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Mexican Chicken and “Rice”

mexican chicken and "rice"

This may be one of the worst food photos I’ve ever taken, however, this gluten free, grain free chicken and “rice” dish is packed with protein and spicy Mexican flavor.  It’s not so easy to take pictures of brown stuff; I could say more, however, I won’t go on; let’s just leave it at that.

Since I don’t eat grains, this faux rice is a real treat for me.  My husband liked it too.

Mexican Chicken and Rice


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1 head cauliflower, trimmed
  • 1 (4 ounce) can green chilies, diced
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled and diced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • ground cumin, oregano and chili powder to taste
  • 1 avocado
  • grated cheese, if desired
  • salsa, if desired
  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat
  2. Saute onion over medium heat for 10 minutes, until soft
  3. Add celery to skillet and saute for 5 minutes
  4. Place cauliflower in a food processor with the “S” blade and process until the texture of rice
  5. Add cauliflower to skillet, cover and cook 5-10 minutes, until soft
  6. Mix chilies and chicken into skillet
  7. Stir in salt, cumin, oregano and chili powder
  8. Serve, topping with avocado, cheese and salsa if desired

Note: to make candida friendly serve without cheese

The idea for this Mexican Chicken and Rice came off of a low carb yahoo group in which I participate.  That recipe was shared by a user named “glassmurf.”  Her version used frozen cauliflower, 6 chicken breasts, plus cheese and tomato sauce, so as you can see, I took her basic idea and “Elanafied” it into something that would work for me and my family.  Thank you glassmurf for your excellent inspiration.

And now… for the winner of the 5lb bag of Honeyville blanched almond flour.  That would be Sharon –congratulations!

posted on July 17, 2009, 47 comments

  1. CoconutGal

    Cauli-rice is delicious and so versatile. I can’t wait to try your version of it! It also works quite well marinated overnight in a dressing tossed with other veggies, very easy to pack and take along when traveling. Thanks for the simple and delicious dinner inspiration! Have a nice weekend Elana :-)
    Bake up lots of chocolate chip cookies Sharon!

  2. The picture still looks as yummy as always :)

  3. Steven

    Nice recipe… never tried Cauli-rice…. that is totally new to me. I usually cheat for the regular stuff if I want Asian foods (just can’t eat them without rice), now I have a real alternative.

    Congrats Sharon, that is a nice score.

  4. Mia

    Oh the picture is perfect, and I have also made “cauli-mashed potatoes”, from a tip I read in one of Suzanne Somers books. You really can’t tell the difference…you just process the cauliflower to the consistency of mashed potatoes, and there you have it.

    I laughed @ “Elanafied”, that was cute!

  5. Wow…that is really a cool idea. Sounds great!

  6. Cooking With Dia @ cookingwithdia.com

    The pic is fine, nice DOF, even got some bokeh in there. I’m vegan so I will have to just enjoy your photography this time :)

  7. This recipe sounds fantastic! Perfect for GF as well as low carb-ers. I can’t wait to try it — and I am a cauliflower hater.

  8. PJ

    I use the grating disc in my food processor to grate raw cauliflower, then cook it as I would rice in whatever dish I am preparing. The grating disc makes all the pieces the same size, plus I don’t have to keep watch on the ‘S’ blade’s progress.

  9. Sammy

    I love mexican food so this will be a great treat for me and my family. I also like cooking with celery because it is so healthy. Thanks Elana.

  10. I know what I am making for dinner tomorrow night. Maybe even lunch. Thanks for another wonderful meal creation!

  11. Joey

    Sounds delicious, I have to try it. Thanks again Elana for a wonderful meal creation!

  12. Elisabeth

    Thanks for this recipe! I’ve had a bag of cauliflower in the freezer for a long time (bought it when I thought we really needed to eat some cauliflower even though non of us likes it). Anyway, cooked this up tonight and we all (inc. 3 & 5 year olds) really liked this dish! I didn’t have any green chilis on hand, but used Badia cajun seasoning for the chicken and used salt and pepper to season the whole dish. Yummy!

