Side DishFreezer-friendlyQuick and EasyLow CarbCauliflower
Cauliflower rice with spinach and fresh herbs is a healthy, quick, and easy weeknight side or main meal. Add some extra heft to this recipe by topping it with a fried egg, adding some tofu, or using it as the foundation for a burrito bowl.
My friend Erin introduced me to green cauliflower rice. She brought my family a meal when our baby girl was just two weeks old, and it was truly the best gift anyone could give us. She prepared some chicken drumsticks, along with a generous serving of cauliflower rice, studded with green onions and spinach.
This is my take on Erin’s version of green cauliflower rice, with a generous handful of chopped herbs thrown in at the end for even more flavor. I usually add cilantro, so the “rice” pairs well with Asian and Mexican-inspired meals. You can sub in flat leaf parsley to go with Italian food, or a mixture of parsley, dill, and/or mint for a Mediterranean or Middle Eastern meal.
This recipe uses frozen chopped spinach, which you’ll defrost in the microwave before adding to the skillet with the other ingredients. Once you microwave the spinach, squeeze out as much liquid as you can—this will make for tastier cauliflower rice!
WHAT IS CAULIFLOWER RICE?
Cauliflower rice isn’t really rice at all. It’s just cauliflower, broken down into little bits that somewhat resemble rice grains or couscous. You can chop the cauliflower up with a knife, run it over a box grater, or make fast work of it with a food processor. A lot of people eat cauliflower rice as a low-carb substitute for regular rice, and when it’s prepared the right way, it can be totally delicious!
You can find cauliflower already riced in the freezer section of most grocery stores, or make it at home. Just follow our recipe on How to Make Cauliflower Rice.
WAYS TO ADAPT THIS RECIPE
This green cauliflower rice gets its color from spinach, green onions, and fresh cilantro. Feel free to experiment with adding other vegetables, too.
- Add finely chopped red or yellow onions, or shallots.
- Add minced garlic or ginger.
- Throw in colorful veggies like bell peppers or carrots.
- Try different leafy greens like arugula or kale; just make sure they’re finely chopped.
- If you’re not a fan of cilantro, use your favorite herb.
HOW TO MAKE CAULIFLOWER RICE A MEAL
You can serve cauliflower rice with any meal that you’d otherwise pair with regular rice. I like to have it as a side dish along with pulled pork, roasted chicken, or baked salmon. It’s also a fantastic base for a burrito bowl, with beans and all of the usual burrito fixings piled on top.
HOW TO STORE AND FREEZE CAULIFLOWER RICE
You can store your cauliflower rice in the refrigerator for up to four days—it heats up great in the microwave or in a skillet on the stove. You can also freeze it in zip-top bags or other freezer-safe containers for up to two months, then reheat in the microwave.
MORE GREAT WAYS TO EAT CAULIFLOWER
- Best Cauliflower Pizza Crust
- Cauliflower Gnocchi (Trader Joe’s Copycat)
- Cauliflower Steak Sandwiches
- Cauliflower Fried “Rice”
- Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes” with Brown Butter
- Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos with Ranch Sauce
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Green Cauliflower Rice Recipe
- Prep time: 10 minutes
- Cook time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
- 3 tablespoons water
- 8 ounces (half of a 1-pound bag) frozen chopped spinach
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- 1 pound cauliflower rice, homemade or store-bought, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro or flat leaf parsley
1 Cook the spinach: In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the water evenly over the spinach. Cover the bowl with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap, and microwave at high heat for 3-4 minutes, depending on the strength of your microwave, until the spinach is fully thawed and steaming hot. Transfer the spinach to a colander or mesh strainer, and use the back of a spoon to squeeze out as much moisture as you can.
2 Sauté onions: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the green onions and sauté until they are softened and translucent, about 2 minutes.
3 Cook the cauliflower rice: Add the cauliflower rice, salt, and pepper and sauté another 5 minutes, until the cauliflower is cooked through and you’re starting to see a little bit of browning on the green onions. Add the spinach and sauté for 2 more minutes. Turn off the heat, then stir in the chopped herbs. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and/or pepper if needed.
4 Serve: Remove from heat and serve right away or cool to room temperature. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
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Author of The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook and The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook. A self-taught cook and classically-trained soprano, Coco Morante writes and sings in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her husband and their beagle. For more recipes, visit her blog, Lefty Spoon.
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