Cauliflower “Spanish Style” Rice

Cauliflower “Spanish Style” Rice is a perfect compliment to many of our low-carb recipes and it is delicious! We eat a lot of Mexican and Spanish dishes in the Southwest. We are constantly making more of these normally carb-filled dishes into Low Carb recipes. Spanish rice is one of those conversion recipes. It is flavorful, with a little heat, and so low carb. It is also very easy to prepare and is a great leftover.

Our “Taco Tuesdays” and “Tostada Thursdays” are now even more special since we added our Cauliflower Spanish Rice. The rice is a perfect side dish with our Shrimp in Garlic Sauce (Gambas al Ajillo) or our Shrimp in Poblano Cream Sauce (Culichi Salsa). Virtually any Mexican, Spanish, or Southwestern recipe will be even more tasty when paired with Cauliflower “Spanish Style” Rice. We have a few suggestions below the recipe. A bowl of Southwestern Shrimp Bisque and a Low-Carb Margarita would be perfect!

Cauliflower “Spanish Style” Rice


Cauliflower is our substitute for rice. It eliminates the carb problem and is delicious. The texture is similar, and with the proper seasonings, any rice dish can be duplicated. The nice part is that in today’s world you can find it pre-processed, so there is no need for all of the chopping and blending. You can also simply cut off the edible portions of a cauliflower head and pulse in a food processor to produce a rice-like texture. Some bloggers call for blanching the cauliflower – not necessary! In fact, it will absorb too much water and leave you with a soupy rice dish.

A traditional Spanish rice will be seasoned with saffron. It adds flavor and coloring. But, it is an expensive spice. Mexican rice (Coliflor Arroz Rojo) substitutes tomato products for the saffron. Technically, our Spanish rice is more of a Mexican rice. We use tomato paste for flavor and color. We do use Spanish smoked paprika and cumin for flavor, as well as finely chopped jalapeño. Of course, our recipe includes chopped garlic!

The variable to our recipe is the amount of heat you desire. You can add more jalapeño or more cumin. If you are pairing the rice with a Spanish dish you may wish to add a bit more smoked paprika. We do like to season well with salt, it seems cauliflower is one vegetable that really needs salt.

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Preparation Tips

Our Cauliflower “Spanish Style” Rice will cook quickly. Just 3 minutes should be enough time to soften the chopped onions and jalapeño. Adding the chopped garlic for 1 minute at the end of this step will be sufficient to blend the flavors. It will also only take 3 minutes to soften the cauliflower. You can taste it at the end of 3 minutes and determine if it is starting to soften.

The cumin, smoked paprika, tomato paste, and salt and pepper go in next. It should only take about 2 minutes for the color and spices to blend. Again, taste your cauliflower rice for tenderness. You should not need any liquid. In fact, we strongly urge straining the cauliflower through cheese cloth to reduce moisture. This is extremely important after thawing when using pre-processed frozen cauliflower.

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Cauliflower “Spanish Style” Rice – Colorful, Healthy, and The Perfect Low Carb Side

Serve the rice as a side dish with a bit of chopped cilantro on top for presentation. The finished dish is a versatile, delicious, side dish for any Mexican or Spanish recipe that has only 5g of carbs (4g net). Our rice only takes 10 minutes to make! We make this cauliflower rice all the time to serve with our Keto Chicken Tinga. You will love our Cauliflower “Spanish Style” Rice for convenience and taste!

Cauliflower “Spanish Style” Rice

Recipe by Joanie and Chris
4.8 from 96 votes
Course: Sides, Mediterranean DietCuisine: SpanishDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




Net Carbs


Total time



Spanish Style (or Mexican) Cauliflower Rice is colorful and healthy! The perfect Keto side for any main dish! Our Spanish Cauliflower Rice takes ony 10 minutes to prepare and it has on 4g of net carbs!