  13. Sounds wonderful. I keep forgetting about that “cauli-rice.” It’s been on my to-try list for ages.

  14. within the last 2 or so months a broccoli recipe was featured. This recipe was a link to another website. The recipe required that the broccoli was shredded… does anyone remember the site?

  15. Meghan

    I just love your food, and I love the pictures you take.

    I was just wondering how you learned how to take such great pictures. What kind of camera and software do you use?


  16. Christin

    I was wondering why you avoid grain but eat heavy starches like Arrowroot? I stay away from both but was wondering your reasoning? Thanks

  17. I’ve been meaning to try cauli-rice but kept forgetting. Thanks to your post, I picked up a head of cauliflower at the farmers’ market this weekend and have added a “rice” dish to this week’s menu.

  18. Demi in Charlotte, NC

    I just wanted to say how Thrilled I am to have found your website! The mexican “rice” dish is absolutely fabulous!!! Even my husband, who is super picky about what he eats has enjoyed it. We have made it two nights in a row! Thank you!!! :-)

  19. cinnamonquill @ cinnamonquill.com

    Hmm…You say it is a bad photo, and yet it really piqued my appetite! I look forward to trying this.

  20. Joey

    I made this tonight but didn’t use chicken, I used Seitan flavored chicken instead as my hubby won’t eat meat. I have to say the cauliflower was the queen in this dish, it came though nicely and my hubby said “this isn’t rice?” He didn’t believe it. I told him it’s cauliflower. He was pleased because he has issues with digesting starch. Thanks for introducing us to this, we can sub it in other recipes too.

  21. Elana, I am just curious if you can eat quinoa or buckwheat since they aren’t technically grains?

  22. Christina

    This is the first recipe I’ve made from Elana, I made it last night and it was AMAZING, I can’t believe how much the cauliflower mimics rice! So easy and delicious. This is definitely a recipe I will be making often! Thanks Elana!

  23. Emily

    This was dinner tonight. Dinner got 6 out of 5 stars! Yes that is possible!! Both my husband and I agreed on this rating.
    I haven’t been missing grain at all since cutting it out, but this dish made me feel so indulgent! The texture is quite similar to rice and the flavor is delicious! We were “mmm-ing” and “yumm-ing” all through the meal. I didn’t have celery so subbed a diced zucchini, used a fresh chili, both those subs worked out fine. I added blops of guacamole on top as well. We will be eating this one often! xoxo :-)

  24. Robin Casey @ niborah1@yahoo.com

    We just finished this dish. I had a friend over for dinner and she loved it. It was a huge hit and I feel great after eating it. Thank you!

  25. Erin

    Wow! This was incredible. My husband and I both really enjoyed this. Next time I may add cilantro, stuff it in a roasted poblano pepper and melt cheese on my husband’s or put on a little Mexican crema to top it off for a variation. Thanks Elana for another great recipe!

  26. Natasha @ Saved by the Egg Timer @ savedbytheeggtimer.blogspot.com

    I made this tonight, turned out fantastic! I copied recipe, served with sour cream, pepper jack and salsa over top. Used 1 tsp cumin and 2 tsp oregano. Next time for my tastes, I will replace celery with bell peppers, use red onion instead of the yellow I used tonight. I will also add cilantro and squirt of lime at the end too. But great as is too. This was perfect for me, for the rest of my family I served this over brown rice too and they loved it! I am so stuffed, thanks for the great recipe.

    • Natasha @ Saved by the Egg Timer @ savedbytheeggtimer.blogspot.com

      I had to come back and re-comment. I make this all the time. Tonight I added green chilies, red onion, fire roasted tomatoes, cumin, paprika and jalepeno powder. Served over basmati rice for some of the family. Topped with Kerry Gold aged chedder, cultured sour cream, cilantro, green onions and lime juice. SO good, we all love it.

  27. Maria L


    Made this last night for a dinner party- got great reviews & definitely a KEEPER.

  28. Larry Sixon @ apps.facebook.com

    Thanks for that info, very interesting. I get bored of plain rice recipes but i’m not very skilled in the kitchen. There’s tonnes of easy ideas at this rice recipes homepage I found that your readers might find useful too.

