Use this Cauliflower Rice Mexican Style to elevate your in house fiestas! Perfect on it’s own or an asset to any homemade Mexican meal. Tacos, fajitas, quesadillas…say no more!
Looking for a Low Carb (Keto friendly) side dish that the whole family will love? Then this Mexican Cauliflower Rice has got you covered! It’s easy and quick to make, packed and loaded with veggies and is the perfect array of flavours to spice up those at home taco nights or any Mexican dinner. This simple recipe is on the table in 25 minutes… however, could be even less if you use already riced cauliflower! It’s perfect for busy weeknights and a healthy dish you will always feel great about eating!
If you haven’t already taken a guess, I self declare it Mexican week on the blog! We started with this quick and easy guac recipe, then I threw in a recipe for homemade fajitas seasoning along with a killer recipe for crockpot chicken fajitas, just haaaad to get a classic beef taco salad in there and now, we’re out here preaching about this Cauliflower Rice Mexican Edition. And I say PREACHING because it’s Low Carb, Keto Friendly, Gluten and Grain Free, naturally vegan and therefore, is extremely healthy. It’s basically just a huge bowl of veggies when you really think about it. And it always counts as a win when you can sneak in some extra veggies, now doesn’t it?
Think flavourful, restaurant style Mexican rice but, as with this Cauliflower Rice Cilantro Lime version, there’s no actual rice. You get the feel, texture and look of rice but, plot twist, you’re eating cauliflower instead!
OK, I’M IN. WHAT DO I NEED TO MAKE THIS CAULIFLOWER RICE MEXICAN EDITION?!
Well, that’s the fun part! You can really add whatever veggies you want to or have on hand. Or, make it more fiesta-like and add some black beans or corn. Here’s what I used in a little bit more detail:
- Riced Cauliflower: Well, duh. This ain’t no cauliflower rice without cauliflower rice. Lol. For time and convenience, you can opt to use pre-riced cauliflower. You can find this in either the fresh or frozen produce sections at the grocery store. Alternatively, you can always rice a cauliflower yourself. It’s easy! Just chop a head into florets and add them to a food processor. Pulse until you reach a desired consistency similar to that of rice.
- Bell Pepper: Adds flavour and crunch to the dish. I chose to go with a green one but you can switch it up and use red, yellow or orange, if you prefer.
- Tomatoes: Adds flavour and some acidity to the dish. They’re juicy so be careful not to add them too soon or you run the risk of making the entire dish mushy.
- Tomato Paste: Adds flavour, binds the ingredients together and adds that beautiful pop of colour to the final dish. If you don’t have any on hand or are seriously watching your carb intake/following a Keto diet, feel free to add some more chopped tomatoes instead.
- Jalapeño: Adds crunch and flavour. If you’re looking to add a bit of heat, keep some or all of the seeds in. For extra spicy, consider using a hotter pepper such as habanero instead.
- Onions: We use both white and green here as I love the combination and think they both have something different to offer in terms of flavour. The white onion is sautéed at the very beginning with the jalapeño and green pepper as we want it soft and for it to release flavouring into the dish as it cooks. I normally add the white parts of the green onion to this mixture as well. The green parts (tops) of the green onion are mainly for garnishing and only mixed into the rice after serving. They’re great for added flavour, an extra pop of colour, freshness and crunch.
- Cilantro: Cause can we really make anything Mexican without it? Adds flavour and freshness. We stir it into the rice after cooking.
- Lime Juice: Adds flavour, tang and acidity to the dish. Use fresh lime juice for best results. We stir it into the rice with the cilantro after it’s cooking. Be sure to stir really well in order to evenly distribute the flavour across the entire dish. Serve with extra lime wedges, if desired.
- Garlic: Adds flavour to the dish. I mean, who doesn’t love garlic? Be sure to finely mince the garlic as we don’t want big uneven chunks floating throughout. Fresh is best here. But, if you only have garlic powder on hand, use 1-2 tsp instead of the 2 cloves fresh.
- Spices: We use a mixture of paprika, cumin and chipotle powder here to really bring in those Mexican flavours. Together, they work beautifully and add that smoky, tex mex flavour that really kicks this dish up a notch and let’s it stay true to its Mexican name. Of course, we also add a bit of salt and pepper as virtually any dish is better with them. However, if you want to make the spice mix your own…go for it!
