Keto Cauliflower Seafood Paella

Keto Cauliflower Seafood Paella is a taste of traditional Spain that is quick-to-the-table, healthy, low in carbs, and so delicious. If you have never enjoyed real Spanish cuisine, you do need to know that it is not spicy. Rather, it consists of blended flavors, with distinct ingredients and traditional methods. As with most recipes, Keto Cauliflower Seafood Paella should be made with top notch ingredients. If you want that real taste of Spain then we do suggest choosing ingredients from Spain.

Paella reminds us of New Orleans Gumbo – there are endless versions and likely one for each chef. Paellas do have similar components . . . rice, saffron, red pepper, onion, tomato, garlic, and either meats or seafood, or both. The substitute to keep it low in carbs is to use cauliflower in place of the rice. Riced cauliflower will have the texture and taste of rice when prepared properly.

Keto Cauliflower Seafood Paella Ingredients

It all happens in the kitchen. Sometimes, it comes from a recipe from the past (pre low-carb days). Sometimes, it is a tried-and-true family favorite. Often, it is from a favorite restaurant dish that we try to re-create. Regardless, Joanie pays close attention to the ingredients, freshness, and spices to create her Low-Carb recipes.

Paella has been one of our favorites for many years. The base for our paella was always Bomba Rice. It absorbed so much stock and yielded so much flavor. Our peppers were authentic Piquillo Peppers from Lodosa Spain. The Saffron had to be Spanish, and from Spain’s La Mancha region. The result was always a delicious paella.

With the exception of the Bomba rice, the ingredients are the same. Joanie simply substitutes riced-cauliflower for the Bomba rice. The rest of her seafood paella follows her traditional seafood paella recipe, with one key exception.

You will need to cut down on the stock, since cauliflower rice does not absorb liquid like Bomba rice. Joanie also infuses wine with her saffron to add the traditional saffron flavor to the cauliflower rice. She uses that method for her Keto Scallops in Creamy Saffron Sauce recipe.

Clams, shrimp, and mussels represent the seafood trio for Joanie’s Keto Cauliflower Seafood Paella. You could also use squid or scallops, but the trio we use for this recipe is definitely easier to find in local markets. For smoked paprika, we strongly suggest buying La Dalia Sweet Smoked Paprika. We use it a lot and you will find that smoky flavor is wonderful with this product.

Preparation Tips

Cauliflower rice will cook much faster than Bomba or other rounded rice. The dish will come together quickly. Cauliflower rice should also be thorouhgly cooked, but not mushy. The secret is to avoid drowning this Keto version in a lot of stock. Traditional Paella cooks for a long time so the traditional rice will absorb all of the stock. Joanie basically uses only saffron-infused wine and clam juice. The juice from a can of minced clams will suffice – also, add the minced clams.

You can buy your cauliflower rice pre-packaged or use fresh cauliflower and pulse it in a food processor to obtain the rice consistency. It should be coarse like regular round rice and not fine like couscous. Joanie uses her Breville Food Processor to obtain perfect results. Just, do not use frozen cauliflower. It will contain too much water and you will have a mushy result.

Invest in a traditional Paella pan. We have a 15 inch Paella Pan for making a larger batch to serve to company. We also have a 13 inch Paella Pan when it is just the two of us. It is actually perfect for a full meal and also some left over. Chicken and chorizo versions of paella will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days; however, seafood is best consumed when first made. For this post Joanie used the smaller pan for her seafood paella.

You can use a larger 15 inch pan and have delicious left overs. Since paella is heavy on the vegetables, it can also be a delicious side dish. Enjoy a tasty soup and paella lunch the next day.

Garcima 13-Inch Enameled Steel Paella Pan, 32cm
  • Authentic paella pan. Made in Spain.
  • Informative pamphlet included, which contains two recipes.

Spanish Saffron

Joanie suggests infusing your saffron in a quality white wine. The process is simple. Bring the white wine to a quick boil over medium-high heat in a small saucepan. Drop in the whole threads of saffron and immediately take off the heat. Allow the mixture to steep for an hour for the most deepened flavor. Too often, recipes simply drop a few threads into a nearly finished dish and call it a saffron sauce. Try Joanie’s method, and you will be amazed at the taste difference.

We really like the Lidoma Brand from the La Mancha region of Spain. It is “premium grade” with no additives or preservatives. They are also full stemmed. Another brand we use often is from Kiva. It is a premium Spanish saffron of the same quality as the Lidoma Brand. They are both excellent, and will also add so much flavor.

