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.