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Paleo Dirty Rice

paleo cauliflower dirty rice gluten-free grain-free recipe

Using anitoxidant rich low-carb cauliflower, this dirty rice recipe makes one heck of a savory Paleo side dish.

For those avoiding starchy high carb foods such as white rice, cauliflower rice is a wonderful alternative that is highly nutritious.

When I posted my recipe for Cauliflower Rice a year ago, I received numerous requests for various flavored varieties of that dish. So when I opened one of my new favorite books, Paleo Comfort Foods and saw that they had a recipe for Dirty Rice, I knew I’d have to make my own version.

Do you like your rice dirty? According to Wikipedia, “Dirty rice is a traditional Cajun dish made from white rice cooked with small pieces of chicken liver or giblets, which give it a dark (“dirty”) color and a mild but distinctive flavor.” I turned my Dirty Rice into a vegetarian Paleo side dish, by leaving out the giblets, which while quite nutritious are not my favorite thing. My rice gets its dirty color from an abundance of antioxidant rich spices.

Even my children like Cajun dirty rice. In fact, we had this for dinner last Friday with the boys and 4 of their friends. I served my Dirty Rice with the Turkey Loaf recipe from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook, and when all was said and done, not a drop of either remained.

Paleo Dirty Rice

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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 cup green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup red pepper, diced
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 3 cups cauliflower, riced with your food processor or box grated
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock (thanks Mary)
  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet
  2. Add garlic, onion, celery, peppers and scallions; saute until soft
  3. Stir in riced cauliflower, adding thyme, bay leaf, salt, pepper, chili and cumin
  4. Add in the chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  5. Allow to simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes or so or until liquid is cooked down

Serves 4-6

What are the health benefits of cauliflower? First, cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable. That is a good thing because cruciferous veggies help with the detoxification of the body. Cauliflower is also full of antioxdiants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Finally, cauliflower is full of vitamin C, vitmain K, Omega 3’s and good fiber. Over here? We just can’t get enough cauliflower.

Here are my other rice recipes that use cauliflower as their base:

What type/flavor of cauliflower rice recipe would you like to see here next?


posted on September 20, 2011, 47 comments

  1. loligoss

    Elana,

    Served your broccoli roasted (also made cauliflower roasted) and everyone said that it was so much better than cooked/steamed.

    I am so going to serve the “dirty” rice on Rosh Hashana.

    Thanks for your great ideas.

  2. Kris

    Oh wow! I’ve just gone paleo, like, two weeks ago (after a brief transitional period of trying low carb and getting sick of recipes using artificial sweeteners and crap wherever I looked), and am still very much in the reading-up-phase, and more or less re-learning to cook without trying to focus on “substituting”, but more on using what I’ve got and what I know will be good for me. Your blog has kept me fascinated and entertained all morning, and there are so many things I just can’t wait to try. In fact, I think I may go out and buy a cauliflower right now. If it’s not going to be the dirty rice, it’s going to be the Mexican chicken — or a combination thereof. Thank you so much for this — I think I may become regular!

    • Primal Toad @ primaltoad.com

      I think you will become a regular too. And, you still stay paleo for life. You may go through a period like I did where you binge eat on crap for a few months but then you come back and you come back stronger forever. The community is way too damn awesome to NOT be with! Good luck on your primal journey!

  3. Mary

    My vegetarian SIL would not be happy with me if I gave him something with chicken stock in it. Being a meat eater myself, I wasn’t aware it was OK to use chicken stock in vegan meals!

  4. Carol Kintigh

    Do you “rice” the caulflower while it is raw, or is it pre-cooked and then “riced?” Sounds yummy! Can’t wait to try it!!

  5. Keri

    Looks spectacularly yummy. I’m new to the ricing technique and am wondering if a food mill with a coarse blade could also do the job here.

  6. Chris Armstrong @ celiachandbook.com

    This is perfect Elana! Who needs real rice?