- Oil: Can be any high heat oil as we use it for frying/sautéeing the vegetables.
HOW TO MAKE MEXICAN CAULIFLOWER RICE (KEY TIPS)
- For time and convenience, feel free to use pre-riced cauliflower which you can find in the fresh or frozen produce sections of the grocery store. However, keep in mind that if you opt to use frozen like I did, you will need to cook off or drain the extra moisture and water it releases while cooking. Alternatively, you can defrost it and wring out the excess water before using.
- Chop the veggies (jalapeño, onions, green peppers) into similar size pieces. This will ensure even cooking in the same amount of time once you add them to the skillet.
- Since this recipe moves quickly, it’s best to have all your veggies chopped up and ready to go before heating up the skillet.
- Use a big enough skillet with plenty of room to evenly and properly cook all the veggies with frequent stirring in between.
- Stir the dish frequently after adding the spices and tomato paste to allow the flavours to evenly distribute throughout the rice.
- Careful not to add the tomatoes too soon as they are juicy and their released moisture might make the dish soggy.
- Keep a close eye on the cauliflower after you add it to the skillet. Since the cauliflower is broken down into such small pieces, it doesn’t take long at all too cook. Over cooking or leaving it on the heat too long could result in mushy or soggy rice.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Yes, you can definitely use frozen (like I did) or pre-packaged fresh cauliflower rice. Either are great time saving options. You will need about 4 cups or 1 pound of riced cauliflower which is the same as ricing up 1 medium head of cauliflower yourself. However, if you use frozen, be prepared that this will release extreme moisture and water into the dish. Therefore, you have to cook it down or drain it out before serving. You really have to pay close attention because the dish will be soggy if you let it cook too long in the water. PRO TIP: If you have the time (and you’re on your A game and remember, like I clearly did not), defrost the frozen cauliflower rice and wring out the excess moisture before using.
This recipe can surely be changed up a bit! It’s fun to add things like corn, black beans, salsa and sliced avocado. Sometimes, I opt for a spicier version and either leave the seeds in the chopped jalapeño or use habanero instead. You can enjoy this cauliflower rice mexican style on it’s own as a delicious side dish or as a filling meal by adding it to bowls, burritos or topping it with extra veggies and an egg.
Since the cauliflower is so small and we add chopped tomatoes, this dish is best eaten fresh immediately after cooking. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend making it in advance. It might become soggy or mushy otherwise.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container. However, remember this is a dish that is best eaten fresh. Any leftovers should be consumed within a day. Simply reheat in a skillet or a microwave before eating.
- 4 cups or 1 pound Riced Cauliflower*
- 1 medium White Onion, diced
- 1/2 cup Green Onions, sliced
- 1 Bell Pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 Tomato, diced
- 1 Jalapeño, seeded and diced*
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp Cilantro, chopped
- 1 tbsp Tomato Paste (omit if strictly Keto)
- 1 tbsp Lime Juice
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Paprika
- 1/4 tsp Chipotle Powder
- Pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp Oil, for frying/satuéeing
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the white onions, bell pepper, jalapeño and half (white parts) of the green onions. Sautée until soft, stirring occasionally, 5-6 minutes.
- Add the garlic and sautée until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
- Add the cumin, paprika, chipotle powder, salt, pepper and tomato paste. Give it a good stir and allow the flavours to mingle and coat the veggies for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the chopped tomatoes. Stir until well combined and cook an additional couple of minutes.
- Add the riced cauliflower. Stir until well incorporated and combined. Please note, if using frozen cauliflower, there will be a ton of water and moisture released especially if you don't defrost it first. That's ok, just keep a close eye as you don't want it to become soggy or mushy. The cooking time will vary depending on the kind of cauliflower you use. The cauliflower is ready when it's soft in texture but still has a firm give. Begin to taste and judge after 5 minutes of adding. Fresh riced cauliflower won't take as long as frozen and should be ready within 5-7 minutes. Frozen will be ready once all the cauliflower has been defrosted which could take 10-12 minutes.
- If your dish is watery like below, simply drain the excess water. Remove from heat. Add the lime juice and fresh chopped cilantro. Serve immediately with sliced jalapeños and extra lime wedges, if desired.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 99Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 629mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 4g
Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.
LOVE CAULIFLOWER? I DO, TOO! HERE ARE SOME OF MY FAVOURITE WAYS TO ENJOY IT: