Food + Drink Side Dishes

Cauliflower “Dirty Rice”

Today, I wanted to take a moment to share a side dish recipe that I tried out recently. As much as I love rice, eating a large bowl of it is not always something I can do for dinner each night. So, I’ve been looking for some alternatives. I’d been hearing about “cauliflower rice” for quite some time, but had not yet tried it out. So, when I discovered a cauliflower “dirty rice” recipe on Elana’s Pantry and realized I had all of the ingredients in my kitchen, I decided it was time to test out something new!

Also, make sure you check out Elana’s Pantry if you’re looking for gluten-free recipes: she has some amazing ideas…like her triple chocolate chip cookies, baked mustard lime chicken, and cranberry almond loaf

Now, one quick note: don’t go in thinking that this dish will taste exactly like rice, because it won’t! However, the texture of the cauliflower and the flavors of the seasonings will give you the effect of a dirty rice. Try it out and see what you think…

Cauliflower “Dirty Rice”

adapted from Elana’s Pantry


Cauliflower "Dirty Rice"
  • 3 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 cup green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup red pepper, diced
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 2 cups broth of your choice
  1. Thoroughly wash the cauliflower florets. Chop the florets into smaller pieces (to make them easy to chop in a processor). Place 1 cup of cauliflower at a time in a food processor and pulse chop until riced. Set riced cauliflower aside and repeat until all of the florets have been chopped into a similar texture. If you do not have a food processor, you can also use a box grater to rice your cauliflower, but do not pre-chop the florets into small pieces beforehand (it will be easier to rice a larger piece of cauliflower).
  2. Preheat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and scallions: cook until slightly softened.
  3. Stir in chopped peppers and riced cauliflower, as well as the Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, chili powder, and cumin. Add the broth to the skillet as well.
  4. Turn skillet down to medium heat and allow the cauliflower to simmer. Stir frequently.
  5. When the liquid in the skillet is cooked down completely, the "dirty rice" is ready to serve (about 30 minutes). I enjoyed mine sprinkled with a shake of parmesan cheese on top...

One other nice thing about this recipe: it’s technically paleo! I don’t personally abide by a paleo diet, but it is nice to know when you have a recipe under your belt that can accommodate.

So tell me: have you tried using cauliflower as a replacement ingredient (cauliflower rice, mashed potatoes, or pizza crust)? Do you like it?



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  • I’ve made faux “rice” with cauliflower numerous times and I love it! This is a new recipe to me though and I def can’t wait to try it; thanks!

  • That’s awesome! I’m always looking for good ways to sneak more veggies into my diet, so I’m definitely going to try this!

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