If I could get away with eating nothing but pasta, rice and tortilla chips with salsa I would be a happy girl. That possibility unfortunately went away after my twenties. So, in the interest of low carb, low calorie eating, I bring you pretty much guilt-free Mexican Cauliflower Rice.
This side dish has all the spices and vegetables you find in Mexican or Spanish rice, except fresh cauliflower replaces the rice.
This is a much more involved recipe than I usually make but it stays good in the fridge for several days, so make a big batch. It is 20 times better the next day. Make it ahead for a big crowd or use it for a portable lunch. Just add some black beans for protein. It’s even good at room temperature.
Let’s get started. Cut everything but the cauliflower into pretty small pieces and set aside.
Remove the leaves and core of the cauliflower and cut it into florets. Working in small batches, using the large size bowl of your food processor, PULSE the florets into rice size chunks. I did mine in 3 batches.
Florets to “rice”.
Heat up a nice big sauté pan on medium heat. Add some butter and olive oil. Get it bubbling a bit and then add the onions. Don’t forget to add a little salt to the onions. It helps them release moisture. Once they are translucent add the peppers and after a few minutes the garlic.
Cook until you get a little caramelization. Add diced tomatoes, salt and spices. Stir it around a bit and get up those magic brown bits. Add in cauliflower, stir to combine. Now add some chicken or vegetable broth. Cover and let it simmer 30 minutes or so. Check it a couple to times and add a little more broth if needed. You want it moist but not soupy. Cook until cauliflower is al dente.
Cool and refrigerate to let the flavors really permeate through the whole dish.
Here is a printable recipe. My vegetable measurements are merely a guideline.
Flo's Mexican Cauliflower Rice
- 1 head of fresh cauliflower
- 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp butter
- 1 small onion
- 1/2 red bell pepper or an assortment of 4 or 5 baby bell peppers
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp dried cilantro
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth plus more as needed.
For the cauliflower: Remove leaves and core. Cut into florets. Using the large bowl of a food processor and working in small batches, pulse florets into “rice” size pieces. Set aside.
For the remaining ingredients: Cut onion, peppers and tomatoes into medium size dice. Dice garlic very small or use a garlic press.
In a large skillet (12 inches), over medium heat, bring oil and butter to just bubbling. Add onions and a little salt and cook until the onions are translucent. Add peppers and cook for another minute or 2 and then add garlic. Stir and cook until the garlic is fragrant. Add the tomatoes, remaining salt and spices. Stir to deglaze the pan and cook until tomatoes begin to break down. Add cauliflower and stir to combine. Add one cup of broth and cover. Bring everything to a low simmer. Cook 30 minutes or so adding a little broth if needed to keep anything from sticking to the bottom of the pan. You want the mixture moist but not soupy. Cook until the cauliflower is al dente, not completely soft.
For the best taste, cool and refrigerate. Serve the next day warmed through or at room temperature.