Mexican Cauliflower Rice has all the great flavors of Mexican rice, but is made healthier using riced cauliflower. You’re just 15 minutes away from a healthy version of a great Mexican side dish.
I only recently learned that you can make cauliflower rice with a spiralizer, and I was like whaaaaaaat?
You’d better believe it. It’s how I riced the cauliflower for this recipe.
I’ve been making cauliflower rice for a while, perfectly happy to utilize my vintage 1999 Kitchen Aid food processor, fitted with a shredding blade. But using the spiralizer is just as easy. And unlike with a food processor, there’s no issue of bowl capacity, leaving you free to shred entire heads of cauliflower in a single bound.
And that’s ok, because riced cauliflower keeps super-well in the refrigerator. Just toss it into a pan, and you’re less than 10 minutes away from delicious cauliflower rice.
And I might be alone here, but I think rinsing the spiralizer is easier than cleaning the food processor. (Confession time: does anyone usually just rinse their spiralizer in hot water and call it good enough?)
Here is a somewhat mesmerizing video of spiralizer cauliflower in action. It features the same spiralizer we use and love: the OXO Good Grips spiralizer. I’ll admit, I watched this video more than twice when I first found it.
Are you ready to make some spiralized cauliflower rice? Here’s the setup.
How to Make Spiralized Cauliflower Rice
First, you’ll need a head of cauliflower that fits into your spiralizer. You should be able to secure the stem end on the spikes near the handle, and have the side of the head clear the bottom below. Basically, the head of cauliflower needs to spin freely. You could trim it up a little if it’s too big.
Rinse the cauliflower and pat dry. Remove the leaves from the bottom, leaving a flat stem in the center. (You’ll need this to secure it to the spiralizer.)
Set up your spiralizer with the spaghetti blade, and secure it to the countertop. Leave the crank assembly off for now.
Next, with your cauliflower stem side down, carefully insert a chopstick into the top center of the head, and press down firmly until it pierces all the way through the cauliflower. The more pointed the chopstick, the easier this is.
I used a metal chopstick because I love metal chopsticks, and they are the pointiest kind I own. They are actually travel chopsticks; they screw together in two parts, and fit in my purse. You never know when food will happen! I need to be prepared!
If you have extra takeout chopsticks floating around in your drawer, now you have a great use for them.
Insert the top of the chopstick through the round blade of your spiralizer.
Slide the head of cauliflower all the way over against the blade. Insert the crank assembly onto the spiralizer, and press the spikes into the stem end of the cauliflower.
Turn the crank, and prepare to be amazed by your mountain of fresh cauliflower rice!
Making Mexican Cauliflower Rice
I’ve been making Mexican rice for years using a standard method of cooking rice in a mixture of chicken broth, tomato sauce, onion, cumin, black pepper, and other seasonings. I knew I wanted to make Mexican Cauliflower Rice from the first time I made regular cauliflower rice. I
could eat have eaten a whole plate of Mexican rice… but that’s not very healthy. So I’m very excited about this alternative.
The problem with infusing flavors into cauliflower rice is that you really can’t use liquids. The secret to successful cauliflower rice is to keep it dry.
My secret weapon? Tomato powder. We picked some up at The Spice House in Chicago, thinking it looked interesting, but not really having a use for it. Well, I use it ALL. THE. TIME. It’s great in deviled eggs, or sprinkled on a sandwich. And I use it to create my own taco seasoning, and in this Mexican Cauliflower Rice. It gets hydrated just enough from the moisture in the cauliflower to lend a subtle tomato flavor, and that characteristic red color that you know from traditional Mexican rice.
The flavor from chicken broth comes from a quick addition of a little Better Than Bouillon chicken stock concentrate, which is added to the oil JUST before you add the rice. It melts and infuses into the rice. If you want to go vegetarian, of course, you could sub in their variety of vegetable bouillon.
Ready for Mexican Cauliflower Rice? You can eat a plate of it if you want to, it’s ok.
Mexican Cauliflower Rice
All the great flavors of Mexican rice, made healthier using riced cauliflower.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp Better Than Bouillon, Chicken Flavor
- 3 cups riced cauliflower
- 1 tbsp tomato powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 pinch granulated sugar
- salt and black pepper, to taste
How to Rice Cauliflower
Using 1/2 of a large head of cauliflower, break or cut it into florets, including the stems. Use one of the following options to create rice-sized pieces of cauliflower:
In a spiralizer: Wash head of cauliflower and pat dry. Remove leaves, leaving stem intact. Insert a chopstick straight down into the top of the head, all the way to the stem. Insert chopstick in round blade of spiralizer, set up with spaghetti blade. Rotate cauliflower to shred it into riced pieces.
In the food processor, shredded: Set up your food processor with a shredding blade. Shred the cauliflower.
In the food processor, pulsed: Place florets in the food processor. Pulse until they resemble rice grains. Do not over-process.
Make the Mexican Cauliflower Rice
Mix tomato powder, onion powder, cumin, and sugar together in a small bowl. Set aside near the stove.
Heat a large skillet (one that has a tight-fitting lid) over medium heat. Add olive oil.
Add riced cauliflower and Better Than Bouillon stock concentrate. Stir immediately to prevent the cauliflower from sticking, and to distribute the melted bouillon, about 30 seconds.
Sprinkle spices over the rice, and season with fresh ground pepper and salt. Stir for one minute more.
Cover skillet and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook rice for 5 minutes with lid on, until tender but not overly soft (like the consistency of rice.)
Remove from heat, season to taste, and serve immediately.
The pinch of sugar in this recipe might seem odd, but trust me - it's necessary to balance out the slightly bitter flavor of a cruciferous vegetable like cauliflower. When properly balanced using the right amount of added salt and sugar (and it doesn't take much), this dish will taste a lot less like cauliflower and a lot more like rice. Just add a little of each at a time before serving, and taste as you go.