Kalyn's Kitchen

Spicy Cauliflower Rice

Spicy Cauliflower Rice is flavored with fried onions and Sumac, or see other options for ways to add flavor to cauliflower rice. This is a delicious low-carb or Keto side dish any time of year, and if you use frozen cauliflower rice it’s quick and easy to get on the table. 

PIN Spicy Cauliflower Rice to try it later!

Finished dish for Low-Carb Cauliflower Rice with Fried Onions and Sumac

It’s been more than ten years since I first tried cauliflower rice, and since that time I’ve started liking it a lot more and also discovered frozen cauliflower rice! And recently when I made this Spicy Cauliflower Rice using frozen cauliflower rice, it was so good I knew I had to update the recipe on the blog with that suggestion! The frozen cauliflower rice eliminates the step of chopping up the rice in the food processor, and cooks a bit more quickly as well.

And cauliflower rice is so versatile for a low-carb side dish. I’m a huge fan of green onions so Easy Cauliflower Rice with Garlic and Green Onion is probably the version I make most. But if you have some of the middle eastern spice called Sumac, I urge you to try this version with a few fried onions for flavor and a generous sprinkling of Sumac on the top. Or see suggestions below for other seasonings you can use if you don’t have any Sumac! I’d love this as a side dish for most anything cooked on the grill.

What ingredients do you need for this recipe?

  • Olive Oil (affiliate link)
  • onion
  • frozen cauliflower rice
  • salt and black pepper
  • Sumac (affiliate link)

What is Sumac?

Sumac (affiliate link) is a dark red spice used in the middle east, and in the U.S. you might see it in a shaker jar in middle eastern restaurants! The dried Sumac berries are ground into the powder that’s used in cooking, and the flavor is tart and slightly lemony. I’ve been a fan of this from the first time I tried it!

What other spices could you use to flavor Spicy Cauliflower Rice?

Sumac is a spice that has a good flavor without being cooked, so you need to pick something else like that to sprinkle on the rice in this dish. Za’atar Spice Mix (affiliate link) is a middle eastern spice blend that contains Sumac, and that would be perfect to use here. Szeged Sweet Paprika (affiliate link) or Spanish Sweet Paprika (affiliate link) are both something I’d enjoy sprinkled on most anything. You could also use my beloved Spike Seasoning (affiliate link) to add flavor to this rice. People who enjoy the wildly popular Everything Bagel Seasoning (affiliate link) will love that sprinkled on to this dish. And the options are really endless; any savory spice blend you enjoy sprinkled on food can be used to sprinkle on cauliflower rice!

More Fun Ideas with Cauliflower Rice:

You can’t go wrong with my Easy Cauliflower Rice with Garlic and Green Onion if you’re wanting a cauliflower rice dish with something served over it. When it’s fresh basil season I love Cauliflower Rice with Basil, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts. If you don’t mind a bit more work, I swoon over Roasted Cauliflower Rice Medley with Pine Nuts. And my Greek Cauliflower Rice Bake is a super tasty combination to make for a cauliflower rice side dish. Check out My Favorite Low-Carb Recipes with Cauliflower Rice for lots more ideas using it.

Steps for making Low-Carb Cauliflower Rice with Fried Onions and Sumac

Steps for making Spicy Cauliflower Rice:

(This is just a summary of the steps; scroll down to see complete printable recipe including nutritional information.)

  1. Chop onion into medium-sized pieces.
  2. Heat olive oil, then add onions, turn heat to medium and let them cook. Be sure to turn them a few times so they don’t burn. Cook until the onion is nicely brown.
  3. While onions cook, break the frozen cauliflower apart inside the bag. (Or if you prefer fresh cauliflower, follow steps in the recipe to make the fresh cauliflower into “rice”.)
  4. When onions are nicely browned add the cauliflower and more olive oil, season generously with salt and fresh ground black pepper, and turn heat to medium high.
  5. Let cauliflower cook, turning often, until liquid has cooked off, and it’s lightly browned and cooked to your liking.
  6. Sprinkle cauliflower generously with Sumac (affiliate link) or one of the other options listed above and serve hot.
  7. I didn’t think it reheated particularly well, so I’d only make enough for one meal. You can refrigerate the uncooked ingredients separately to make it again another day.

Spicy Cauliflower Rice shown in pan sprinkled with Sumac

Make it a Low-Carb Meal:

This would be a great side dish for Greek Lamb Souvlaki, Very Greek Grilled Chicken, or West African Chicken Stew.

More Low-Carb Cauliflower Recipes To Try:

Cheesy Baked Cauliflower Tots
Easy Cheesy Baked Keto Cauliflower
Twice Baked Cauliflower

Finished dish for Low-Carb Cauliflower Rice with Fried Onions and Sumac

Spicy Cauliflower Rice

Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes

Spicy Cauliflower Rice is a delicious low-carb side dish with fried onions and the interesting middle eastern spice call Sumac, and using frozen cauliflower rice makes this extra easy.

