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Low-Carb Cauliflower Rice with Fried Onions and Sumac

 Low-Carb Cauliflower Rice with Fried Onions and Sumac is a delicious side dish that’s also low-glycemic, dairy-free, gluten-free, Paleo, Whole 30, and vegan! Use the Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.

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Low-Carb Cauliflower Rice with Fried Onions and Sumac found on KalynsKitchen.com

When I heard about the now-famous cauliflower “mashed potatoes” the idea didn’t appeal to me until I tried Pureed Cauliflower with Garlic, Parmesan, and Goat Cheese and realized how good it could be as a delicious cauliflower dish, and not a substitute for mashed potatoes. I feel the same way about the idea of this Low-Carb Cauliflower Rice with Fried Onions and Sumac. Although the name is useful to give an idea of the texture of this dish, it’s cauliflower, plain and simple. If you don’t like cauliflower, you’re not going to like this.

However, if you’re someone like me who likes cauliflower a lot, you might really enjoy this idea of grating up cauliflower so it’s in small pieces (like rice, but I like mine a bit larger than grains of rice.) I spiced it up a bit with fried onions and Sumac, and both those things added a lot of flavor.

Cauliflower rice can be great served underneath something in the way you would use rice, and I ate some of the West African Chicken and Peanut Stew on top of this and really enjoyed it.

Low-Carb Cauliflower Rice with Fried Onions and Sumac found on KalynsKitchen.com

Start the onion first because it took nearly 10 minutes to get the onion as browned as I wanted. Be sure your onion is chopped into very small pieces. Heat the olive oil, then add onions, turn heat to medium and let them cook while you prep the cauliflower, Be sure to turn them a few times so they don’t burn.I do think this is best freshly made, so cook as much as you’ll eat. I used half a head of cauliflower to make 2 servings. Start by removing the leaves and most of the core, then slicing the cauliflower into slices.

I saw various methods for grating the cauliflower, including a hand grater and grating in a food processor, but the method I liked best was using the food processor steel blade and pulsing until it was in small pieces. (You can also use purchased chopped cauliflower rice. I haven’t tried this with frozen cauliflower rice but it would probably work too.) Don’t get carried away with the pulsing or you’ll be on your way to cauliflower puree. I’ve made this a few times now and find I prefer a rough chop, with a few pieces that are slightly larger. By now the onions should be getting nicely browned. Add the cauliflower on top of the onions. (I didn’t need more oil, but you might if your pan sticks.)

Turn the heat to medium-high and cook the cauliflower, turning every minute or so. I seasoned this with a generous amount of salt and fresh ground black pepper while it cooked, but didn’t add the Sumac until I plated it. I like cauliflower with a slight bite to it, similar to “al dente” pasta, but I also wanted this to be lightly browned like you see in this photo. I cooked it nearly 5 minutes, but take a taste and see when you think it’s done.

Low-Carb Cauliflower Rice with Fried Onions and Sumac found on KalynsKitchen.com

Make it a Meal: This would be a great side dish for West African Chicken and Peanut Stew with Chiles, Ginger, and Green Onions.

More Low-Carb Cauliflower Recipes To Try:

Cheesy Baked Cauliflower Tots from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Cauliflower Hummus from A Veggie Venture
Mashed Cauliflower with Cheese and Dill from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Paleo Dirty Rice from Elana’s Pantry
Twice Baked Cauliflower from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Low-Carb Cauliflower Rice with Fried Onions and Sumac

Low-Carb Cauliflower Rice with Fried Onions and Sumac is a delicious side dish.


  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced small
  • 1/2 large head cauliflower, chopped in food processor or grated by hand so the texture resembles rice
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Sumac for seasoning (optional; see notes)


  1. Chop onion into very small dice.
  2. Heat olive oil in small but heavy frying pan, add onion, turn heat to medium and let onions cook while you prep the cauliflower.
  3. Be sure to watch and turn onions a few times so they don’t burn.
  4. While onions cook, cut a large head of cauliflower in half.
  5. Remove leaves and most of the core from the half you’re using, then cut into slices about 1/2 inch thick.
  6. Put in food processor fitted with steel blade and gently pulse until cauliflower has a texture somewhat similar to rice.
  7. I like to leave it a bit more chunky rather than finely chopped, so consider the texture you’d like when you’re eating it and pulse to that point. (The cauliflower can also be grated on the large side of a hand grater or grated using the tube on a food processor)
  8. When onions are nicely browned (about 8-10 minutes) add the cauliflower, season generously with salt and fresh ground black pepper, and turn heat to medium high.
  9. Let cauliflower cook, turning often, until it’s lightly browned and cooked to your liking.
  10. I prefer a slight bite to the cauliflower, and cooked it about 4 1/2 minutes.
  11. Put cauliflower on plate, sprinkling with Sumac or other seasonings of your choice.
  12. This is great served under stir-fries, curries, stews, or other vegetables.
  13. Serve hot.
  14. I didn’t think it reheated particularly well, so I’d only make as much as I would eat at that meal.


