Mexican Cauliflower Rice has all the traditional flavors of authentic Mexican rice. It's slimmed down on calories by using cauliflower rice with the same flavors as traditional Mexican rice! No compromising on flavor in this perfect low carb recipe.
This delicious recipe is a version of an authentic Mexican rice recipe given to me from a friend in Mexico. We've made it skinny while keeping all the well loved flavors. No more having to go to a Mexican restaurant for this favorite Mexican dish.
The only difference in this recipe is use of cauli rice instead of white rice. It uses simple ingredients with Mexican flavors. It's a great recipe for a simple side dish or ingredient in other Mexican recipes.
Difference between Mexican Rice and Spanish Rice
You may have heard this dish called Spanish Rice too. It's a Mexican recipe but the Spaniards brought rice to Mexico hence the name.
The rice dish is not spicy. It has lots of flavor with a strong tomato flavor base.
What makes this skinny?
The use of cauliflower rice instead of regular rice. You'll use whole head of cauliflower. This is a grain free recipe.
Recipe Ingredients Notes
Cauliflower. Though frozen cauliflower rice can be used making it fresh gives a better result. It's easy and less expensive too! There are a couple methods which we share below. Select a large fresh head of cauliflower without blemishes. One large head of cauliflower will make aproximately 4 cups of raw riced cauliflower.
Tomato paste. This gives the classic tomato flavor to the rice. We use tubes of tomato paste which can be stored in the refrigerator for multiple uses.
Tomato bouillon. You may not be familiar with this ingredients. It's available in both granules (recommended) or cubes. It's a staple ingredient in Mexican rice and is most often found with the Mexican food ingredients at the grocery store or online. Knorr Swissa brand is popular. It's actually called 'tomato bouillon with chicken flavor'.
If using cubes you'll need to break them into granules before starting the recipe.
Carrots and Peas. These are optional but commonly included in authentic Mexican rice recipes. We use a timesaving carrot and pea frozen mix. There is no prep time cutting up the carrots and reduced cooking time.
Cilantro. Freshly torn cilantro is used to garnish the finished rice.
How to make riced cauliflower
There are two main methods for making homemade cauliflower rice. Both work well.
Preparation for both methods:
- Rinse a large cauliflower head and pat dry with paper towels.
- Discard any green leaves.
Use a box grater (our preferred method)
Cut the head into quarters. Grate using the medium holes in the box grater to get small pieces the size of rice.
Use a food processor or chopper
Cut the cauliflower head into pieces the size of a quarter (refer to images below). Place the pieces in a food processor and pulse for 20 seconds and check to see if all the pieces are about rice size. Pulse longer if needed.
How to make Mexican Cauliflower Rice - Step-by-Step
Detailed printable recipe at the bottom of this post.
STEP 1. Heat carrots and peas
In a small saucepan, heat chicken broth to simmering. Stir in the frozen carrots and peas, cover and remove from heat. Allow to sit while making the next portion of the recipe.
STEP 2. Sauté
In a large skillet (with lid) heat the olive oil (or vegetable oil )over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute one additional minute.
STEP 3. Make the cauliflower rice
Drain the peas and carrots discarding the broth.
Stir in the tomato paste and tomato bouillon, then add the cauliflower, carrots and peas and stir until combined.
Cover the skillet with the lid. Cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The cauliflower will release its moisture and then it will need to cook till it's “fluffy” and drier.
STEP 4. Season and serve
Season with salt to taste and sprinkle with cilantro before serving.
Variation and Substitutions
Swap: chicken bouillon. If you cannot find tomato bouillon use chicken bouillon instead (granules). It has a similar spice mixture and the tomato paste provides most of the tomato flavor in the rice.
Want it spicy? Add some sliced jalapeno pepper, red pepper flakes or green chilis
Add some protein. To make it a full meal you can stir in browned ground beef or ground turkey after the rice is cooked.
Cauliflower contains a lot of natural liquid so it's not necessary to add much liquid when cooking it like with regular rice. The cooking process will release the liquid then it needs time to evaporate for the best end result. This total time takes about 10 minutes.
How to Use
Low carb Mexican cauliflower rice is a tasty side dish or ingredient in other recipes. Here are some ideas:
- burrito bowls
- for taco night and Taco Tuesdays - add it right into tacos
- fajita salad
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes though frozen cauliflower rice can be soggier and the flavor is often not as good as fresh cauliflower rice. We highly suggest making it yourself for the best results.
How to Store
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
The rice can also be frozen. Allow to cool and place in a freezer safe container or bag for up to 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat.