is that, people?! Now cut the cauliflower into smaller pieces, the right size depends on the power of your food processor, my (yikes!) almost 40-year old Cuisinart is a workhorse but needs what I call "medium-ish" size pieces. Throw a quarter's worth of the cauliflower pieces into the food processor and pulse until fine; if a few pieces don't chop up, don't worry, pull them out and then include with the next batch. (If a bunch don't chop up, then chop the next quarter's worth a bit smaller.) It's important to not overload the food processor, if you do, it'll be totally frustrating and it's easy to process the cauliflower too fine aka "cauliflower mush" – trust me, we don't want "mush" for cauliflower rice!

NOW COOK! In a large, heavy skillet, heat the olive oil on medium high until shimmery. Stir in the onion and poblano as they're prepped and sauté them, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic and salt, let cook until the tomatoes are hot. Stir in the Cauliflower Rice, tomato paste, spices and water, bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a simmer, then let simmer, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is cooked but again, not mushy.

IT HOLDS ON THE STOVE If you're busy with dinner, cook the Cauliflower Rice first and keep it on low heat for up to an hour while you finish up the rest of the meal. You might need to add a bit of water along the way to keep it moist but this keeps really well on the stove.

TO SERVE Serve as a filler for tacos, as a low-carb side, with eggs on top for breakfast, etc. Mexican Cauliflower Rice is so easy to turn into a tasty meal!

MAKE-AHEAD Mexican Cauliflower Rice is great for meal prep, make it a day or two ahead. It's so handy to have on hand for quick quesadillas, quick breakfast burritos, quick chard rolls, etc. etc. It also freezes beautifully!

VARIATIONS It's easy to amp up the heat in Mexican Cauliflower Rice if that's to your taste. Use jalapeños instead of the milder poblanos, add cayenne powder, spike with hot sauce, etc. Here, we keep Mexican Cauliflower Rice on the mild (but flavorful) side so that it moderates the heat from other sources.

This recipe uses a large whole head of cauliflower since that's what I tend to buy. But the recipe is easily scaled for a smaller head. In addition, I once used half the cauliflower with the same amount of everything else, also very good, just not the mild "rice equivalent" that works so well in my kitchen.

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A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2018

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Got notified of you posting this recipe this morning, checked out the recipe on my lunch break at work, and just made some with dinner, and it's instantly one of my all-time favorite recipes...ever! Seriously! Thank you Alanna!

  2. Kenny ~ You sure do know how to make a blogger’s day ... week ... month? :-) Thanks for letting me know, because every single recipe, I hope I hit that sweet spot for some subset of readers, almost as if I could “read their minds”.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna