This riced cauliflower is a great substitute for Spanish Rice! Let’s be real here guys: this doesn’t taste like rice. But it does taste AMAZING, and is a great side dish for your Mexican food if you are trying to eat low-carb this January!

Spanish Cauliflower Rice (to eat with Mexican Food) from The Food Charlatan

So I’m sitting in a coffeeshop with Truman, working on the computer while he plays with cars. (We come here when Charlotte is in preschool, because it’s just far enough away that it would be annoying to have to go all the way home. I don’t even drink coffee. Probably management hates me.)

But I was low on their list today, I’m sure.

Spanish Cauliflower Rice (to eat with Mexican Food) from The Food Charlatan

Coffeeshops in downtown Sacramento usually have a few homeless people hanging out on any given day, but on days when it’s pouring rain like today, it gets pretty crowded.

A man started making a commotion, yelling crazy stuff. It had just started to get uncomfortable when the man walked right up to Truman and started yelling at him. (It was creepy but there were enough people around that I didn’t feel unsafe.) Truth be told, it was kind of making me laugh, because Truman is just sitting there staring at him, wide-eyed, munching on peanuts. It’s nice to be 2 sometimes.

Spanish Cauliflower Rice (to eat with Mexican Food) from The Food Charlatan

THEN. The guy walks around the corner from us and I can hear the poor employees trying to get him to leave the store. He makes a fuss of course. All the sudden another customer points and yells, “There’s a rat!” And I’m thinking, great, now we’ve got TWO crazies to deal with, what is he even talking about.

And that’s when I saw it. A huge rat, running the perimeter of the shop, with poor management chasing it with a broom, meanwhile trying to get a crazy yelling person to leave the premises. People are squealing, everyone is staring, and I’m sitting over in the corner busting up. Truman was of course ridiculously excited. “That was a BIG RAT, Mommy.”

I seriously am considering bringing a plate of cookies to those poor baristas next time I’m in. No one should have to deal with yelling customers and R.O.U.S.’s on the same day.

Spanish Cauliflower Rice (to eat with Mexican Food) from The Food Charlatan

Okay, who’s on a diet? (I’m sure you are NOW, after my rat story, right?) But really, are you trying to slim down after the holidays? Cauliflower rice to the rescue!

Have you ever made cauliflower rice? It is a great sub for regular rice. You can eat it as a side with meat, or with curry, or as a base for a casserole. I have an Asian version, an Indian version, and now this Mexican version so you can eat it with your tacos and enchiladas!

Asian Cauliflower Rice from The Food Charlatan

Asian Cauliflower Rice from The Food Charlatan

Asian Cauliflower Rice from The Food Charlatan

About a year ago I was reading through the post for these Black Bean Burgers, and saw a comment my sister Laura left, talking about a Mexican cauliflower rice that she had created. And then I begged her for the recipe. Thanks Laura! You are a culinary genius!

I think it would go great with salmon. Or chicken. Or enchiladas. Pretty much anything Mexican would be amazing. Laura always pairs it with Traditional Tejano Carne Guisada, a recipe from her husband’s grandmother. Serve it with Garlic Lime Chicken for an easy weeknight meal! Or alongside these Chicken, Tomatillo, and Chipotle Chimichangas.

Spanish Cauliflower Rice (to eat with Mexican Food) from The Food Charlatan

Spanish Cauliflower Rice (to eat with Mexican Food) from The Food Charlatan

I almost forgot to show you my blooper shot. How else do you think I get the bowl to look so full??

If you make this cauliflower snap a picture and share it on social media using #thefoodcharlatan! I LOVE seeing what you’re making!

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Spanish Cauliflower Rice (to eat with Mexican Food)

4.67 from 3 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Total: 17 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
This riced cauliflower is a great substitute for Spanish Rice! A great side dish for your Mexican food if you are trying to eat low-carb this January!


  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 2-3 small carrots
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons chicken bouillon, *
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 8-oz. can tomato sauce, most of the can
  • chopped cilantro, to garnish


  • Slice the cauliflower in half, then in half again. Cut off the stem from each quarter and discard. (see photos)
  • Chop the cauliflower into 1-inch pieces. Place 1/3 of the cauliflower into a food processor and pulse in 1-second intervals until it looks like rice. Remove to a bowl and repeat twice more (I usually do 3 batches per head of cauliflower).
  • Peel a couple carrots and roughly chop. Add to the food processor and pulse again until it looks the same as the cauliflower.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the chicken bouillon and stir together. When it is hot, add the cauliflower and carrots.
  • Add salt, chili powder, and cumin.
  • Stir occasionally for about 7-10 minutes, or until the veggies are tender.
  • Slowly stir in the tomato sauce. You don't have to add the entire can. Just until it looks good to you.
  • Cook for another 2 minutes. Add more seasonings to taste.
  • Remove from heat, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve hot!


*I use Better Than Bouillon.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 121kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 754mg | Potassium: 759mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 4952IU | Vitamin C: 103mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Spanish
Calories: 121
Keyword: cauliflower, rice, spanish
Did you make this? I'd love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

Spanish Cauliflower Rice tastes AMAZING with this Traditional Tejano Carne Guisada. That’s what Laura usually pairs it with:

Traditional Tejano Carne Guisada from The Food Charlatan

I think it would taste great with this super easy get-dinner-done Garlic Lime Chicken:

Garlic Lime Chicken from

Do you love cauliflower rice? Try these other recipes! 

Asian Cauliflower Rice: << this goes great with this Asian Pork Tenderloin with Ginger Glaze, one of the most popular recipes on my site.

Asian Cauliflower Rice from The Food Charlatan

Indian Spiced Cauliflower Rice: << this one goes great with any kind of curry!

Indian Spiced Cauliflower "Rice"

Cauliflower Rice Skillet with Zucchini and Kielbasa: << If you try cauliflower rice one time, TRY THIS ONE. It’s a great meal, whether you are dieting or not.

Cauliflower Rice Skillet with Zucchini and Kielbasa from The Food Charlatan

More cauliflower from around blogdom:

How to Make Cauliflower Rice (3 Ways) from One Good Thing By Jilllee
Cauliflower Fried Rice from Iowa Girl Eats
Cauliflower Rice Philly Cheesesteak from Food Faith Fitness

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  1. The flavor is very good. When I added the carrots and cauliflower to the skillet, I thought it was too dry. It was sticking, so I added chicken broth.

    1. I’m glad you liked the flavor Irene! Chicken broth is a good idea, you could also add a bit more oil.

  2. Approximately how many cups of riced cauliflower does a head of cauliflower make? I just want to use already riced cauliflower.

    1. hey Cindy! It’s hard to say because every cauliflower is different! But I would say you need at least 5-6 cups.

    1. Hi Emma! You can find cans of tomato sauce in the same aisle of the grocery store where you find diced tomatoes. They usually come in 8 ounce cans and 14 ounce cans. Enjoy!

  3. Eeeek rats!!! They scare the pants off me! And I have yet to try cauliflower rice, but this looks SO good. I need to get on the cauliflower rice bandwagon ASAP!

    1. There was definitely some squealing going on, that’s for sure!! And yes PLEASE hop on the cauli rice train! It’s a party!

  4. Seriously cracking up. That poor coffee shop! You should definitely give me their name so I remember to avoid that one. LOL. Irrational fear of rats I have. ;)
    And good grief, this cauli rice is completely genius! My Monday totally needs this!

  5. Oh my goodness!! What an eventful day!! Are they always this exciting?!?! I have yet to try cauliflower rice. Too afraid it’s going to taste like cauliflower (not my favorite veggie)

    1. My days are DEFINITELY not always this exciting, if we can call rat sightings exciting, haha!! And yeah if you don’t love cauliflower I don’t know how you will feel about this. It’s worth a try one time (maybe just regular cauli rice) and then you will know for sure. :)

  6. Those poor baristas! I feel so bad for them. That’s definitely a day they won’t forget. Yikes.
    This cauliflower Spanish rice looks wonderful! I’ve never tried this with cauliflower before, but I definitely want to try it. I like to make vegetarian enchiladas, and this looks like it would be wonderful as a filling. Yum!

  7. Okay, so as a parent, I totally would have freaked out if a homeless person started yelling at my child, but way to go Truman for not crying at all! AND OMG, there was a rat there?? I do feel bad for the people who work there who have to deal with all of this…

    This Spanish cauliflower rice looks wonderful! I’m going to have to try it when I get home!!

    1. It was kinda weird Lisa, not gonna lie! I don’t know what I would have done if he had kept going. I’m just glad we weren’t alone! The rat was actually a welcome respite…kind of. ha. I hope you are having a great time in England Lisa!!

  8. Hi! This looks great, even when is nothing such as “Spanish Rice”, I’ll try; unless you mean paella (that had specific ingredients to be called like that). And there is difference between Tex-mex food and traditional Mexican food (and depending on what “estado” you are, it could be tremendously different between them)

    Even though I love when we all are interested in other’s culture and even more in others gastronomy, as you do. I don’t want to lecture anyone, I’m just providing, please do not offend, I love pretty much all food blogs.

    1. Hey Jen! According to good ol’ Wiki, “Spanish rice” is “a Mexican side dish made from white rice, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and other ingredients.” That’s the dish I was trying to recreate here using cauliflower. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Oh my goodness that sounds like chaos! haha I keep meaning to try cauliflower rice but still haven’t. I love the color on this!!

    1. You’ve got to try it out Ashley! You will be amazed at how addictive it is. :) And yes, CHAOS is the right word for the coffeeshop situation, haha!

  10. Have you ever considered including nutritional information with your recipes? It would be really helpful for people trying to follow programs like Weight Watchers. Thanks!

    1. Hey Barbara! I have thought about it. But since this is not necessarily a HEALTH food blog, I’ve decided not to, mostly because I never want to know how many calories are in the chocolate cake I’m eating, haha! But it’s a good idea to do it for healthy recipes like this cauliflower rice. Maybe I will look into it! Thank you so much for the feedback! It’s important to me!

      1. Even chocolate cake can fit into a healthy food plan if you know the nutritional information. You may be a person who doesn’t have to worry about calories or fat, etc., but I’m guessing there are people who follow your blog who would love to have that information. I tend to stop following blogs when that information isn’t available. Lots of your recipes look good, but it’s a lot of trouble trying to figure it the nutritional information if it’s not given. Thank for considering

          1. In case you have any WW followers out there, using the Recipe Builder feature of the WW website, I calculated your recipe to be 3 SmartPoints if it’s divide into 4 servings. If you split it into 6 servings, it’s only 2 SmartPoints. I do plan to try this, and then I will have the portion sizes Thanks for a delicious looking dish!

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