To be honest, I was skeptical of cauliflower rice. How could blitzed raw cauliflower, warmed in a skillet, taste anywhere near as satisfying as fluffy, steaming rice? It can’t. The inevitable truth is that cauliflower rice needs some help from other flavors to send me back for seconds.
This is cauliflower rice kicked up several notches by some of my favorite Mediterranean ingredients. Fresh parsley, lemon, garlic, toasted almonds and red pepper flakes make this cauliflower rice an irresistible side dish. It tastes like rice pilaf crossed with tabbouleh, if you will. It is delicious.
I first made this cauliflower rice as a side dish for some leftovers, but it turned into dinner when I couldn’t stop going back for more. To be certain that the recipe was blog-worthy, I made the rice again for my skeptical taste testers.
Their response? “You know, this is really good. Like, really good. Why is this so good?” That’s when I threw my fists in the air and started making slow victory laps around the kitchen island.
You could make this low-carb cauliflower rice to round out a light meal, or to lighten up an otherwise heavy dinner. It will go well with any recipe that is loosely Mediterranean in flavor, especially with dishes that contain lemon and fresh herbs. Serve this recipe when a green salad won’t cut it!
Watch How to Make This Cauliflower Rice
How to Make Mediterranean Cauliflower Rice
You’ll find the simple recipe below, but here’s the gist:
- If using fresh cauliflower, turn it into rice in a food processor or with a cheese grater. Again, full details are below.
- Toast the almonds in a skillet until they’re lightly golden and fragrant. Transfer them to a bowl, then return the warm skillet to the heat.
- Warm the olive oil and cook the garlic briefly. We just want to take the edge off the garlic, not let it change colors. It will continue cooking with the rice.
- Add the cauliflower rice. Stir only every minute or so until it’s warmed through and takes on a bit of color on the edges.
- Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the toasted almonds, fresh parsley and lemon juice. Stir it together, and enjoy.
More Light and Fresh Side Dishes to Enjoy
Here are a few more of my favorites:
- Orange Orzo Salad with Almonds, Feta and Olives,
- Perfect Roasted Asparagus
- The Best Quinoa Salad
- Italian Chopped Salad
- Tabbouleh Salad
As always, please let me know how you like this recipe in the comments section. If you’re a cauliflower rice connoisseur, please share your tips with me, too!
Mediterranean Cauliflower Rice
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 4 side servings 1x
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
- Diet: Gluten Free
This cauliflower rice recipe features fresh Mediterranean flavors, including toasted almonds, lemon and parsley. It’s the perfect light side dish! It’s low carb, vegan and gluten free, too. Recipe yields 4 modest side servings.
- 1 medium-to-large head cauliflower or 16 ounces store-bought cauliflower rice
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- Pinch of red pepper flakes (omit if sensitive to spice)
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- If you’re working with a head of cauliflower, cut it into medium chunks (see photo) and discard the core. Working in batches, pulse the chunks in a food processor with the S-blade until they’re broken into tiny pieces, just bigger than couscous. (See recipe notes if you don’t have a food processor.)
- Wrap the cauliflower rice in a clean tea towel or paper towels, twist, and squeeze as much water as possible from the rice—you might be surprised by how much water you can wring out.
- Toast the almonds in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently (careful, or they’ll burn), until they’re fragrant and starting to turn golden on the edges, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the toasted almonds to a bowl to cool.
- Return the skillet to the heat and add the olive oil and garlic. Cook while stirring until the garlic is fragrant, about 10 to 20 seconds. Add the cauliflower rice, red pepper flakes and salt, and stir to combine. Cook, stirring just every minute or so, until the cauliflower rice is hot and turning golden in places, about 6 to 10 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the toasted almonds, parsley and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve warm.
Make it nut free: Substitute raw sunflower seeds for the almonds.
If you don’t have a food processor: Slice the cauliflower into even quarters and grate the cauliflower on the medium holes of a cheese grater. Grate one quarter at a time until you’re done.
I made this alongside a panko crusted salmon recipe and it was the perfect side ive been looking for. I didn’t have almonds so I substituted pistachios instead and it was awesome.
took my guests several guesses before saying it’s cauliflower!
Tried a couple of cauliflower rice recipe. This is by far the best. Thanks.