Ingredients

  • 3 T olive oil, divided
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • two 12 oz. pkg. frozen cauliflower rice (see notes)
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • generous amount of Sumac for seasoning (or see notes above for other options)

Instructions

  1. Chop onion into medium-sized pieces.
  2. Heat the olive oil, then add onions, turn heat to medium-high and let them cook until they're nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Be sure to turn onions a few times so they don't burn.
  3. While onions cook, break the frozen cauliflower apart inside the bag. (Or if you prefer fresh cauliflower, follow steps below the recipe to make the fresh cauliflower into "rice".)
  4. When onions are nicely browned add the cauliflower and the other tablespoon olive oil, season generously with salt and fresh ground black pepper, and turn heat to high.
  5. Let cauliflower cook, turning often, until liquid has cooked off, and it’s lightly browned and cooked to your liking, probably about 8-9 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle cauliflower generously with Sumac (affiliate link) and serve hot.
  7. I didn’t think it reheated particularly well, so I’d only make as much as I would eat at that meal.

Notes

To make this recipe with fresh cauliflower: Trim leaves and some of the stem from the cauliflower and cut into thick slices. Use a steel blade in the food processor. Add the sliced cauliflower and pulse until the texture resembles rice, or slightly bigger. (You may need to do that in two batches.)

I highly recommend the Sumac (affiliate link)used here to season the cooked cauliflower, but if you don't want to buy that use any of the other options mentioned in this post.

This recipe created by Kalyn, inspired by several rice recipes in cookbooks and on food blogs. 

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 99Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 208mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 3g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!


thumbnail photo for Low-Carb Cauliflower Rice with Fried Onions and Sumac

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Of course Spicy Cauliflower Rice a perfect choice for any low-carb or Keto diet plan, although you might want to use less onion if you’re being really strict on carbs. It would also be approved for all phases of the original South Beach Diet.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Cauliflower Recipes to find more recipes like this one.Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Historical Notes for this Recipe
This recipe was posted in 2010. It was last updated in 2021 with more information about cauliflower rice and other suggested spices to use to flavor the dish.

Pinterest image of Spicy Cauliflower Rice

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    40 Comments on “Spicy Cauliflower Rice”

  1. YUM! This looks amazing and like something my family and I will love. Thank you.

  2. 4.5 minutes is too long. The cauliflower turned to mush, unfortunately.

    • That time was perfect for me. But if your cauliflower was more finely chopped or if your stove is hotter at medium heat that would affect the cooking time. Sorry you had that result. I hope you mashed it and ate it as cauliflower mash!

  3. I use bean sprouts as a "rice" substitute. Especially when cooking Asian food…its actually better than rice i find. LOVE it!

  4. Oh, Kalyn, you thought you were late to the "cauliflower rice" party in 2010, and yet I'm trying to sneak in THREE more years later! Just discovered this excellent way of preparing cauliflower and am now looking for more ways of preparing it..
    Bookmarking this sumac version!

  5. Chad, glad you liked it.

  6. I've made this for the past two nights as part of my low-carb diet (along with doing P90x). The first night I burned the onions (oops). The other batch turned out perfect. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. This sounds really interesting. I have to try it.

  8. Made this last night and already passed the recipe on to friends. SO delicious!! Thanks for posting!

  9. You are welcome, so glad you liked it! Sumac is a middle eastern spice, kind of lemony flavored. I like it a lot, but there are many spices that might taste great sprinkled on this.

  10. I made this last night for supper (sans Sumac as I had no idea what that was!) and it was delicious!! I'm not on the South Beach but I am on the candida diet and I really, really miss rice and couscous (and bread, and vinegar, and fruit… you get the picture).
    Needless to say this made me very, very happy and I'll definitely add this as a dietary staple. Thanks so much for all of your wonderful recipes!!

  11. So happy to hear people are liking this recipe (and the blog) but "I think it's making my life better" might be the best thing I've heard for a long time! Thank You!

  12. I LOVE this recipe. and I love your blog. I've made this several times now and I think it's awesome. Thank you for making this blog. It's a really high quality blog. I love the pictures. And I think it's making my life better. So thanks.

  13. I happen to be a big cauliflower fan so I'm sure I'll enjoy this! I must be late to the party cuz I've never heard of this either, thanks for posting it!

  14. well lucky for me, i love cauliflower!

  15. I just "tricked" my 8 year old daughter with this! When I'm on phase one, she usually ends up with a lot of grilled cheese or hot dogs or "Kids Cuisines" for a couple of weeks… this time she's eating good right along with me, and doesn't even realize it. Thanks for another FANTASTIC idea and recipe.
    PS I never knew I liked cauliflower until I had it boiled, seasoned and fried in butter. (funny how butter makes everything taste great!)

  16. I love roasting my cauliflower so I can imagine this dish to be very yummy!

  17. Thank you for the "rice" recipe! I have a real weakness for rice/pasta but I happen to LOVE cauliflower! Will try this right away!

  18. Oh my. We would love this, Kalyn. I saw it on Tastespotting and just had to check it out. I'm late to the party too – what a great idea!