  7. Alisa Fleming @ alisacooks.com

    I LOVE cauliflower rice, but this version really takes it to the next level Elana!

  8. Niki of Spilled Ingredients @ spilledingredients.com

    What a cool way to highlight the versatility of cauliflower. I’ll be giving this a try – my new favorite veggie broth is to use Rapunzel (all natural, no MSG) cubes – dissolve in boiling water and ta-da, best.broth.ever!

  9. gluten free gift @ glutenfreegift.blogspot.com

    Hi Elana – I am loving this blog!! I have just posted about it with a link on glutenfreegift… I do hope that you will check it out. I have enjoyed a number of your recipes (delivered to my door!) – please take a look… actually your work is noted in two postings… because the muffins on the post below are also from your blog.
    Mille grazie! Claudine

  10. Stacey

    Yes, I can’t wait ot try this! I just started paleo. Thanks for your wonderful cookbook and recipes from others that you post Elana. :) I would also like to know if you “rice” the cauliflower while raw or cooked?

  11. Jany@SuperCuteCookies @ supercutecookies.com

    That looks so yummy; I can’t wait to try this!

  12. Love love love this! I’ve been eating grain-free, and this is such a big change for me that I need lots of new ideas. Will definitely make this.

  13. Annie

    This sounds yummy. You asked about other type/flavours for Cauliflower. I tried this last weekend and it was Great. ‘Rice’ cauliflower with some Cilantro and Cashew nuts. Add some grated ginger and eat as a salad or heat for 1-2 minutes to eat as a ‘fried’ rice.

  14. I made this very tasty dish and besides that’s is so easy to make, it is really delicious and healthy. Thank you Elana!
    I put a link in my blog to your recipe.

  15. Lisa

    I use cooked cauliflower as a base for Indian dishes, but my favorite is to chop my cauliflower into small pieces, steam it, and top with peanut sauce (and chicken if you like). I don’t measure, but my peanut sauce is approximately 3 parts peanut butter, 1 part mustard, a generous slug of tamari (or soy sauce if you’re not gluten free), chipotle or cayenne to taste, and enough water to thin it enough to pour. Fresh chopped tomatoes are nice on top if you have ‘em.

  16. Patricia

    Can you elaborate on a recipe for curry cauliflower rice? I would love it!

  17. Caroline

    We just had this for dinner… Another great recipe Elana! I added mushrooms.
    Thanks for sharing.

  18. Bev

    Elana,
    You;ve turned me on to this “rice”. Love it!
    Would love to see something with an asian flavor or maybe just along side a “healthy version” of asian lettuce wraps.
    Thank you for this site. It’s been a great help with big life change for me!

  19. Hi Elana – this recipe looks delicious! I posted a cauliflower rice dish on my blog (www.againstallgrain.com) recently too, only it was an Indian flavored one to go with a dairy free Chicken Tikka Masala.

    I am going to try yours this week!

  20. Karen @ !

    This paleo dirty rice was so yummy!
    I made this today and my husband and I were quite impressed. We are tying to be primal/paleo and found this on a google search.
    I did add a bit more seasoning. I like things spicy!
    Been reading your blog and have tried a couple of other recipies. They are awesomeQ
    Thanks for all of your hard work.

  21. Jenny

    Oh man, I am so making this tonight! But I think I’ll add some Boulder Sausage Italian sausage for the protein. I can’t believe I haven’t thought of making this considering how much I make basic cauli rice (at least 4 times a week). Thanks again Elana!

  22. I made this dish for dinner the other night. I wanted to make it a main rather than a side so I added some baby swiss chard, a can of tuna and some fresh lemon juice. The “rice” was really more “couscous”-like but worth the experiment. It was good :)

  23. Cher

    YUM! Tried it in the rice cooker…sauted the veggies first then dumped everything +leftover chicken chunks in the rice cooker…tured out too liquidy, so we called it soup, but it was GOOD! Making again today, but as soup on purpose with a little extra turkey sausage sliced in it…my house smells divine!

