When Michael and I were dating, we took a community education Spanish class together. Ah, the memories. We have even talked about going to Mexico for a language immersion program. And we named our daughter Vida, which is Spanish for “life” (boy does she live up to her name!). So, it is absolutely nuts that I haven’t posted a Mexican recipe yet. Like, really crazy. We eat some form of Mexican food at least weekly, whether it be tacos, nachos, burritos, taquitos, taco salad, etc. And, of course, guacamole. Guacamole is my spirit food. Anyway…
One of my favorite Mexican side dishes is Arroz Rojo, or red rice. The trouble is, once I start shoveling those fluffy kernels of tomato-scented rice into my face, it’s very difficult to stop until every last grain is in my belly. So for months now, I’ve been wanting to make Mexican cauliflower rice, because I had an inkling that it would be a) easy, and b) tasty. I’m proud to report that I was right on both counts. So here you have, Mexican Cauliflower Rice, or in Spanish, Coliflor Arroz Rojo. Let’s do this!
Mexican Cauliflower Rice can be on your table in 15 minutes, start to finish! The same cannot be said of the traditional rice version, so we win on the carb front and the time front. First, gather your ingredients. You’ll need:
1 large head of cauliflower (I love that Trader Joe’s sells them by the head for only $2/each!)
Jalapeño or serrano chile, or a can of diced green chiles
Olive oil (optional)
Salt (I used invisible salt in the photo above)
In case you missed it, we already covered how to make cauliflower rice, and my favorite way to prep the cauliflower is the shredding attachment on my food processor. It makes the prep work take just a couple of minutes! Wash, core, and cut a head of cauliflower into large pieces, then shred in the food processor along with the onion and garlic. Good to go!
Next, preheat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat and then add the olive oil (if using), tomato paste, and chile pepper (also optional, but great for a little heat and flavor). Cook for a minute or so, stirring often, just to get the tomato paste broken up a bit and distributed into the oil.
Now all you need to do is crank the heat up to high, add the cauliflower, onion, and garlic, and cook for about 6-8 minutes, or until the moisture has cooked out and the “rice” is nice and loose and fluffy (read: not wet).
Serve hot alongside your favorite Mexican main dish or stuffed into a burrito! It’s super tasty and you won’t get that “rice regret” feeling after eating a huge bowl. Not that I would know anything about that.
Oh, and I made this on AM Northwest! Even though your faith in me will be tested when you watch this, I can assure you that I do in fact know how to operate a food processor.
Mexican Cauliflower Rice (Coliflor Arroz Rojo)
- 1 large head cauliflower (shredded or finely ground)
- 1/2 white onion (shredded or diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (shredded or minced)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 jalapeño or serrano chile (halved (optional), or sub 1 small can of diced green chiles)
- 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- Shred cauliflower, onion, and garlic using the shredding disc on a food processor. Alternatively, pulse in a food processor using the S-blade until finely ground into pieces slightly larger than cooked rice.
- Heat a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat and stir in the tomato paste, chile halves, and salt, and cook for a minute to flavor the oil.
- Increase the heat to high, and add the cauliflower, onion, and garlic.
- Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring often, until the moisture is evaporated and the cauliflower is light and fluffy.
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Hannah Elizabeth says
Guac is one of the food loves of my life, Beth! You and I must be twins!! Or at the very least, cousins (ohmygosh, did I just disown Michael?! ?). ? I’m not really a big fan of rice, though (so maybe that’s why we’re just cousins, not twins, lol!), so this Mexican caulirice is just up my street. Especially in the burrito/burrito bowls where rice is so popular, and I’m like, “meh…”, but caulirice is a different animal all together. Mexican night, here I come! ?
Melissa @ Bless this Mess says
This. Looks. AWESOME!!!! I can’t wait to try it!
Megan @ MegUnprocessed.com says
I love cauliflower rice! I have a Mexican version too, but different seasonings. I will have to try this one!
What’s your version?
Lauren Gaskill | Making Life Sweet says
Mine didn’t look as pretty, and I added yellow bell pepper, but it tasted AMAZING! Well done Beth! Thanks for sharing. Pinned and shared. <3
What a great recipe idea – love all the flavors! Definitely our kind of meal ….
Serena (Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch) says
What a wonderful dish! Great idea!
Wanda Lopez says
Never had cauliflower rice before. I have some friends trying a low carb diet (lifestyle) that will love this recipe. Thanks!
nicole @ I am a Honey Bee says
i am so making this!!
How many carbs each serving?
Hi Brenda! If you are using a large cauliflower and get about 6 cups total after cooking, it should be about 10g of carbs per serving (1 cup). Hope that helps!
The first time you posted about cauliflower rice I thought, “Okay, Beth, that just sounds weird.” But then you turned it red and said I could stuff it in a burrito, so I tried it. Yummy! Thank you!
Oh I’m so glad you liked it, Cassie! Thanks for trying the recipes and telling me how they went for you! 🙂 🙂
Brittany | Words Like Honeycomb says
OH MY <3 very in love with this as I have the same shovel-in-my-mouth issues with Mexican rice…or anything Mexican in general and this looks like the answer to all my Mexican food dreams…can't wait to try it, amiga!! 😀
Hi Beth! Do you think I could use tomato sauce instead of tomato paste?
Hi Tiffany! Sorry for the delayed response, I’m in Maui on vacation and haven’t had as much time as I thought I would to check in on the blog. Yes, I think you could use tomato sauce instead, the flavor just might not be quite a potent. Another option would be to shred up a few sun-dried tomatoes in with the cauliflower. 🙂
Wouldn’t it make it too soggy?
