Spicy lemon cauliflower rice is a simple side dish with a bit of chili heat and lemony zest for a flavorful and nutritious vegan alternative.
⭐ Recipe Highlights
Riced cauliflower is a nutritious, fiber-filled, low-carb alternative to rice and a great way to fill up on several servings of veg without thinking twice about it.
One of the wonders of lemon cauliflower rice is how quickly it comes together. The extra few minutes grating the cauliflower make up for the fact that you are seriously only looking at a few minutes of heating it on the stovetop. This is the time to add the lemon juice, zest, and chopped red chilis. Done and done.
Grated cauliflower on its own might not sound exciting, but add a hit of chili pepper, cilantro, and generous portions of lemon zest and juice – that’s another story. And the even better news is that this recipe can be modified with different spices and ingredients.
📋 Key Ingredients & Notes
Cauliflower – Riced cauliflower is best made with a firm, white head of fresh cauliflower. And yep, you can make this recipe with frozen cauliflower rice. Popularity means it's available in numerous grocery stores.
Chili – Use a red or green Thai chili, jalapeno, or whatever fresh chili pepper you have. Slice the chili or cut it in half and remove the seeds and core to reduce the spiciness. You can also substitute red chili flakes as an alternative to fresh chili.
Fresh lemon – It’s best practice to use unwaxed, preferably organic citrus fruits when you cook with zests. This applies to lemons. At the least, go for the unwaxed. Be sure to wash and gently dry the lemon before grating the zest.
Scallions – Thinly slice a few scallions (green onions/salad onions). Use can use some of the green tops too. That will add a little more color to your quick cauli rice.
Cilantro – Cilantro (coriander) isn’t for everyone, but if you like it, chop it and stir it in. Parsley could also be used, or try Thai basil.
🔪 Pro Tips
There are 2 easy ways to prepare cauliflower rice. Both yield the same results. Both have their pros and cons.
Hand grater. A regular old box grater is a standard in just about anyone’s kitchen. Don’t cut the florets too small. Larger pieces are easier to grate (and safer). Plus, that box grater is easier to clean.
A food processor is a quicker option. Start by trying the coarser blade, but check that you have the texture you want. Food processor blades are not entirely universal.
Cauliflower is surprisingly moist once it’s grated. The easiest way to take care of this is to line a plate with a few paper towels, top it off and give the old pat-down. Food security 😊.
Once the cauliflower is grated, pressed, and dried, heat a skillet or frying pan, and add the sliced chili, lemon zest, and onions. Stir them quickly in the pan for about 30 seconds. Then add lemon juice and cauliflower. Mix and heat the cauliflower through.
Cook the cauliflower a bit longer if it is moist. You will also want to taste it and add salt or more lemon juice if needed.
💭 Common Questions
If you are looking for low-carb, keto-friendly options, riced cauliflower at 5 grams of carbs is a better option than brown rice (45 grams of carbs). Cauliflower is also a fiber-rich food and, with its added nutrients, can be an excellent alternative to rice and other grains.
It’s easy to change the flavor of cauliflower rice by adding spices such as turmeric, cumin, or smoked paprika. All go well with lemon. You can also consider making lemon herb rice by adding additional fresh herbs or a tablespoon of Italian spice blend and chopped tomato. Nothing is better than smattering chopped cashews or almonds for more crunch.
🍚 Serving Suggestions
Classic lemon cauliflower rice is the perfect side dish for just about any curry or meal you'd typically serve with rice. You can also mix in lemongrass tofu or crispy tofu to create a quick meal in a bowl.
🌡️ Storage, Freezing, & Reheating
Store leftover cauliflower rice in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. You can also freeze cauliflower rice before and after adding the additional ingredients. After thawing, you may want to re-press the cauli rice to reduce the moisture.
Reheat cauliflower rice in a steamer basket or microwave. Spruce it up with additional lemon juice if desired.Print
Spicy Lemon Cauliflower Rice
Spicy lemon cauliflower rice is a simple side dish with a little chili heat and lemony zest for a flavorful and nutritious vegan alternative.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Grate
- Cuisine: Indian
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 medium head cauliflower
- 1-2 red chilis, thinly sliced
- 1 lemon (juice and zest)
- ½ cup fresh coriander (cilantro) chopped
- ½ cup sliced scallions (3 scallions)
- salt (optional)
- Trim and wash the cauliflower. Cut it into florets, rinse and pat it dry.
- If using a hand grater, cut the cauliflower into quarters, making it easier (and safer to handle). For a food processor, use the coarse blade and cut the florets small enough to fit.
- Turn the cauliflower rice out on a plate or cutting board lined with paper towels. Put another towel on top and press to release as much moisture as possible.
- Prepare the rest of the ingredients by thinly slicing the 2 red chilis, grating the lemon for the zest and juicing the rest of the lemon. Chop the coriander (cilantro) and slice 3 scallions (½ cup).
- Heat a medium to large skillet. Add the lemon juice, zest, red chilis, and scallions. Stir the ingredients for 30 seconds and cauliflower. Stir to heat through.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the cilantro. Taste and add more lemon juice and salt if desired.
- Serve immediately
- Store leftover cauliflower rice in the refrigerator for a few days or freeze it for up to a month. After freezing, press it after thawing to catch any accumulated moisture.
- Reheat cauliflower rice in a steamer basket or in the microwave.
Keywords: spicy lemon cauliflower rice, riced cauliflower