Paleo DIrty Rice

Paleo Dirty Rice

Did you know that you can use cauliflower as a substitute for rice? This Paleo Dirty Rice recipe is made with low-carb cauliflower. For those avoiding starchy high-carb foods such as white rice, cauliflower rice is a wonderful alternative that is highly nutritious.

What are the health benefits of cauliflower? Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. These substances help detoxify the body. Cauliflower is also full of vitamin C, vitmain K, Omega 3’s, and good fiber. Because it is both nutritious and low-carb, cauliflower is a great food if you are on a keto diet. For more low-carb recipes see my Ketogenic Diet Recipes page.

Over here? We just can’t get enough cauliflower. Even my children like  Paleo Dirty Rice. We had this spicy paleo side dish with the Turkey Loaf recipe from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook, and the boys and their friends loved both dishes!

Print Recipe
Paleo Dirty Rice
  • 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
  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet
  2. Add garlic, onion, celery, peppers, and scallions and saute until soft
  3. Stir in riced cauliflower, thyme, bay leaf, salt, pepper, chili, and cumin
  4. Add chicken stock
  5. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently for 30 minutes or until liquid is cooked down
  6. Serve

After I created my Paleo Cauliflower Rice recipe last year, I received many requests for flavored paleo rice recipes. When I saw that Paleo Comfort Foods had a recipe for Dirty Rice, I knew I’d have to make my own version. This dish is based on theirs.

Here are some of my other low-carb recipes that use cauliflower:


  1. Joni Renee Zalk says

    I used number 4 on my vitamin to make it the right consistency… I put some away, and some of it I mixed with scrambled eggs and added salsa and eggs.

  2. jenn says

    Ok I’ve never been in love with cauliflower but am trying to force myself to eat it. Made this with purple cauliflower, didn’t have celery or scallions but this still came out really good! I def think I added a little too much broth because it took forever to cook down (and is a tad mushy) but the flavor is nice. Cauliflower is growing on me! Thanks!

  3. Lisa says

    This was delicious – my husband was doubtful, but it is now his favorite side dish. Even our 8 year old loved it. Very flavorful and easy. Thanks!

  4. Susan says

    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.

  5. Tonya says

    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!

  6. Mendee says

    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!

  7. Martha says

    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?

  8. Liese says

    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?

  9. diana says

    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

  10. Tess says

    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!

  11. says

    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!

  12. Cher says

    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!

  13. says

    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 :)

  14. Jenny says

    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!

  15. says

    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.

  16. says

    Hi Elana – this recipe looks delicious! I posted a cauliflower rice dish on my blog ( 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!

  17. Bev says

    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!

  18. Lisa says

    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.

  19. Annie says

    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.

  20. says

    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.

  21. Stacey says

    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?

  22. says

    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

  23. Keri says

    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.

  24. Carol Kintigh says

    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!!

  25. Mary says

    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!

    • says

      You’re right, of course, Mary, chicken stock is not vegan, but I don’t think this recipe claimed to be vegan. Elana mentioned serving it with turkey meatloaf, as well.

      One could substitute vegetable broth and be good to go if vegan is the goal.

  26. Kris says

    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!

    • says

      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!

  27. loligoss says


    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.

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