Steam Your Shellfish Separately

Finally, steam your clams and mussels separately in a Seafood Steamer or a pasta pan with an insert. Time this so the seafood is added to the paella when it has finished cooking. Most traditional recipes will cover and allow the shellfish to steam right in the paella pan. However, this method will result in overcooked and mushy cauliflower rice. Steam the seafood separately and add them to the top of your pan for presentation. We also like to present our Paella right in the pan – from stove-top to table!

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This is a colorful dish! The green peas, the red Piquillo pepper strips, the dark mussel shells, and the shrimp with its own unique cooked color present so much eye appeal. The background of the yellowish cauliflower rice enhances the colorful look. In fact, the colorful ingredients serve as your garnish. No need for parsley or cilantro for color. The finished paella almost looks too good to eat . . . not really!

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Low Carb Cauliflower Seafood Paella – A Taste of Traditional Spain – Great Taste and a Crowd Pleaser!

Keto Cauliflower Seafood Paella is truly a taste of traditional Spain. Traditional Spanish ingredients combine with fresh seafood to yield a delicious and quick meal that is easy to make! If cooked correctly, you may even find a bit of crusty Socarrat on the bottom of your pan – just like traditional Paella!

Keto Cauliflower Seafood Paella

Recipe by Joanie and Chris
5.0 from 10 votes
Course: Fish and Seafood, Mediterranean DietCuisine: SpanishDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time




Net Carbs


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Keto Cauliflower Seafood Paella is truly a taste of traditional Spain. It is quick to the table, easy to make, and definitely Tasty Low Carb! This one tastes as good as it looks!

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  • 1 head 1 head Cauliflower (riced)

  • 4 tbsp 59 ml Olive oil (extra virgin)

  • 16 small 16 small Shrimp (31-40) count, peeled de-veined)

  • 3/4 3/4 Red bell pepper (diced)

  • 1 1 Shallot (diced)

  • 6 cloves 6 cloves Garlic (finely chopped)

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 tsp Smoked paprika

  • 2 tbsp 2 tbsp Tomato paste

  • 8 8 Mussels

  • 8 small 8 small Clams

  • 2 tsp 2 tsp Saffron threads

  • 1/2 cup 118 ml White wine

  • 1 can 1 can Clams (minced, with juice)

  • 2 tbsp 2 tbsp Peas (frozen)

  • 1 tsp 1 tsp Sea salt

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 tsp Pepper

  • 5 strips 5 strips Piquillo peppers


  • Pulse cauliflower florets in a food processor for 10-15 seconds until cauliflower has the consistency of rice. Do not over pulse.
  • Heat your paella pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil for 1 minute then add the shrimp (seasoned with salt and pepper) and cook for 2 minutes on one side and then flip for 1 additional minute. Remove, cover with foil, and reserve.
  • Lower the heat to medium and add the red bell pepper and shallot and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the finely chopped garlic. Cook for 1 additional minute.
  • Stir in the tomato paste and smoked paprika. Mix thoroughly for 1 minute.
  • While cooking the vegetables in the previous two steps, bring water for steaming the mussels and clams in a seafood or vegetable steamer, to boil. Add the clams and mussels and steam for 5-7 minutes until they are all opened.
  • While the seafood is steaming, add the cauliflower rice to the vegetable pan and mix with the vegetables. Pour in the saffron-infused white wine (instruction above in post) and stir. Add the minced clams and the clam juice from a small can of minced clams. Remember, the cauliflower rice will not absorb the liquid. Add the peas and cook for 5 minutes total. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Your cauliflower rice should be softened, but not mushy.
  • Remove from the heat and spread the seafood on top of the rice, garnish with Piquillo pepper strips and serve hot right in the pan.


Chef’s Notes

  • You can also use seafood stock instead of clam juice to add to the dish, if the infused wine is completely absorbed and your paella needs more liquid. Make sure to add the clams if you use the juice of a small can of chopped or minced clams. It adds so much more flavor.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories: 217.3kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 11.8g
  • Protein: 5.9g
  • Fat: 14.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.1g
  • Cholesterol: 4.4mg
  • Sodium: 426.9mg
  • Potassium: 634.5mg
  • Fiber: 4.3g
  • Sugar: 5.4g
  • Calcium: 53.3mg
Dantza Red Piquillo Sweet Pepper – 7.7 oz – DOP Navarre Kosher from Spain
  • Sweet and succulent with smoky, tangy notes, piquillo peppers come from the village of Lodosa in the Navarra region of northern Spain.
  • Once opened, any unused peppers should be kept refrigerated in some of their liquid.

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