Hi Suzie! It should evaporate along with the moisture in the cauliflower as it cooks, but I also realized that most tomato sauce has added spices/sugar, so it might not be the best choice in the end. 🙂
Definitely gonna make this! Instead of buying a head of cauliflower buy Trader Joe’s already riced cauliflower in the frozen section. No extra dishes to wash!
Do you have an online source for the invisible salt? I didn’t see any at my local spice shop.
This turned out so well. Thank you!
Yay! I’m so glad! Sorry for the delayed response but I wanted to be sure and let you know I appreciated your feedback. 🙂
mary jane says
this was freakin amazing. i didnt have any white onions so i subbed a shallot and some carmelized onions. Never tried coli rice before but i am hooked. all tomato paste is the best idea.
Ok, first of all, you have the coolest e-mail address I’ve ever seen. Secondly, I’m so excited that you loved this so much. Great sub with the shallot and caramelized onions – YUM. 🙂
Life happiness… how i felt about this recipe. I am seriously in LOVE. It was so easy to make. I used it to make burrito bowls, and this recipe made them phenomenal. I made a homemade guac and a mexican shredded chicken with sautéed onion and bell peppers. I’m glad I found another cauliflower recipe!!! I used to eat rice way too much and love the substitution! By any chance, do you put nutrition on your recipes. I can figure it out, just wasn’t sure if I missed it! Thank you so, so much!
WOW! I like this better than “rice” rice! Mexican food has always held me back from staying low-carb, but not anymore! I added some cilantro and lime juice in just before it was done, and it was perfect!
Love that additions of lime and cilantro, Jerrod! So excited that you have a new low-carb alternative for your Mexican food cravings. 🙂
FYI, Trader Joe’s also sells bags of already riced cauliflower- around $2 or less. I’m the lazy type! 😉
I hear that, RD! My daughter and I did a little video demonstration where we compared the cost of the already riced cauliflower to making it fresh. Laziness definitely costs more, unsurprisingly, but time is money too! Luckily both options exist. 🙂
Isn’t that great! I used that too! I have a food processor, but when you’re working it’s easier at the end of the day. The convenience makes it more likely that I’ll make this healthy dish.
I made this last weekend. My husband and I really enjoyed it! So much that I’m making it again this weekend. It seems to be even better on the next day. We ate it as a blue corn tortilla chip dip with plain Greek yogurt! So good and the Greek yogurt provides a good source of protein. Thank you for sharing such a great, healthy dish.
Hi Kathleen! So sorry for the delayed response, I took a bit of a break this summer and am playing catch-up now. I’m so glad you loved this dish! 🙂
Thanks so much for the wonderful recipe! My hubby and I have just recently ventured out into low carb land. I tried cauliflower mashed potatoes last week and we were so surprised!
My pleasure Rita! My response is so delayed, sorry about that. Isn’t cauliflower amazing? I love using it in all sorts of ways. 🙂
I’ve made regular spanish rice and perfected it over the years.. but when the doc said I had to switch to a low to no carb ketosis diet.. .that was out the window and I had to start learning how to cook differently. I was so frustrated as I have tried and tried… and everytime.. my “spanish cauliflower rice” would turn out horribe.. you know.. doing the low to no carb thing is difficult when you’re asian and like rice haha..
However! I tried one more time with your recipe.. THIS IS THE BOMB!!! I will be making it again and again and again and again.. haha
Mahalo for all your hard work to figure this out!
Hi Francine! Thank you so much for letting me know how much you liked this! Makes me jump and down with happiness, I have to tell you. Please let me know if there are any other low carb recipes you’re struggling with! I’d love to help figure out a good version for you if I can. 🙂
Jenny A. says
Looks amazing! Can’t wait to make it. Do you know how many cups of cauliflower rice you need to make this? I’d prefer to buy the rice already done. Thanks!
Can I use Jalapeño Chile instead of Serrano Chile? Just happens to be what I just bought.
Of course! I do that all the time. 🙂
Not sure if I did something wrong (I did follow the recipe – with jalapeño) but it tasted absolutely awful. Now, I love Mexican rice from Plaza Azteca and I thought this would be a dupe for it. NOPE NOPE NOPE. It did not taste good whatsoever.
Could you use the pre-done cauliflower rice or pearls that you find in a store? I don’t have a food processor and wasn’t sure if it would be a big difference.
Hey Lauren! I think you could, but often times the pieces are pretty big, and it definitely costs more than making it yourself. As an alternative to the food processor, you can shred the cauliflower on the largest side of a box grater, but do it over a big towel or a bowl, as it can get messy. I don’t know for sure the difference, but now you have me wanting to try it out. 🙂
This was so good! I used frozen cauliflower and added cooked chicken and that was good too! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I never would have thought of putting the tomatoe paste in with the oil. So good!
Will it still taste good if I don’t use oil.
I am wondering if it would just become mush.
I am trying to not use Oil whenever possible and keep it a whole plant based diet ????
I personally use organic chicken broth & LOVE it!
Keeps it very low calorie.
So thankful for this recipe, as I eat cauliflower rice a lot!
This recipe knocks every other one for cauliflower Mexican rice out of the park! The flavor and heat will amaze you! Better than rice! Like Francine above said: THIS IS THE BOMB! Thank you Beth!!.
What is best timeline for storage and reheat?
Samantha Philbrick says
This recipe is amazing! Love the flavor that came from the oil from the tomato paste and spices. We used these in a low carb tortilla for keto burrito night – fabulous. Thank you for sharing!
I have avoided cauliflower rice for nearly a year. After trying it a few times, it really turned me off. fast forward to this week, I made this with frozen cauliflower rice hoping I would like it better than the bast. I loved it! The mild spicing. The crisp crew. Yum! I may like it better than the original version…. I used it as the base of a Tex-Mex rice bowl. Perfect!