spanish cauliflower rice in a serving bowl with wooden spoon

Spanish cauliflower rice {keto + vegan}

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This Spanish cauliflower rice is a simple side dish with bold, zesty flavors! It’s a cauliflower rice recipe that is so multi-use: enjoy it with low-carb crockpot carnitas, top it with an egg and avocado for a healthy, keto breakfast (my favorite!), or cook up this keto cauliflower rice to serve all on its own. Don’t forget the toppings!

Spanish cauliflower rice is also an incredibly versatile recipe. You can use fresh or frozen cauliflower and both turn out great! If you opt for frozen cauliflower, this easy side dish is ready in about 10 minutes. Go easy on the spices if you wish, or boost the amount if you prefer extra heat!

flatlay of spanish cauliflower rice servings

what is Spanish rice

This Spanish cauliflower rice recipe is non-traditional (for obvious reasons), but has all the same southwestern flavors as the traditional rice recipe. It is often interchangeable with the name “Mexican rice.” Whatever you call it, Spanish rice is typically a combination of rice cooked in chicken broth, onion, garlic, and a tomato flavor (either diced tomatoes, tomato paste or sometimes even salsa). This cauliflower rice version is prepared similarly, but without all of the carbs!

how to make Spanish cauliflower rice

To make this Spanish cauliflower rice, you will need:

  • head of cauliflower (or frozen, riced cauliflower)
  • olive oil or avocado oil
  • onion
  • garlic
  • cumin
  • salt
  • tomato paste
  • chicken or vegetable broth
  • fresh lime juice
  • chili powder
  • green chiles
  • fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
ingredients for spanish cauliflower rice

If you’re using frozen cauliflower, I suggest about 1-2 bags, depending on their size. I use two of the portioned out bags of the frozen riced cauliflower from Costco and it’s enough for about six large servings.

Here’s the super simple process:

  1. Prepare the cauliflower– For fresh cauliflower, remove the leaves and base of the stem. Cut/break the cauliflower into florets, rinse and dry. Rice the cauliflower using a food processor or a high speed blender by pulsing it a few times until it’s the right size.
  2. Cook the Spanish cauliflower rice- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and then cook the diced onion for a few minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute before you add the riced cauliflower. You want to cook the cauliflower rice to soften it, then add the broth, tomato paste, spices, lime juice, and salt.
  3. Simmer- This part is crucial because if you don’t cook down the liquid, the cauliflower rice will be mushy. The moisture also helps soften the cauliflower. I turn up the heat to medium-high to help cook out the moisture for about 5-10 more minutes.
  4. Garnish and serve- Add the green chiles. Taste and adjust the flavors, if needed. Remove the cauliflower rice from the stovetop. Garnish it with fresh cilantro (chopped scallions are also good) and enjoy!
spanish cauliflower rice in a bowl with cilantro

pro tips for Spanish cauliflower rice

  • When ricing the cauliflower, it’s easiest to work in batches. I split the cauliflower florets into two separate batches and then pulse each batch in my blender.
  • Frozen cauliflower rice carries more moisture when cooked. You can reduce the amount of chicken broth the recipe calls for.
  • The green chiles are optional, but they add a nice flavor and heat. I make my Spanish cauliflower rice on the spicy side, but this can be adjusted to your preference.
spanish cauliflower rice in bowls with toppings in side dish

This Spanish cauliflower rice is a recipe that my family LOVES and we make pretty often. It’s a quick, no-brainer, low-carb dinner that pairs well with almost any protein (or keep it a meatless meal for a vegan crowd).

Mix in some shredded chicken, top it with cheese and pop it in the oven to enjoy this “casserole style.” Spoon up some leftovers in the morning and top it with a runny egg for a flavorful, southwestern breakfast! This keto cauliflower rice is so versatile, simple to make, and is our go-to those evenings when we just don’t know what to have for dinner. I hope you find it tatsy too!

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spanish cauliflower rice in a bowl with a spoon and linen

Spanish cauliflower rice {keto + vegan}

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Spanish cauliflower rice has all the same southwestern flavors you love, without the carbs! It's an easy, keto side dish that is simple and delicious! This versatile recipe is also friendly for many diet types, including vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free.


  • 1 large cauliflower head, cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon minced garlic)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/3-1/2 cup vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon diced green chiles (optional)
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional garnish)


  1. FOR FRESH CAULIFLOWER (skip to step 2 if using frozen cauliflower): Divide the cauliflower florets into two batches. Using a food processor or high-speed blender, "rice" the cauliflower by pulsing it several times (only pulse until all the florets are evenly rice-sized). You may need to scrape down the sides after a few pulses. Pour the rice into a bowl and repeat with the second batch.
  2. Heat the oil over medium in a large skillet. Add the diced onion and cook it for 3-4 minutes to soften. Add the minced garlic and cook for about a minute. Pour the riced cauliflower into the skillet and mix it in with the garlic/onion. Sauté the cauliflower rice for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add 1/3 cup of broth (if using frozen cauliflower rice, start with only about 1/8 cup of broth since frozen will release more moisture). Stir in the tomato paste, salt, lime juice, cumin, and red chili powder and continue to cook for another five minutes. If it looks on the dry side and could use more broth, add the remainder (about 1/2 cup total).
  4. Add the green chiles to the mixture. Taste and adjust the flavor, adding more red chili powder or chiles for spiciness, cumin for smokiness, or salt.
  5. Increase the stovetop temperature to medium-high and cook off the moisture, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes (only about 5 more minutes if you're using frozen cauliflower). You'll know it's done when the cauliflower softens and the mixture is no longer mushy from the liquid.
  6. Remove from heat, garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve.


Other toppings include chopped green onions and avocado slices.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 78Total Fat: 4.8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 17mgCarbohydrates: 7gNet Carbohydrates: 4gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g

This nutritional information is approximate and is provided for convenience as a courtesy.

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