Looking for a new way to cook cauliflower rice? I usually use it in my Cauliflower “Fried” Rice because I think the soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari) completely masks the flavor of the cauliflower, as it also does in my Cauliflower Rice Jambalaya, but every now and then I want a different flavor profile. This time, I decided to give the cauliflower rice a Mexican flair with this Mexican Cauliflower Rice Casserole.
This Cauliflower Rice Casserole is:
- An easy skillet meal, requiring just 30 minutes of hands-on preparation
- Slightly spicy, which you can adjust to your tastes as you go
- Loaded with healthy vegetables
- Vegetarian, but you can make it vegan if you omit the eggs and cheese or you can add meat, if you prefer. Make it your own!
- Higher in protein, thanks to the addition of protein-rich eggs, without becoming a frittata. (They pretty much go undetected in this dish.)
- A delicious cross between taco filling and a Mexican Lasagna
In this casserole, the cauliflower rice is almost reminiscent of taco meat thanks to its ground texture and spices. I used Trader Joe’s prepared Cauliflower Rice for convenience, but you can easily make your own by processing cauliflower florets and stems in a food processor, or grating them using the large holes on a box grater.
I made this casserole using fresh tomatoes the first time around, but the flavor wasn’t nearly as good as the second time when I used a box of Pomi chopped tomatoes. I think the boxed tomatoes have a more concentrated flavor, which again helps to hide any “cauliflower flavor” that you might want to avoid, but feel free to use fresh tomatoes if they are in season where you live.
To make this dish heartier and more casserole-like, I added eggs for protein and topped it off with a layer of cheese. It bakes to perfection for a comforting vegetable-packed meal, but if you’d prefer to skip the eggs and cheese, you can simply serve it as a Vegan Mexican Cauliflower Rice Stir-Fry once the vegetables are all tender. (It’s done a lot faster that way, too!) Perhaps top it off with a creamy sweet potato cheese sauce? Or a sprinkling of Cashew Parmesan? These dairy-free options would make it Paleo-friendly, too.
However you serve this Mexican-inspired cauliflower rice casserole, I hope you’ll enjoy it.
Mexican Cauliflower Rice Casserole
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 red onion , chopped
- 1 bell pepper , chopped
- 1 jalapeno , diced, white pith and seeds removed
- 1 clove garlic , minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 (26.5 oz) box chopped tomatoes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 pound cauliflower rice
- 3 eggs , beaten
- 2 to 3 ounces goat cheddar cheese , shredded
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Heat the olive oil in a deep oven-safe skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat and saute the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add in the garlic, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper, if using, and saute for one more minute. Add in the chopped tomatoes, salt, and cauliflower rice and stir well. Once the tomatoes start simmering, lower the heat and cover the pan to let the vegetables cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Once tender, turn off the heat, remove the lid and give the vegetables a stir. Adjust any seasoning to taste then add in the beaten eggs. Stir well to make sure the eggs are well incorporated throughout the vegetables. Top with a sprinkling of cheese, then place the pan in the oven to bake for 30 minutes at 350ºF.
- The casserole is done when the eggs are cooked through and the cheese is bubbly and staring to turn golden. Let the casserole rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Per Serving: Calories: 122, Fat: 7g, Carbohydrates: 9g, Fiber: 3g, Protein: 6g
- I haven’t tried this recipe using frozen cauliflower rice, but I would guess it would have a similar result to using the fresh version. Let me know if you try it!
- If you are trying to avoid nightshades, you might want to try using my Tomato-less Marinara Sauce instead of the chopped tomatoes in this recipe. (And then just skip the bell peppers, too.)
- As always, if you try another other substitutions, please let us know in the comments below so that others can benefit from your experience.
Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite way to cook with cauliflower rice?
Questions and Reviews
This recipe sounds great, as usual! 🙂 Would you have any recommendations on an egg replacement for someone who is allergic? Thanks!
I’d just leave them out!
I know that chia seeds could be used as substitute for egg
I wonder if replacing the diced tomatoes with salsa would give it a nice flavor and a little kick? I’ve substituted it in a lentil stew and it was a delicious exchange.
Yes, I think that would be delicious! But in that case, I’d reduce the salt in the recipe since the tomatoes I used have no salt added, and salsa usually is already very well seasoned.
Would a VeganEgg (https://followyourheart.com/veganegg/) work in this recipe? It works well in basic egg recipes, like scrambling and baking. I am currently on an egg-free diet for health reasons.
Made this tonight for dinner. I loved it!