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  • 4 cups 400 g Cauliflower riced

  • 1 tablespoon 1 tablespoon Olive oil extra virgin

  • 1/2 cup 80 g Onion finely diced

  • 1 1 Jalapeño seeded and finely diced

  • 4 cloves 4 cloves Garlic minced

  • 2 tablespoons 2 tablespoons Tomato paste

  • 2 teaspoons 2 teaspoons Cumin

  • 1 teaspoon 1 teaspoon Smoked paprika

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons 1 1/2 teaspoons Sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon 1 teaspoon Pepper

  • Cilantro chopped


  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and jalapeño, and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the garlic for the last minute and stir often.
  • Add the cauliflower and sauté for 3 minutes until just slightly tender to taste.
  • Add cumin, smoke paprika, salt, and pepper. Create a small well in the middle of your pan and drop in the tomato paste. Let it set for a few seconds until the thick paste begins to thin in the heat. Stir to coat the rice and cook for 2 minutes until heated through. 
  • Add some chopped cilantro and serve.


Chef’s Notes

  • You can also add more heat by using more chopped jalapeño. To add a bit more color to the dish you can use a little finely chopped red pepper (add with the onion).

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories: 42.9kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 5.7g
  • Protein: 1.6g
  • Fat: 2.1g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.3g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 484.9mg
  • Potassium: 246.9mg
  • Fiber: 1.7g
  • Sugar: 2.2g
  • Vitamin A: 245IU
  • Vitamin C: 36mg
  • Calcium: 24.9mg
  • Iron: 0.8mg
La Dalia Sweet Smoked Paprika from Spain, 2.469 Oz
  • Estimated Product Size: 2.5 oz
  • Country of Origin: Spain

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  1. Can I make this the day before & maybe pop into the oven to heat up the next day. I’m trying to prepare my whole meal the day before company comes.

    • Joanie and Chris

      Absolutely, I reheat my Spanish-style rice all the time. I do not use a microwave, instead I simply reheat in a non-stick pan. I keep a dash of water handy incase it gets a bit dry. Enjoy, and thanks for the question . . . Joanie.

  2. I like it but it too much cumin for me. Otherwise, it was great.

    • Joanie and Chris

      Cumin can be strong if it is not pleasing for your taste buds, cut it down a bit for the next time. Thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  3. Charlotte Clements

    This was seriously so freaking good! I used a green giant frozen riced cauliflower medley. It had about 2 cups frozen riced cauliflower so I halved your recipe. I was afraid there were too many spices but followed your ratios and had NO REGRETS! My only struggle was trying to stir the tomato paste spice mix into the cauliflower but with lots of consistent mixing and smooshing any clumps of paste it was a success. I will 1000000% make this again

    • Joanie and Chris

      Comments like yours do keep foodies like myself in the kitchen, and with a smile on my face. Thanks for trying and enjoying . . . Joanie.

  4. Best Spanish “rice” free ever made! Thanks so much ! I added a dash of lime juice. Yummy!

  5. Just made, turned out great! super flavorful! Had with chicken, but envision with ground beef also as a one-pot deal. Many thanks, 5-stars!

    • Joanie and Chris

      Thank you for the kind comment. So pleased you enjoyed my “Spanish Style” rice . . . Joanie.

    • Tami Mahelona

      This was so yummy, made it tonight too go with a new recipe for carnitas… so my whole meal was new and tasty.. loved the rice(cauliflower).. I did add a can of corn to it..i believe this can do a lot of meals with just add too ingredients.. thank you for this tasty dish to add to my arsenal of yummy dishes!!

      • Joanie and Chris

        So pleased you enjoyed my recipe. We love corn, also, but cannot use it for our low-carb (Keto) lifestyle. I agree, the beauty of cooking is trying different recipe combinations. Thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

  6. Tasty! Served it with a keto Mexican chicken with a cilantro lime
    Sauce on all
    Of it, yum!

    • Joanie and Chris

      So pleased you enjoyed my recipe. It sounds like you had the perfect meal. Thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.

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