  29. katie h

    Elana – Thank you so much for posting and creating this recipe!! I was in need of something new to make and tried it a couple days ago. Not only was it very easy to make, it is soooo good! My mother and I made it and have been enjoying it together and we both LOVE it!!

  30. Rosa

    I really loved this recipe. It’s incredibly flavorful and yet so healthy! I love the combination of spices you chose as well. Instead of the canned chili peppers, I used one frozen green chili pepper, chopped up. I also added a bit of garlic just because I like the added nutritional value. I also opted out on the cheese and avocado because they weren’t necessary. This will be a good favorite for sometime. Thank you for offering such a delicious recipe that doesn’t leave me feeling guilty for eating!

  31. jb

    WONDERFUL. Thank you. My eyes have missed rice but there is not a single thing to miss in this recipe. I’m very thankful I’ve stumbled across your blog!!

  32. Kasey Paulus

    I love this recipe! I added a red pepper as well so it had a little color :)

  33. Beth @ Running on Cloud Nine @ runningoncloudnine.com

    Thanks for this great recipe, Elana! I made this and your Green Chili Turkey Burgers and blogged positively about both. I was curious to see what the nutritional difference was between cauli-rice and regular white rice and did a comparison chart of the two. The cauli-rice wins hands-down for it’s fiber, vitamin c and potassium. It is MUCH lower in both calories and carbs compared to white rice, too. I made it with the grating disc in my food processor and found that to work perfectly.

  34. Marie

    Wow this was seriously delicious! I made the cauli-rice per the recipe and baked the chicken breasts in green enchilada sauce, then cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and served it with some of the sauce over the rice. I topped it with a dollop of Greek yogurt, in lieu of sour cream, and garnished it with avocado slices. Even my non-GF husband devoured it! This will definitely be a new dinner staple.. Thank you Elana for all your amazing recipes!

  35. Joey @ joeydiva.com


    The rice is such a brilliant idea!

    Since I don’t have a food processor, I grated the cauliflower instead and made a lovely ‘pilau rice’ with salmon, so thanks again!


  36. Lindsay

    This was so good! Made some modifications based on what I like, which is why I love your recipes Elana! You can really make them yours! I cooked the onion and the cut up chicken together in the pan, added a can of drained black beans, half a bell pep, and 2 zucchini in at the same time. And cooked til soft/heated thru. Added 1/2 t garlic powder, onion powder, 1 t oregano, smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin and then added in the chopped cauliflower and mixed and cooked til heated thru. Then turned off the heat and added a bunch of chopped cilantro and served w salsa avocado and shredded cheese.

  37. Helen Raymond

    I made this as my first “Paleo” meal and it was great! LOVE the cauliflower as rice substitute – brilliant!

  38. Sara

    Wonderful recipe. I’d say the “rice” is more quinoa consistency. It’s absolutely delicious!

  39. Amy Heflin

    Made this last night and loved it! I didn’t have avocado and celery, but I used Ortego taco Sauce which I love.

  40. Mariana

    Seriously Yummy!

    Just tried this recipe last night.
    Little burnt out on chicken dishes, so I subsituted chicken with browned ground turkey and lean ground beef. (.5lb of each) Topped off with Avacado.

    Came out great!
    Highly recommend this recipe.

    FYI, for the spices I used 1 teaspoon each, flavor was nicely balanced.

  41. Bettina Stewart

    Cannot wait to try this recipe this week along with your apple crisp! Looks so delicious-love your blog! Your recipes always come out wonderful.

  42. Wow! Looking delicious. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe. Next month my birthday is coming so I think it would be a great dinner party recipe.

  43. Ashley

    This recipe was amazing! My husband is a very meat and potatoes man and he even enjoyed it and requests it often. thanks!

  44. Jennifer

    This is one of our favorites! Served it with fried plantains tonight!

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Comments are greatly appreciated! Unfortunately Elana is not able to answer substitution questions, as the only way to know if something works is to test it, and she does not provide this service. If you have a substitution question, please don't hesitate to leave a comment here, and another reader may jump in to answer. ↑ back to top