Chipotle’s Rice Recipe Gone Paleo with Paleo Cauliflower Rice

Paleo, Perfect Side Dishes

I was on Pinterest a few weeks ago. You know, had five minutes of spare time so I jumped on.

Before you know it I had pinned the whole world. I have 50,000 projects to complete and 30 large pegboards to buy along with at least 100 pallets.

Don’t even get me started on pallets. Except I will say one day my home will be completely decorated by use of pallets and it will cost me like $100 total.


I digress. So, I am loving these copycat recipes on Pinterest. Love!

One particular copycat recipe kept coming up. The copycat recipe for Chipotle’s cilantro rice. YUM! I do not make rice anymore, not since I discovered paleo cauliflower rice. So naturally I thought, I can make that! I CAN MAKE THAT!! But the paleo version.

I went to work. I followed the Chipotle copycat recipe using cauliflower for rice and…disaster. Gross. No good. And thus proceeded the walk of shame to the trash can.

But then I started thinking encouraging thoughts and decided, No! I can make that. I CAN MAKE THAT!

So I tried again with a very tweaked recipe that still included the basic ingredients. It was…Awesome!

So, you should make it too. And feel awesome.

How To Make Paleo Cauliflower Rice with Fresh Lime and Cilantro

Take a head of cauliflower, clean it and then cut it into large pieces.

Using your food processor, attach the cheese grater attachment and feed the chunks through the tube.

It can get a little crazy at this point as the cauliflower might start popping out of the tube (as my dear friend let me know). To avoid this, do not remove the tube completely, just have it cracked open and add the cauliflower. Or turn off the food processor and add some cauliflower, pulse and repeat 🙂

If you do not have a cheese grater attachment you can grate the cauliflower with a box grater. One of my friends just pulsed it in her food processor without the attachment but she said it changed the outcome of the “rice” effect. So I suggest the cheese grater attachment when using a food processor!

If it does go through the cheese grater it will come out all beautiful and fluffy like this:

Now, turn your burner to medium low. In a large pot, add the riced cauliflower and ¼ cup chicken broth. The chicken broth will add a hint of flavor to your cauliflower, which is good because cauliflower can be a little bland.

Also add ½ tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon garlic powder.

Cover the pot and allow the cauliflower to steam. After about 7-8 minutes the cauliflower should be tender and cooked.

While that is steaming take one to two limes and wash them (if you like a strong lime flavor go with two. If you prefer a hint of lime, go with one). Then zest them. Set the zest of the lime aside and cut the lime(s) in half so you can add the juice later.

Then grab some cilantro. I roughly chopped up about 2 tablespoons (we love cilantro) but use as much or as little as you like.

Once the cauliflower is done (you can taste it for doneness – what? Apparently “doneness” is not a word. Really? Surely it is a culinary term. Doneness. Done-ness. Whatever. Anyway taste it to see if you need to add more salt!).

Add the zest of the lime. Then add juice from one half of the lime.

Give it a good stir and then taste. If you want more of a lime kick add the juice from the other limes, tasting as you go.

Turn the burner off and add the cilantro. This is important. The Chipotle copycat rice recipe has the rice cooking with the cilantro in it – but fresh herbs are most vibrant in flavor when they are barely cooked. When I added the cilantro to the cauliflower and let it all steam together the first go around the cilantro was wilted and had lost most of its flavor.

So, yes. Add cilantro last. Stir. Eat. Feel awesome.

We serve our cilantro lime rice with grilled chicken and veggies (a fajita spread if you will).


Paleo Cauliflower Rice with Fresh Cilantro

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 23 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime zested and cut in half
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth


  1. Wash the head of cauliflower, cut it into large chunks and put it through the food processor with the cheese grater attachment.
  2. Add the cauliflower to a large pot and pour the chicken broth over it.
  3. Add garlic powder and salt and turn the burner to medium low.
  4. Cover the pot and let steam for 7-8 minutes (until the cauliflower is cooked and tender).
  5. Add the zest of the lime and juice from half the lime. Stir.
  6. Taste and add more salt or lime juice if needed.
  7. Turn burner off and add fresh cilantro.

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  1. Lisa says:

    oh my heavens… I feel the NEED to go get cauliflower right now and try this recipe!

  2. Jacquie says:

    I’m SO excited to try this recipe. Not only am I addicted to cauliflower right now (never thought I’d say THAT) I can eat all of these ingredients on the strict program I’m on at the moment. WOOHOO!

  3. Michelle Tompkins says:

    The drawing is from Hyperbole and a Half (AWESOME blog, really funny).

    I cannot WAIT to try this recipe tonight! Thanks for the awesome idea.

    • belleandbeau says:

      Thanks for letting me know, Michelle! I will update the post. Hope you enjoy the cauliflower rice 🙂

  4. Becky says:

    Okay I made this the other night and it was great! Even better? Our almost-one-year-old LOVED it. And it looked so much like rice that Chris actually thought there was white rice involved.

    However, you forgot to mention something in your post. Every time I took the top off the food processor to add more cauliflower, tiny little pieces of grated cauliflower flew all over the room.

    Did you have that problem?

    • belleandbeau says:

      Yay! I am so glad you enjoyed it! We served it to one of our friends and he thought there was actual rice in it too 🙂

      Great note about the cauliflower popping out. I usually just have a small little opening when I open the tube or I turn off the food processor and add the cauliflower. I am going to add that to the post! Thanks for catching that!

  5. Wendy S says:

    Tried this recipe last night after seeing Becky’s fb post last week. IT WAS AWESOME!!! Both my 2 year old and my 10 month old devoured it. We also made a knock-off recipe of Chipotle’s fajita veggies and chicken and made ourselves big fajita burrito bowls with black beans, avocado, hot sauce and salsa and the fajita veggies and meat. It was fantastic and I felt like I was eating AT Chipotle…just in the comfort of our own kitchen!

    • belleandbeau says:

      Wendy, this comment made our day! And it sounds like you created quite the feast! I love hearing that children love it. Thanks so much for the comment love! We really appreciate it 🙂

  6. Erica says:

    Made this tonight to accompany some Paleo stuffed peppers. A huge hit with my hubby! I’ve discovered that no matter how careful you are chopping and riceing ( don’t think that’s really a word, but you know what I mean) cauliflower, it always makes a mess. luckily my dog loves cauliflower and will happily take care of any falling ( more like flying) pieces.

  7. Kim Cascardo says:

    Can’t wait for your next recipe 🙂

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