You could also use sweet paprika or even Spike Seasoning.

This recipe adapted by Kalyn from many inspiring recipes in cookbooks and on food blogs.


All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Of course this  Low-Carb Cauliflower Rice with Fried Onions and Sumac is a perfect choice for any phase of the South Beach Diet or most any type of low-carb diet plan.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more 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.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

Low-Carb Cauliflower Rice with Fried Onions and Sumac found on KalynsKitchen.com

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38 comments on “Low-Carb Cauliflower Rice with Fried Onions and Sumac”

  1. 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!

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

  3. 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!

  4. Chad, glad you liked it.

  5. 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!

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

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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!!

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. well lucky for me, i love cauliflower!

  14. 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!)

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

  16. 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!

  17. 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!

  18. I love the idea of cauliflower with fried onions and sumac! But I might be lazy and just steam coarsdly chopped cauliflower and toss it in the caramelized onions and then sprinkle the dish with sumac. (I adore sumac and have only relatively recently discovered how wonderful it is.)

  19. Yum! Looks and sounds delicious! Saving this recipe, thank you!

  20. You may already know….but I just got my Penzey's catalog and they now have "sumac."


  21. Daily Chef, glad you liked it, and I think under curry or stew is the perfect way to eat this, as long as you have flavors that blend with cauliflower.

    Joanne, thanks. Fun to hear from a non-dieter who likes this too.

    Anon, no one has called me sugar for a long time now! Definitely you're going to survive (and thrive!)

    Diane, I like it a lot, but you do have to be sure you like cauliflower, and if you're serving it under something it has to blend with the flavor of cauliflower.

    Maria, not sure if this will fly for someone who doesn't like cauliflower, let me know.

    Christine Sumac tastes a bit like lemon with a slight bitter undertaste, very good!

  22. I'm a cauliflower lover – mashed, pureed, steamed, roasted – I love it all. This is a great recipe that I'm sure I'll use often. I've never tried sumac but if you like it, I think I would too. 🙂

  23. Love this recipe. Josh doesn't like cauliflower but maybe I can trick him with this dish:)

  24. I'm with the others that mashed cauliflower never appealed to. I am however very intrigued by this recipe. I can't eat rice so this could be just the substitute I've been looking for. I usually use quinoa but this could rock my world. Just came home with a new head of cauliflower and will be making this on Monday!

  25. This sounds so delicious.

    Sugar,I think you're going to help me survive this diet.

  26. I actually love cauliflower rice (or I just love cauliflower) even though I am nowhere near a South Beat Diet lifestyle. I love the spices you topped it with. Delicious.

  27. Wow. This was delicious. I don't follow the south-beach diet, which allowed me some liberty with the curry I had the rice with…and it was amazing! thanks!

  28. Karina, thank you! I definitely liked it; perfect to serve with curry.

    Nicole, glad you like the sound of it.

    Ricki, sounds interesting.

    Year on the Grill, not too bad with the food processor, but by hand I think it would be a messy job.

    Dara, I really like it chunky like in this photo. I agree, cauliflower is good with so many flavors.

    PJ glad you like it, and such a great way to use Sumac.

    Hippie Family, good timing, huh?

    Ross, glad it was a hit.

    Amy, thanks for sharing that. So nice to know that the food is appealing even to people who aren't dieting.

  29. Even though I don't follow South Beach, your blog is my favorite for healthy new recipes. Thank you so much for all you do! My family and I are healthier because of your great recipes.

  30. This one's a hit in my household. Wife thought it was couscous at first. Thanks, Kalyn!

  31. I just heard about this! I can't wait to try it and the recipe was almost hand delivered!!

  32. cauliflower rice is such a great idea! you have cooked it to perfection so it still retains a very fluffy texture like real rice. I love sumac on pretty much everything, great recipe, thanks for sharing!

  33. I have come to appreciate the flavor of cauliflower over the last several years. In particular, I like how easily it pairs with so many herbs, cheeses, and other vegetables. I'm very intrigued by the texture of this dish and am looking forward to trying it.

  34. I have had them, and they do take quite a bit of work, But they sure are worth it when lots of goodies are tossed in… like these

  35. Sounds wonderful. I love new ways to use cauliflower! I didn't like mashed cauliflower, either, until I pureed it with roasted parsnip and some white beans (yum). Have you tried the raw cauliflower "fried rice"? Also quite delicious!

  36. Love this idea! I'm a big fan of cauliflower and I only recently tried it pureed (and loved it). I'm gonna give this a try next! 🙂

  37. The idea of mashed cauliflower never appealed to me either until I saw your pureed cauliflower with garlic, Parmesan and goat cheese. I bet this recipe is a winner, too. Sounds fabulous.

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