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Louise!
Hi, just wondering what model of food processor you’re using. I saved this recipe but I don’t have a food processor right now. Been planning to get one, but I can’t make up my mind on which brand or model to get.
Hi! It’s a Cuisinart linked in my shop page. I don’t believe that model is available. I’m testing out the new Vitamix food processor attachment. Stay tuned if I like it!
Foolish question. I bought the pre riced in a sealed bag. (Costco). It gives me micro heating instructions. So, do I do that, then wring it out, or go directly to wringing it dry and proceed with your recipe?
See my How to Make Cauliflower Rice for all my tips!
Fantastic. Thanks for the delicious recipe.
This is so so so delicious. Amd will now and forever more be a staple dish
Great to hear! Thank you for you review, Kelly.
Very good! I added red onion, spinach and ground chicken to make it a complete meal. Will definitely make again!
Can you make this with frozen rice cauliflower
Hi! See my How to Make Cauliflower Rice for some insight!
Delicious dish for my keto diet and for my family’s needs too! We had this as a bed for a Keto Cod dish. My husband said it reminded him of a dish that would be served in a 5 star restaurant. It was sublime and also fairly simple. Thank you for the recipe Kate.
Kate-can you reheat this recipe and still have it be delicious?
Just bought your *Loving Real Food* cookbook last week and have already tried several recipes – yum! I’m still drooling over the book with its gorgeous and informative photos for every dish, very specific instructions and new-to-me techniques like whisking dry ingredients. Brilliant!
Hi Pam, I find it’s best right away. But, I have had it reheated and it’s ok. I’m excited you bough my cookbook and are enjoying it already! Thank you for your support.
how do you adjust the recipe if using frozen riced cauliflower?
Hi Marlene, refer to How to Make Cauliflower Rice for my suggestions.
Made this dish and it was amazing!! My sister loved it too ❤️ Going to make this again for sure!!
HELP I pulverized my cauliflower rice in my food processor. Can I still use it?
Hi! It may get mushy when you cook it, but you can try! Good luck.
Hi Kate, Just a note from a long-time fan and fellow foodie. Thank you SO MUCH for the delicious and healthy recipes. I also appreciate the simplicity of the ingredients and preparation, AND the colorful pictures of the finished dish.
Well done! Hugs to you and Cookie.
You’re so kind, Sandy! Thank you for you review.
This is now a staple in our cooking, simple but perfectly delicious :D
That’s great! Thank you for your review.
So easy to make (after you rice the cauliflower). I added some raisins at the end to balance the lemon and spices. It was delicious.
Thank you for your review, Denise!
Just wondering how you squeeze that much water out of raw cauliflower? I made the recipe with already riced cauliflower and only get water out of it like that when it’s been cooked! Other than that, the recipe is delicious! I added some basil and a sprinkle of homemade Italian dressing during the cooking process before adding the lemon juice and parsley.
Hi, I found cauliflower varies how much water it contains. I wrap it in a lint free towel and twist it over the sink.
My first attempt at cauliflower rice and the taste was delicious. The lemon zest and lemon is a very important ingredient and also be sure to season with salt and pepper taste. I paired with pan fried Alaskan filet salmon and it was DELICIOUS. I can honestly say I won’t miss rice.
Hooray! I’m glad you think so.
Can you make this oil free??
I haven’t tired it, but the oil helps it to get a little golden and not mushy.
I made this for lunch today and instead of using a saute pan on top of the stove, I used 2 half sheet pans and roasted it with olive oil, salt and garlic in a 400 degree oven for 15 min. Then, I tossed it with the rest of the ingredients. Delish!
Hi there, Thanks! We loved the Mediterranean Cauliflower Rice. I served it with Eastern European Chicken Paprikash and it was perfect. The flavour and texture make me think the “rice” is actually rather Middle Eastern in flavour.
To other cooks – this is an interesting, but delicately flavoured dish. Cook the garlic *very*gently. (As suggested in the recipe! I cooked my garlic a little too hard.)
Can I freeze this dish?
Hi Sandra, I don’t think this one would be a great one to freeze.
I can’t adequately describe how delicious this is. I want to make multiple batches and eat them all. Thank you for bringing such joy to my taste buds!
