This Mexican Cauliflower Rice Recipe is a delicious twist on traditional Mexican Rice. With all the flavors of your favorite Mexican Side Dish, plus enhanced nutrition and lower carbs! Taco Tuesday just got a whole lot tastier..this baked cauliflower rice is sure to become a family favorite.
This post has been updated from the original posted June 19, 2019.
This Easy Mexican Cauliflower Rice Recipe is made in the oven on a sheet pan for quick clean up. Riced cauliflower with all the taste of traditional Mexican rice, but less carbs! If you’re looking for the perfect healthy side dish to go with all your favorite Mexican dishes, you’re going to love this tasty rice alternative.
It’s no secret I love Mexican recipes. Guacamole is my love language. It’s a staple in this house the way a LBD is in many closets. I feel like this easy Mexican Cauliflower Rice Recipe has a bit of that reputation too…tasty and goes with everything.
Why you’ll love this Mexican Cauliflower Rice
- It’s colorful and delicious, beautiful and healthy.
- Meal-prep friendly.
- Quick and easy….with one pan and minimal clean up.
- Hands on time is minimal, freeing you up to do other things (like make guacamole).
- No standing at the stove stirring, so nothing burns and everything cooks evenly.
- Kids love it.
- Plant based protein and fiber for a satisfying side dish or main meal.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Cauliflower: Use your food processor or box grater to turn cauliflower florets into small pieces with the texture of rice. Or, you can find already riced cauliflower in the produce section of most grocery stores or buy frozen cauliflower rice in the freezer section.
- Bell Peppers: They add vitamin C and bright color to this great side dish.
- Tomato: When fresh tomatoes are in season, use them! During the winter, you can use canned tomatoes.
- Onion: Sweet onions like vidalia are great in this recipe. You can also use red onion, white onions, yellow onion, scallions, leeks or even shallots.
- Black beans: a great source of plant based protein and fiber. You could substitute pinto beans or kidney beans.
- Corn: Use frozen corn or fresh corn cut right off the cob. Canned corn isn’t a great substitute.
- Jalapeno: Remove the seeds and membranes for bold flavor without the heat. If you’re looking for more spice, use habanero, serrano, anaheim or fresno chili peppers. Pickled jalapenos in the jar are another great choice.
- Cilantro: I adore fresh cilantro, but if it tastes like soap to you, substitute with fresh oregano or parsley.
- Garlic: Yum…and did you know garlic is anti-inflammatory and helps boost the immune system?
- Lime: lime juice and lime zest add a zippy flavor.
- Spices: Earthy cumin, pungent chili powder and a bit of sea salt…or use some of my no salt taco seasoning for bold flavor without any added sodium.
How to make Cauliflower Rice in the oven:
- You’ll need riced cauliflower. Use frozen cauli-rice, straight from the freezer, or save money and rice the cauliflower yourself. Rough chop the cauliflower into large chunks. Use your food processor and pulse until cauliflower pieces are small with a rice-like texture. Do this in batches if needed. You could also use the side of a box grater to grate the cauliflower into a large bowl…it will look like regular rice.
- It’s easiest to mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and then spread it onto a large rimmed baking sheet to bake. I put the frozen corn and frozen riced cauliflower in the bowl first, then add the diced onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, cilantro and jalapenos to the bowl.
- Zest the garlic and the lime directly over the bowl. Then juice the lime over everything, sprinkle on the spices, drizzle with olive oil and mix well.
- Transfer to a baking tray and bake in a preheated 425 oven for 30 minutes. Baked cauliflower rice can be served warm or at room temperature.
Debra’s Pro Tips
- Use a can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh during the winter months when fresh tomatoes are tasteless.
- Add frozen cauli-rice and frozen corn straight from the Mexican Cauliflower Rice is baked in the oven for an easy healthy side dish for tacos, and makes a great low-carb sub for Mexican Rice.0…no need to defrost first.
- Add an extra squeeze of lime or additional jalapenos to jazz things up.
- Drizzle on some avocado-lime dressing and call it a burrito bowl.
- Cook time is 30 minutes. Add an extra 10 for a crispy, more like fried rice texture.
MEAL PREP AND STORAGE
- SERVE: warm or at room temperature. Serve as a healthy Mexican side dish or a plant-based main meal.
- PREP AHEAD: Definitely! This Mexican cauliflower rice is perfect for meal prep. Gently reheat for 15 minutes at 325 or reheat in a hot cast iron skillet until heated through.
- STORE: in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days.
- FREEZE: Leftovers can be frozen for 3 months in a freezer safe container. Bring to room temperature and then reheat as directed above.
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Mexican Cauliflower Rice
- 3 cups riced cauliflower
- 1 bell pepper any color, diced.
- 1 large tomato chopped approx. 1 ½ cups, substitute 1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 sweet onion small dice
- 1 15-oz can black beans rinsed and drained
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 3 jalapeno peppers membranes and seeds removed, small dice.
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro coarsely chopped.
- 2 cloves garlic pressed
- 1 lime zested and juiced
- 1 Tablespoon cumin
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat oven to 425
- If using a head of cauliflower, break into florets, then place in food processor and pulse into smaller pieces that resemble grains of rice. Alternately you can find fresh cauliflower rice bagged in the produce section of most super markets or in the freezer section.
- Prep fresh ingredients: dice bell pepper, roughly chop tomato, dice onion, carefully de-seed jalapenos and cut into small dice, roughly chop cilantro.
- Add riced cauliflower, red pepper, tomato, onion, jalapenos, black beans, and corn into large bowl. (OK to add frozen cauliflower rice and frozen corn to bowl directly from freezer).
- Peel garlic and zest or press over bowl. Zest and juice lime over bowl.
- Sprinkle on spices and drizzle with olive oil. Mix until well blended.
- Spread evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes, until the “rice” dries out and the veggies soften.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. Garnish with lime wedges, sprinkle with additional cilantro and jalapeno slices.
- Leftover Mexican Cauliflower Rice can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days. Gently reheat in a 325 oven for 15 minutes, until heated through. It will also taste great cold, and is a wonderful addition to a taco salad.