  24. Laura (NourishandBloom) @ NourishHealandBloom.blogspot.com

    This looks awesome! Can’t wait to try it! I’m a big cauli-mashed fan so this is right up my alley. Glad I found you on Twitter and now found your great blog … beautiful photography too! Love it. : )

  25. This looks and sounds incredible – looking forward to trying it! Thanks again, Elena…

  26. Anastasia@healthymamainfo.com @ Healthymamainfo.com

    Thank you for sharing such a bright idea!

  27. sounds and looks yummy, Melissa S just turned me on to your website and receipes, thanks.

  28. This looks yummy! In regards to your question…What type/flavor of cauliflower rice recipe would you like to see here next? How about cauliflower crust pizza, made with cooked mashed cauliflower, eggs, cheese and seasoning. Pre-baked to set the crust, then add cheese and your choice of toppings, place it back in the oven to heat through and melt cheese.
    Delish!!

  29. I was surprised by this recipe! My husband and I both liked it quite a bit, and he is a professed cauliflower hater.

    The texture of mine very much resembled couscous (perhaps I pulsed the cauliflower in the food processor a bit too much) and I made a couple substitutions based on what I had on hand (oregano instead of thyme, red and yellow bell peppers instead of green) but I thought the flavor was quite nice. I really would not call it a substitute for rice — the flavor of the cauliflower is mild and works well with the spices, but it is still cauliflower — but that being said it is a delicious cauliflower dish, and could easily be adapted for many other spices and flavors.

    Thank you, Elena!

  30. Tess

    I’ve made this recipe 5 or 6 times now. I have served it with chicken and shrimp or just served it by itself. It is DELICIOUS and completely fool proof. Thank you!

  31. diana

    Very interesting receipes i like it i am having fun with new receipes and enjoying and losing weight at the same time… :-) thanks

    Diana Esqueda

  32. Liese

    Love this recipe. Made it and the family raved!
    It doesn’t say. But do you put a lid on it while it’s simmering?

  33. Jonathan

    You ought to try Miracle Rice it has no calories.

  34. Martha

    How do you “rice” the cauliflower? I have a smaller (large) food processor with pulse and on….do you blanch the cauliflower prior to “ricing” it?

  35. jlhubb

    I have this all prepped and ready to make for dinner! Can’t wait for the results. Thanks so much for the recipe. Love the Paleo Comfort Food’s version, but this will be nice to have with other meats (tonight will be salmon patties).

  36. I love cauliflower rice recipes! One of the favorites at my house is Paleo Chipotle. http://www.livingcrunchy.com/2012/07/paleo-chipotle/

  37. Mendee

    Hi Elana,
    I tried your dirty rice recipe today for Thanksgiving because I wanted to do something resembling dressing but can’t have any kind of grain. I followed your recipe loosely and then seasoned it up like the dressing my family has cooked for years. Not only was it divine, even the texture was remarkably similar to real cornbread dressing. I was thrilled!!! My family raved about it too. Thanks for the recipe!

  38. Tonya

    Tried this last week and loved it! My picky children didn’t like it as much as my husband and I but they will just have to learn to love it because we will be having this again soon and often!

  39. Elena, this went just perfectly with your spicy chicken with grilled lemon! Thanks for the great recipes!

  40. Susan

    I’m really excited to try this. Making healthy changes in my eating. Going completely Paleo almost impossible due to my daughter’s coconut allergy and the fact that a TON of Paleo recipes use coconut or coconut derivatives (ie. Coconut sugar, coconut flour, coconut milk, coconut oil, etc), and trying to make substitutions for all of it is exhausting. But, this one is definitely doable.

    Oh…and just a little tidbit of information…One piece of celery is a rib. A stalk is the entire bunch. When writing a recipe fornothers to use, i feel it’s important to use the correct terminology. Okay…that sounds snotty…lol. But it’s not meant that way. Sorry…I need coffee. Lol.

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