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Jeweled Cauliflower Rice {vegan, grain-free}

Jeweled cauliflower rice is a side dish everyone can love! Based on Persian and North African rice & couscous dishes, it is vegan, grain-free, gluten-free & Paleo.

jeweled cauliflower rice in a blue pottery bowl with a black background

A Delicious & Healthy Side-Dish For All

Picking sides is inevitable at holiday gatherings.

Some choices may lead to joy and cheer; others may bring annoyance, grumpiness and arguments. It’s part of the excitement & hilarity of gathering a diverse gaggle of family and friends for several hours (or days). (Even more so if the quarters are close and the outside temperatures plummet.)

So here’s to making the most of the nutty mix of holiday togetherness and uniting all sides with a side-dish everyone will pick.

How’s that for a roundabout segue?

The dish in question? Jeweled Cauliflower Rice.

Healthy Highlights of Jeweled Cauliflower Rice

Eaters with all of the following needs will be thrilled:

  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free
  • Grain-free
  • Low-carb
  • Low-fat
  • Paleo

Foodies will be also pleased by the festive use of spices and herbs, which matches the exuberance of the season while incorporating modern trends (innovative use of vegetables)  and international flair (the dish is loosely based on jeweled Persian rice or jeweled couscous dishes from North African).

Traditionalists may object, especially if you try to pass this off as an alternative to dressing. Instead, brand this as a vegetable side and all should be well.

Most of all, you, the cook, will be pleased because this dish looks gorgeous, tastes incredible, and will impress all, but takes minimal time and effort (and no great expense) to prepare. Win!

The cauliflower rice can be prepared up to a day ahead of time (process it in a food processor, or grate it by hand with a box grater), as can all of the other components. The cooking can take place just before eating, and served warm, or you can cook everything an hour or so ahead of time; the dish is wonderful warm or room temperature. If making it ahead, though, wait until serving time to add the herbs, nuts and dried fruit, to keep the flavors and textures bright and fresh.

Increasing the quantities is simple, so make as much as your crowd size demands. Then again, there is no need to wait for an official gathering to savor this festive rice; it is remarkably suited to almost any day or season, including any weeknight (for example, tonight!).

Cheers, and TGIF, everyone!

More Cauliflower Deliciousness:

  1. Almond Flour Cauliflower Popcorn {2 ingredients, Vegan, Keto, Oil-Free}
  2. Chopped Radish Cauliflower Salad {easy, vegan, keto}
  3. Roasted Tomato Chickpea & Cauliflower Salad {vegan, high protein}
  4. Cauliflower Biscuits {4 ingredients, vegan, grain-free, oil-free}
  5. Cauliflower Rice Paella {vegan, keto option}
  6. Coconut Flour Cauliflower Bread {vegan, keto}
  7. How to Make Cauliflower Rice {keto, vegan}
  8. Vegan Cauliflower Cheese Bites {4-ingredients, Grain-Free}
Yield: 4 side-dish servings

Jeweled Cauliflower Rice {vegan, grain-free}

jeweled cauliflower rice in a blue pottery bowl with a black background

A simple, yet exotically spiced, side dish made with cauliflower "rice." It's a side-dish worthy of holiday celebrations, yet simple and easy enough for weeknights throughout the year.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes


  • 1 medium-large head cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon oil (of choice, e.g., olive, coconut, avocado)
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or ground cinnamon)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • zest & juice of 1 medium lime
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro or parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried fruit (I used apricots & cranberries)
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted or toasted nuts (I used almonds & cashews)


  1. Cut or break cauliflower into large florets. Coarsely grate, using the large holes of a box grater, OR, process in a food processor (half the florets at a time) until the size and texture of rice.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion; cook and stir for 5 to 6 minutes until softened.
  3. Add the cauliflower, pumpkin pie spice, turmeric, salt and pepper to skillet. Cook and stir for 4 to 5 minutes longer until cauliflower is just tender.
  4. Remove skillet from heat and toss with the lime zest, lime juice, cilantro and mint. Sprinkle with the dried fruit and nuts. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size

1/4 of recipe

Amount Per Serving Calories 155Total Fat 8.9gSaturated Fat 1.1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 254mgCarbohydrates 17.4gFiber 5.3gSugar 9.4gProtein 4.4g

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