We’re starting this week with a Meat Free dish that you can meal prep and serve for the entire week. This Mexican Cauliflower Rice is loaded with tons flavor and slight kick of heat. It’s gluten free, it is low carb, and it most of all, budget friendly. Perfect to get back on track in eating healthy meals without breaking your budget.
Last week, I had a discussion on How to Make Cauliflower Rice, if you miss that post you can still catch up and read the post HERE. Today we are going to put into work what we’ve learned from our Cauliflower session. We are going to make Mexican Cauliflower “Rice”. Let’s talk about what you will need.
What is Cauliflower Rice?
Cauliflower Rice is a finely chopped Cauliflower head used as rice substitute. A good low carb substitute for rice. It is chopped finely and it almost resemble like rice, and hence the name Cauliflower Rice. It can be served plain or with meat, seafood or more veggie and cook like fried “rice”.
How to Use Cauliflower “Rice”
- Cook it plain, just with very little oil, salt and pepper and serve it with your favorite fish, vegetable, seafood or meat.
- Cook like a fried “rice”. Stir-fry, add some vegetables, beaten egg just like you would cook a fried rice, only you do not cook it too long to avoid getting mushy.
- Mix it with salad. The likes of tabbouleh, quinoa salad, chickpea salad, mix grilled or roasted vegetable salad
- Use it as a filling for Burrito, quesadilla, or sandwich wrap
- Use it to make vegetarian casserole
- Add it in soups and stews
What are the Ingredients for Mexican Cauliflower Rice?
- Olive Oil – can be substituted with any flavorless oil
- Cauliflower Head – remove the hard inner core and the leaves
- Salt & Black Pepper – for taste
- Garlic – If you want to keep it plain, you can skip this, but it adds flavor to the “rice”
- Italian Seasoning – You can use other dried or fresh herbs like Oregano, Basil, Thyme etc.
- Onion – If you want to keep it plain, you can skip this, but it adds flavor to the “rice”
- Cherry Tomato – You can use Roma Tomato or other big tomato just have it chop into smaller pieces
- Bell Peppers – Any color will work, I personally like using different colors for a more vibrant color.
- Jalapeno Peppers – Because Mexican dish is not Mexican if it is not hot, but feel free to cut down on the spicy peppers.
- Corn Kernel – What is Mexican dish without the Corn. If you do not have it, you can add Black beans instead for a heartier “rice”.
- Celery Stick
- Chili Flakes – This is just for additional heat, but if you do not like it spicy, you can skip it, or add more if you like it extra hot
- Lemon Juice – Although you will only use a small amount, that small amount makes a huge difference in taste, so do not skip it.
How to Make Cauliflower Rice
It all start with Cauliflower. Wash, cut and chop the Cauliflower. Food processor is the easiest way to do this. Since most people do not have one, it can also be done using a box cheese grater, use the second to the finest grater for a slight texture.
To keep it basic and flexible for later use, keep it simple. Simply toast the Cauliflower in a lightly grease and heated pan, then season with salt and pepper. Do NOT overcook or you will end up with a mushy texture. If you plan to use it to make other variations, like adding more veggie, seafood or protein then cook it only 1-2 minutes, almost like half cook. This way when you reheat it, it will not get mushy. I prefer using a non-stick pan and a cooking spray. This way, the Cauliflower will not stick to the pan, and using less oil will just toast the Cauliflower without making it mushy.
What If I Do Not Have Food Processor?
You can still make it even without the food processor.
- Buy the Packaged Cauliflower Rice: With this option, you skip the process of making it at home, at least the part where you have to wash, trim and process the Cauliflower. The store-bought Cauliflower Rice has already been processed an ready to use for cooking. Of course, there is no seasoning added with it, so you still have to cook it. But that already kills 50% of the preparation time. The downside of this, it cost more than buying a raw whole Cauliflower but it saves you some time doing the work. It is a give and take.
- Use a Fine Box Grater: This you have to do the grating manually, but it it totally doable. The pros, it is cheaper when you do it yourself. The downside, it will test your patience, but I it is doable so just keep on grating.
Tips in Making Cauliflower Rice
- Do not overcook to avoid getting mushy. Stop while it is still slightly hard, this way you have an allowance when you re-heat it. If you are serving it immediately, then cook it to the texture that you want it or serving.
- Do not cover while cooking as it could create steam. Steam can cause the Cauliflower to get soggy
- Use hot pan and less oil as possible. You want it to be toasted and not mushed. This gives a nicer texture almost like fried rice
- If adding veggie, seafood or meat, cook the cauliflower first and set aside. Then cook the mix of veggie or meat, season to taste. Add the Cauliflower and cook for about 1 minute but not too long. This is more like just mix of it together as both has already been pre-cooked. This avoids the Cauliflower getting mushy.
- Olive Oil Spray
- 1 Medium Cauliflower (about 4 cups when riced)
- 2 cloves Garlic – minced
- 1/3 cup Onion – finely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon White Pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning (or other dried hebs like basil, Oregano, Thyme etc.)
- 1/3 cup Multi Color Bell Peppers
- 1 small Jalapeno Pepper – sliced or chopped
- 1/4 cup Corn Kernel
- 1 stick Celery – sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
- 1/2 small Lemon Juice (about 2 tablespoon)
- Prepare the Cauliflower: Wash the Cauliflower and cut into half. remove the leaves and the inner core, this is the hard part in the middle.
- Food Processor: If using a food processor, cut the Cauliflower into chunks that will fit into the food processor. Process until fine in texture. I like to start by pulsing it little by little so that I can see the texture, this also avoid the Cauliflower getting processed to super fine texture.
- Box Cheese Grater: If using a box cheese grater, cut the Cauliflower into half and remove the leaves and core. Carefully grate, watch your fingers to make sure you do not hurt yourself from grating. Use the second to the smallest grater for a better texture. I find that the fine grater is too fine is can easily make the Cauliflower mushy when cooked.
- Cook the Cauliflower: In a heated pan, add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic, celery, bell peppers, jalapeno pepper, corn, red chili flakes, Italian seasoning, salt, white pepper and tomato. Cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add the cauliflower and for another 1-2 minutes. Do not over cook to avoid getting mushy. Squeeze some lemon juice, taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
Serves 3 – 4
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