This Whole30 Mexican cauliflower rice recipe will win over vegetable phobics and kids alike. A healthy cauliflower rice recipe, dressed up with tons of Mexican flavor. This restaurant favorite dish is remade into a nutrient packed side dish.
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Low Carb Cauliflower Mexican Rice – A Restaurant Favorite Remade!
Mexican rice is always something I push off to the side of my plate when I’m out at a Mexican restaurant, but not because it isn’t delicious. Typically it’s greasy, heavy, and a ton of calories I just don’t want in my body. I’d prefer to eat the chips. Yum, chips and salsa.
I love the versatility of cauliflower and I’ve learned it can transform into just about anything! I first came across a recipe for a cauliflower pizza crust a few years ago, and was instantly hooked. I even made it wrong for the first two years (I didn’t wring the water out after steaming the cauli, so my crusts were always too wet and fell apart), and still loved them.
I started making cauliflower “rice” to make ginger fried rice. I’ve been making mashed “potatoes” out of cauliflower for years. And now, cauliflower Mexi rice. Maybe the best use of cauliflower yet. Maybe I’ll work on a cauliflower ice cream recipe (okay, maybe not. Maybe it can’t be made into everything.)
If you’re looking for a fun Whole30 side dish, this is for you, especially at the stage where you’ve eaten all the lettuce you can handle.
Whole30 Mexican Rice Serving Suggestions
- Make a healthy and light burrito bowl by topping this rice with your favorite grilled meat, salsa, and avocado.
- Scramble with eggs and top with avocado.
- If you’re not on the Whole30, and are making this just because you love caulflower rice (or are curious to try it!), it makes awesome bean, rice and cheese quesadillas or burritos! I definitely prefer it to the actual rice versions that are way too carb heavy.
How to Make Paleo Rice
Ricing cauliflower is very easy. See this tutorial on how to make cauliflower rice.
This recipe is possibly easier than preparing cauliflower the traditional way. Simply break up the head of cauliflower into smaller pieces (I do this with my hand- just rip it apart!), then put half a head of cauliflower at a time into a food processor. Process for 10 or 12 seconds, and like magic, your cauliflower has become rice. Except way better than rice, because it’s a more nutritionally dense food.
I calculated the nutrition facts of this recipe out of curiosity. There is a lot of conflicting information on how many calories are in the Mexi rice at a Mexican restaurant, so I’m comparing it to just plain white rice. Keep in mind that the calorie and fat counts of the plain white rice will jump up quite a bit when cooked in oil like it typically is.
Whole30 Mexican Rice
- 1 head cauliflower medium sized
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 carrot chopped
- 1 cup peas (use snap peas or omit for Whole30 compliant)
- 3 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/2-1 teaspoon chili powder depending on the intensity
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 limes
- cilantro chopped, to garnish
- Break apart cauliflower, and “rice” half of it at a time in a food processor. Alternately, you could finely chop it with a knife, but that would take a long time.
- Add olive oil to a large wok or frying pan, and saute the onions and garlic until they are soft over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, corn, and peas, and continue to saute until the carrots are soft.
- Add the spices and soy sauce to the vegetable mixture.
- Add the riced cauliflower to the wok with the vegetable mixture, and add the tomato paste, stirring to lightly cover all of the “rice” mixture.
- Continue to cook over medium-high heat for 8-12 minutes, until cauliflower is softened.
- Garnish with fresh squeezes of lime juice and cilantro.
Other Whole30 Side Dish Recipes:
- Herb and Garlic Butter Smashed Sweet Potatoes, by The Endless Meal
- Roasted Cauliflower Soup, by Blissfully Low Carb
- Vegan Creamy Tomato Basil Soup, by Sunkissed Kitchen
- Grilled Romaine Salad, by Sunkissed Kitchen
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Levan @ MyWifeMakes.com says
I used to ‘rice’ cauliflower all the time when I was making my lunches in University. Great thing is how easy it is to season! This Mexican ‘rice’ recipe looks absolutely fantastic — Mexican flavored rice is probably my second favorite seasoning right behind Turkish. Absolutely great! Thanks for sharing this! 🙂
Ooh, I love the idea of creating a Turkish rice with cauliflower. That would be fantastic. I often just cook the cauliflower with a bit of vegetable broth– it’s such a great low carb substitute 🙂 Feels like the real thing. Thanks for your comment!
It was amazing! We loved it! Thanks a lot for this great recipe!
I am so glad you took the time to tell me! I love that recipe too. All the great flavors, without that carb overload feel 🙂 Save the carbs for the beans on the side! And tortillas! Man, I love Mexican food.
Michelle @ Healthy Recipe Ecstasy says
This Mexican “rice” looks fantastic Michelle! I also love the versatility of cauliflower. I tried to make cauli fried rice for the first time last week but I think I over-processed the cauliflower because it looked more like quinoa than rice! Still delish though. 🙂
It’s easy to over process– a friend of mine made the Mexi “Rice” for my baby shower, and she had definitely over processed it to a quinoa type size. It was still good– but certainly held more liquid than when I make it with bigger pieces. I hope you try! Let me know.
This recipe is a bit misleading – peas are not allowed on the Whole30 plan.
I actually didn’t know that Angela! I don’t eat them myself at all — I am allergic. I added them since they are usually included at Mexican restaurants! Thanks for the heads up.
Alicia Ward says
I made your Mexican Style Cauliflower last night and it was fantastic. It was a big hit with the family ages 23 to 70+. My 23 year old son walked in and said, ‘What smells good?’ Even my husband who doesn’t like veggies ate it! I used Trader Joe’s frozen organic cauliflower and it worked just fine. Thanks.
Thank you for telling me! I have never had frozen cauliflower rice but will definitely pick some up- how convenient!
Shelley Woodridge says
Cauliflower rice is even more delicious when you allow the bottom to brown a bit! Nice rich nutty flavor with a lot of depth!