Mexican Cauliflower Rice

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This low carb Mexican Cauliflower Rice is the perfect 15 minute light and healthy side dish! It's full of flavor and pairs great with tacos, burritos, burrito bowls, and more.

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This Mexican cauliflower rice recipe tastes just like your favorite red rice from a Mexican restaurant. It lights up your taste buds and it's made with veggies! It's a win-win.

Wowsa… Y’all really love the cauliflower rice. After the recent cauliflower fried rice recipe, lots of requests came in for other ways to mix up this healthy side dish.

Craving Mexican rice a couple of nights ago but not wanting to tack on too many more calories to my meal, I ended up whipping up this simple version of traditional Mexican rice using riced cauliflower. We used it in these Cauliflower Rice Taco Bowls and it was so good!

I left out the peas since they are pretty carbohydrate-heavy for folks on a low-carb diet, but you could easily work them back in.

Also, one tip for if you find yourself eating cauliflower rice a lot... make up a big batch and freeze it! It can be slightly annoying to make, so tackle a big batch in one sitting and then freeze individual or family-size portions for a quick side dish.

Low carb Mexican cauliflower with spice, onion, garlic, and tomato on a wooden plate with lime and cilantro.

Key Ingredients For Mexican Cauliflower Rice

If you recently made tacos, chili, or burritos, then you probably have most of these ingredients in your refrigerator. If not, they are really easy to find. I used familiar and fresh ingredients in this Mexican cauliflower rice.

  • Cauliflower: It takes an entire head of cauliflower, and that makes enough for 4-6 servings. If you don't need this much rice, you can grab some pre-chopped cauliflower florets and use that instead. You can also make this with frozen cauliflower rice or shelf stable cauliflower rice. It's a great shortcut. 
  • Olive Oil: You need a healthy type of oil for sauteing cauliflower and garlic. Use either olive oil, ghee, or avocado oil.
  • Garlic Cloves: Whole garlic cloves have a much bigger flavor than garlic powder. Use garlic cloves in this recipe if you can but garlic powder also works if needed.
  • Onion: Use either white or yellow onion. You can also swap in onion powder in a pinch or some sliced green onions.
  • Jalapeno Pepper: Remove the seeds and dice them up really small. For even more heat, you can use serrano peppers!
  • Broth: Use either low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth to cook the cauliflower rice. This adds flavor to the rice. Chicken bouillon can work if you don't have broth.
  • Tomato Paste: You don't need very much, so it won't increase the calories too much. This adds that rich tomato flavor and color that is common in Mexican rice. 
  • Spices: The combination of cumin, paprika, and oregano is amazing! For a little more heat, you can sprinkle in some red pepper flakes or chili powder. You can also use taco seasoning for this recipe, just know it will have a stronger flavor.
  • Lime Juice: Squeezing fresh juice from a lime tastes slightly sweeter than jarred lime juice. In a pinch, fresh-squeeze lemon juice can also work as a substitute.
  • Cilantro: I used cilantro as a garnish. If you really love cilantro, use more! If you don't like cilantro, you can use parsley instead or just leave it out entirely.

Note: For a full list of ingredients and detailed instructions on how to make this Mexican cauliflower rice, take a look at the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post!

What To Serve With Keto Mexican Rice

This Mexican cauliflower rice has a bold flavor, so serve it on the side with other Tex-Mex or Mexican recipes that you make. It's perfect on Taco Tuesday.

These steak tacos have a lot of the same flavors, so serve them with this rice. It also tastes divine with this slow cooker beef machaca. Need another side dish idea with it? Serve some chips and homemade pico de gallo. Yum!

Recipe Tips And Ideas For Mexican Cauliflower Rice

Follow these tips to make sure that this Mexican rice turns out with tons of flavor every single time!

  • Trust me - a food processor will be your best friend! It contains the mess and chops the cauliflower up in a matter of seconds!
  • No food processor? No problem! Use a box grater instead.
  • Be very careful and don't overcook the cauliflower rice. It's way too easy to do! Just heat it in the spicy sauce until it is still crisp-tender.

Spanish cauliflower rice with tomato, jalapeno, and spices cooked in a bowl with salsa and limes on the side.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions I frequently get asked about by some readers...

Is this rice dish spicy?

The jalapenos give the rice a little bit of a kick. If you want to make it milder, just leave the jalapenos out. On the other hand, if you prefer really spicy foods, you might want to use more jalapenos. I tried to make it middle-of-the-road with heat.

Can I freeze Mexican cauliflower rice?

Yes, you can freeze it. In fact, freezing it is a budget-friendly way to make a huge batch and save it for later. It reduces food waste and saves you money at the same time.

Here's how to freeze Mexican cauliflower rice:

  • Follow the direction and make it.
  • Then, let it cool completely.
  • When it cools down, place it in a plastic resealable freezer-safe food storage bag.
  • Lay the bag flat on a baking sheet and put the baking sheet in the freezer.
  • After the bag is completely frozen, you can take it off of the baking sheet.

Using a baking sheet to "flash freeze" the Mexican cauliflower rice first prevents it from freezing around other items in your freezer.

How do I store leftover Mexican-style cauliflower rice?

The best way to store leftover Mexican cauliflower rice is in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for up to 5 days. After five days, the texture of the rice will soak up the moisture from the other ingredients and begin to taste a lot softer.

Can I use frozen riced cauliflower?

This is definitely a tempting option! Yes, you can use frozen cauliflower rice. My only word of warning is that when you heat up the frozen cauliflower rice, it will have a softer texture than if you made it homemade.

Homemade Mexican cauliflower rice served in a bowl with cilantro, sliced limes, and salsa.

The Recipe
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Mexican Cauliflower Rice

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  • 1 cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2/3 cup low sodium chicken broth (vegetable broth)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime

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Make the cauliflower rice: Remove the stem and outer green leaves. For a food processor, roughly chop the cauliflower into smaller pieces. Pulse the cauliflower florets using the grater attachment for the best results. If not, you can process it in the normal way. Add the cauliflower florets to the food processor and pulse into small rice-like pieces, working in batches if necessary. Box grater: Cut into four quarters. Carefully grate the cauliflower quarters against the medium-sized holes of the box grater. Repeat until the whole cauliflower is in small rice-like pieces.

Cauliflower florets in a food processor.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5-7 minutes until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and jalapeno. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

Onions, jalapenos, and garlic in a skillet.

Stir in the broth, tomato paste, cumin, paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir until the tomato paste is fully dissolved.

Oregano being added to a skillet with onions, jalapenos, garlic, and tomato paste.

Stir in the cauliflower rice. Stir to combine and then cover with a lid. Let cook for 5-7 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.

Cauliflower rice with Mexican flavors cooking in a skillet.

Season with salt and pepper. Serve with fresh lime juice and cilantro.

Mexican cauliflower rice in a white bowl with lime and cilantro.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 cup (220g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 102
Calories from Fat 38
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 124mg
Total Carbohydrate 15g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 6g
Protein 4g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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March 8, 2023 - 11:44
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