I used frozen organic cauliflower florets and just sat them out on counter for a little bit to defrost then pulsed them to a rice in the food processor. I also used canned peeled organic tomatoes. It was perfect! Thanks again!!
How many heads of cauliflour did you use?
Made this last night for dinner, using Trader Joe’s organic frozen cauliflower, sooo delicious. Was hoping for leftovers for lunch today, but that pot was wiped clean!
Sounds delicious! If adding chicken, would you cook it with the veggies before baking? Or cook it separate & then add before baking? Thanks in advance for the help!
I’d just cook it with the veggies!
Hi Megan! Where do you buy your goat cheddar?
Whole foods usually carries the raw versions, but Trader Joe’s sells a pasteurized goat cheddar by the block, too!
I made it with a bag of frozen TJ cauliflower and it worked great ( also great recipe to use as a base for paleo jambalaya or paella )
Love your recipes!
This looks delicious! Do you think I can substitute goat cheddar cheese with Goat Gouda cheese (Trader Joe’s)? That is, the important part is that it’s from goat milk, right? Thank you!
Yes, goat’s milk is easier to digest than cow’s milk. If you think you’ll like the gouda flavor with the Mexican flavors, go for it!
Delicious! I seriously have the PICKIEST eaters (5 kids under 12 and a husband who is wary of too many veggies), and this was a success with everyone who was willing to taste it (can’t count the 2 littlest ones…they don’t like anything)! Delicious!!!
YAY!! I’m glad it was a hit. 🙂
Great recipe and tasty change for cauliflower!!
Hi Megan, I love your skillet – do you mind sharing what type it is?
Here you go! http://amzn.to/2sm4yXh
This is yummy! I added black beans and a few black olives; garnished w avocado and it’s a killer casserole. I feel so much better when I cook your recipes and I’ve yet to find one we don’t like!!!
I made this for dinner just now with frozen cauliflower rice from TJ’s. It turned out great! I also added black beans, and used pepper jack cheese. Thank you for your wonderful recipes!
I omitted the eggs but added canned corn and a can of black beans. It was SO yummy!
Can you make this again and freeze for later? If so, how would you reheat it? Thinking this would be a great make-ahead postnatal meal. Thanks!
This sounds delicious! Do you think a can of green chilies would compliment the recipe? Maybe instead of the jalapeños?
1 (26.5 oz) box chopped tomatoes
Is that like a can of diced tomatoes or just tomatoes that are chopped?
It is like a can of tomatoes– the kind I use has no added sugar, so be sure to check labels! I just prefer to use the boxed kind to avoid can linings when possible.
I was feeling brave and made this for the first time when i had guests over 2 nights ago. It got great reviews! I really enjoyed it! Ive been eating simIlar to whole 30 for over a year and havent ventured INto Comforting casseroles until now and MY world is rocked! I made the cauliflower rice in my food processOr, easy peasy and yum! I made the recipe almost eXactly to yours with the exception of no JalapEnos and used a sprinkling of mexican cheese instead of goat cheese. Oh! And My inspiration for finding a casserole was my leftover roast chicken i shredded in my mixer. That was an excellent addition! MY large cast iron skillet was filled to the brim and fed us several times over 3 days. This dish is packed with nutrition and fills you up!! i love how its a one skillet mEal! I served it with a yummy little salad and thats all we needed:o) thank you so much for this creation!
I’m wondering what the purpose of the eggs are in THIS RECIPE. are they a must?
No, in this case they are just for more protein. Feel free to leave them out!
This was excellent! I want to thank you for the recipe (I added mushrooms, poblano peppers, and some habanero salsa I made to it). This is going in the rotation, for sure.
Hey Megan, If I omit the eggs, is the time of cooking in the oven the same? And can I use fresh cauliflower instead of the frozen version?
If you omit the eggs, you could probably just saute everything on the stove until the cauliflower is tender and then put it under the oven’s broiler just to melt the cheese.
This was amazing!
I made veggie tacos and this as a side dish. Didn’t tell my husband it was cauliflowf and asked him, “did you like the rice?” He thought it was great and promptly ate the remainder the following day.
Definitely adding this to favorites.
Here are the tweets I made:
I used some leftover whole cauliflower I pulsed for a a minute in my food processor. I used a can of diced tomatoes and only 2 eggs. Added a can of drained black beans and handful of cheddar cheese to the mix. Covered the top of the casserole dish with red salsa, diced olives (I o my had Kalimata on hand and they worked great) and another handful of cheese.
Next time, I’m going to add diced green chiles to the mix and maybe cook the ‘rice’ in veggie bouillon broth.