This was amazing! I hated cauliflower rice until I tried this recipe. I used frozen instead of fresh and think I may have squeeze out too much water because it was a tad too dry, but I try less squeezing the next time. This is definitely going to be a staple in my kitchen.
Great to hear this one will be a staple! I appreciate your review, Jen.
I cut down to 1/3 cup almonds and 1tablespoon olive oil to save some calories and used fresh basil instead of parsley. It was still delicious. . It was still d
I am on Noom for weight loss and so I am looking for healthy recipes. I like Mediterranean flavors and I had bought a package of Cauliflower Rice from Trader Joe’s and wanted to make something different. This recipe turned out great except I added 4 scallions to the recipe, omitted the red pepper flakes, decreased the olive oil to 1.5 Tbsp., and I added McCormick’s Italian Seasoning to taste because I just found it a bit bland. I will certainly make this again!
This is so deliciously amazing! I eat it weekly! I now make it with frozen river cauliflower that I thaw in the microwave first and it makes it even easier.
I’m glad you love this recipe, Heidi! I appreciate your review.
Made this twice already. Wonderful recipe that is finished quickly. The longest part of the recipe is cleaning up. Very tasty.
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Daniel! I appreciate your review.
Anita M Cianciolo
We all loved this recipe; enjoyed it as a side with BBQ’ed ribs. Shared it with the rest of my family – thanks so much. :)
I’m glad it was a hit, Anita!
I followed this recipe exact as written and it was delicious! I’ve tried other cauliflower recipes and this is definitely the best. My husband, the rice eater, even said it was a nice substitute. I’ve shared the recipe with 2 others and they liked it just as much as we did. Definitely a new recipe to add to my rotation.
Great to hear, Wendy! Thank you for sharing.
Super delicious! Thank you!
You’re welcome, Sarah! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Thank you for the numerous fantastic recipes that I have made and enjoyed for several years.
Can this “rice” be made in advance and reheated (gently)? Would you suggest serving at room temperature, as opposed to reheating?
Hi Nancy! I do find it’s best right away. However, I have had it both ways leftover. I think it is really a matter of preference.
A lot of people try food processors/blenders to make rice. We make cauliflower rice a LOT and I use a meat grinder. We have one for our KitchenAid but I’ve also used a manual one when camping. For us, it comes out the perfect consistency every time! Going to use this as a side to a low-carb creamy chicken recipe I found . Should be the perfect combo. Thank you!
This is my go to recipe for cauliflower. The whole family loves the lemony, nutty flavour and it works great with all sorts of toppings.
Love this recipe. First time making cauliflower rice and I am glad that I chose your recipe. I think the big surprise was how watery the cauliflower can be, and wringing the water out helped the rice to stay dry, rather than soggy. I also changed the parsley to coriander, only because I love coriander. Sooo yummy. Thank you!
I’m happy you enjoyed it, Lita!
First time I tried cauliflower rice… It came out well, but it’s so far my least-favourite way of eating cauliflower (which I love, whether steamed, boiled, roasted…). My family didn’t enjoy it either. I liked it better the day after, as “cauliflower tabouleh”, served cold with mint, raisins and chickpeas.
Fair warning: after squeezing the cauliflower, I quickly rinsed my tea towel and put it in the washing machine… All my laundry came out smelling (faintly but distincly) of cauliflower! Not very nice… If I do it again, I’ll wash it by hand!
I’m sorry you didn’t love it. I appreciate your feedback, Marion.
I just made this recipe today for the first time because of your recent Instagram post. I have to say a big Thank You! It is a really nice take on cauliflower rice. Love the toasted almonds in this. My husband and I enjoyed our lunch today very much. Will be making this often.
You’re welcome! I’m glad you found the recipe and enjoyed it.
The flavor of this is amazing!
Great recipe, thanks! I threw in about a cup of halved Brussels sprouts along with the cauliflower rice, and voila, side dish and veggies in one dish :) My son found it a bit spicy so next time I’ll leave out the red pepper flakes (if picky kids are also eating). But I loved the added spice.
You’re welcome, Nancy!
This was an excellent recipe, and we both enjoyed it. Fast, easy, and satisfying—thank you so much! I used it as the side for chicken florentine, a match for sure! My taste buds are still singing!
Thank you for sharing, Eileen!