This recipe is also a wonderful base for experimenting with other flavor profiles. Tonight I going to make it with herbs and mushrooms with broccoli and Parmesan cheese. Layer, will make stir fry rice.
So happy I have found a keeper replacement for rice!!!
I’ve made this recipe twice now, and I absolutely love it! As a vegetarian I feel like I eat a ton more starch than protein, so this is ideal to have in my rotation. I have eaten this for breakfast, lunch and dinner (not on the same day), and it always hits the spot. Sometimes I eat it with plantain chips (I can’t have corn), and it adds a nice salty crunch. Did I mention that I love this?
I loved this recipe! I added about a pound of shredded chicken and 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce so it wouldn’t be dry. Flavors worked well together!
This recipe was excellent!!! I doubled up the recipe and use one can of diced tomatoes and one jar of sweet basil tomatoe sauce. I also mixed one serving on cheese within the casserole before I put the eggs in. The second serving of cheese I sprinkled on top. For extra proteIn I chopped up some chicken pieces and cooked them on the side with fajita sauce. Once all was done I threw the chicken on top with some salsa, and sour cream. This recipe is my meal prep staple!!!
Hi I used Trader Joe’s Frozen riced cauliflower and it was yummy
Amazing…we were looking for a recipe that fit our home (one vegetarian, one GF and one keto (mostly))… Definitely a keeper. We used frozen Presidents Choice cauliflower rice and it was great. I would add black beans next time.
Black beans are a great addition!
Hi! Do you think this could be made in a casserole dish instead? Thanks!
Dutch oven worked out well for me. Just can’t put a casserole dish on the stove top.
I juuuust finished cleaning my plate of this recipe! It was great! I used an additional egg to help incorporate the 3 cans of low-sodium chicken I added. So delicious, can you!
Would you make any changes to this recipe if I added a pound of ground turkey?
I’d saute it with the bell pepper, onion, and spices, and maybe drain the grease before adding in the cauliflower rice.
If you don’t add eggs and cheese, do you still need to bake in the oven?
can you use regular rice instead of cauliflower?
Sure! You could swap it for cooked rice with no problem, but I don’t know what the ratio of raw rice and water would be since I haven’t tested it that way.
Yum! I will definitely buy the pre-made riced cauliflower next time…but for those making their own, 1 lb. of riced cauliflower is about one and half small/medium heads of cauliflower. I added black beans and will definitely do so again next time…so good! ! I also turned the broiler on for about a minute after the cooking time to brown/bubble the cheese a little more.
I really enjoyed this casserole! It was truly a leftover meal – I added leftover diced chicken, tomato puree, carrots, and refried black beans, but otherwise followed the general recipe and technique. I also threw in some salsa for added flavor. Yum!
Substituted celery for the bell pepper, used 3 jalapenos seeded and deveined, used 1 15 oz. can diced organic tomatos and 1 can organic black beans instead of 26 oz of tomato. Seasoned with cumin, chipotle ground chili, and smoked paprika, plus 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika (no cayenne). Used Manchego cheese with goat chevre. Great!
This was great with an added can of beans!
Can this recipe be cooked in Instantpot?
Absolutely amazing! Used frozen cauliflower rice and less tomatoes (because that is all I had in the pantry) and it was super good!!! Husband loved it too! The goat cheese really was the clincher! So good! Thank you so much for sharing this! First time eating cauliflower rice and first time putting Le Creuset in the oven!
Love this. Made it several times—always with frozen cauliflower rice and all is well. I also add a can of rinsed/drained black beans which jacks up the protein. Have also added a half can, maybe little less, of corn. Though my family prefers it without. Thank you!
I love this recipe and have made versions with added quinoa, black beans and corn. I also top with fresh avocado. So yummy!
I added ground turkey, black beans, and sliced black olives. My chipotle-obsessed boyfriend said he’d eat this casserole over chipotle any day, so that’s a win!
Yay! I’m so glad it was a hit!
I attempted making my first cauliflower rice for this recipe. It all worked out great! I used the food processor to chop everything else as well, since I really wanted it all to be super easy. Turned out so good, we’re adding it to our recipe rotation. Added some shredded chicken at the end too. Thanks!!
This was enjoyed by all six people in my household! Our only substitution was organic cheddar cheese because my kids despise goat cheese. Thank you for this delicious recipe – my husband said to pin it!
So yummy! I made the recipe exactly (but used frozen cauliflower rice) and it was so tasty! Good enough to bring to next potluck! I served it over a bed of arugula and topped with some broccoli micro greens. Thank you for another delicious properly combined meal!!
Family favorite, even with meat eaters. Only change was sharp cheddar for the cheese