- 4 cups cauliflower, broken into florets (as small as possible)
- 1 red onion, sliced thinly into rings
- 3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon cilantro or parsley, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 medium tomato, cut into wedges
In a large bowl combine cauliflower and onions. Cut tomatoes into wedges.
In a small bowl mix lemon juice, olive oil, cilantro or parsley, minced garlic, mix well.
Pour dressing over the cauliflower mixture and toss gently. Add the tomato wedges before serving.
Lunchbox-Friendly Mexican Cauliflower Rice Salad
Published: Sep 27, 2019 · Modified: Mar 4, 2021 by Meg van der Kruik · This post may contain affiliate links.
Mix and match your way to a healthy, tasty lunch with this Mexican Cauliflower Rice Salad—a Tex-Mex-inspired favorite lunchbox recipe.
Formula for a Perfect Lunch
It's easy to get in a lunchtime rut, eating the same few foods over and over because they're easy and you have them on hand. Having a mix-and-match lunch system can help you break out of that rut, allowing you to have a variety of easy lunch options that don't compromise on flavor or quality. Here's my basic formula:
Grain base + protein and veggie filling + dressing or salsa + toppings = one incredibly healthy and delicious lunch!
You can use just about any grain for the base—rice, quinoa, millet, or even a "faux" grain like cauliflower rice. Canned beans or lentils and a combination of your favorite raw, steamed, grilled or roasted veggies, will work for the filling and toppings can vary from day-to-day based on what you have in the fridge or pantry—nuts, seeds, chopped fresh herbs, etc. Yesterday's hummus makes for a great addition to a Mediterranean themed bowl, and that ¼ jar of marinara that has been hanging out in your fridge is great in bowls with white rice, cannellini beans, marinated artichoke hearts and a sprinkle of basil and pine nuts. Toss lentils with a simple red wine vinaigrette one day and use the rest with a tahini dressing the next. The possibilities are endless!
About the Recipe
This Mexican Cauliflower Rice Salad is a perfect example of a typical lunch bowl I make. I prepare the cauliflower rice and red onion relish on Sunday evening and keep them in the fridge for the first three lunches during the week. The cauliflower rice takes the place of a grain, on which I layer beans, corn, roasted red peppers and salsa. If you follow the recipe, you'll have enough ingredients to make 3 servings of this particular salad, or you can prepare the cauliflower rice base and switch things up with different toppings for each serving. This salad is great warm, but it is equally delicious straight out of the fridge for a completely hassle-free lunch.
Which Type Of Cauliflower To Use
If you watched my cauliflower pizza crust video, you’ll know that cauliflower rice can be made three different ways. But for those who haven’t seen it, you can use fresh cauliflower, frozen florets, or buy it pre-riced.
While frozen florets is fine for the pizza, I recommend using fresh cauliflower in this recipe. The pre-riced option is great if you want to skip the prepping steps, but the grated pieces tend to be a bit chunkier.
I choose to make this roasted cauliflower salad with millet, but it is also very tasty with couscous. And the great news is that you can also get whole grain couscous or whole grain spelt couscous. Making it an healthy and tasty choice. Millet, although considered a grain is a seed, and is gluten-free, is rich in dietary fiber (both soluble and insoluble). And the bonus is that the insoluble fiber is considered “prebiotic,” which means it supports good bacteria in your digestive system.
Couscous on the other hand, is actually a sort of pasta (a really small one) which accounts for it’s neutral taste — and who doesn’t like pasta? And of course, since it’s make from durum wheat or spelt, it isn’t gluten-free. Whole-wheat couscous is of course the better choice as it has additional fiber and protein.
9 Best Plant-Based Cauliflower Recipes
The humble cauliflower has really undergone a culinary transformation in the past few years. From buffalo wings to rice to pizza crust, this unassuming cruciferous plant has become a favorite among both health-conscious consumers and foodies alike. And with good reason! Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, meaning it is chock-full of cancer-fighting nutrients such as carotenoid and flavonoid antioxidants, as well as vitamin C. Cauliflower is also high in choline, a nutrient that is essential for brain development. You can read more about the importance of choline in my blog post here.
Besides being a nutrient powerhouse, cauliflower has a wonderful mellow flavor that allows for so much creativity in preparation. I love adding different spices such as cumin and cilantro to cooked cauliflower in salads, sautéing it with garlic and onion and incorporating into pasta, or even transforming cauliflower into a lower-carb rice alternative, perfect for taco night. There are so many ways to enjoy cauliflower, and I hope you give one of these wonderful recipes a try.
9 Best Plant-Based Cauliflower Recipes
This flavorful appetizer has been popping up everywhere lately! I did some research on how to make this divine, spicy dish, and discovered that many classic recipes are loaded down with butter and oils. So, I created a lighter, oven-baked version in this Healthy Buffalo Cauliflower with Ranch Dip recipe, that’s still rich in flavor, I promise! Make a batch and watch these babies disappear!
Talk about a cool way to enjoy cauliflower! This Cool Mint Cauliflower Salad takes full advantage of chill ingredients, like mint, fennel, parsley, and citrus. Paired with cauliflower, green onions, and a creamy dressing—the recipe is literally a breath of fresh air!
Cauliflower comes in all different shades! This Purple Cauliflower Salad is inspired by my garden—all of the veggies, including Easter egg radishes, purple cauliflower, and mixed salad greens, came straight from the soil. However, you can find these veggies at your nearby farmers market or natural food store, too.
A long time ago, I tasted a scrumptious fresh cauliflower salad at a vegan restaurant in Stockholm, Sweden. I tried to recreate all of those amazing flavors in my own California creation. By soaking the cauliflower in boiling water for just one minute, you can help tenderize and tame this pungent vegetable.
This delightful cauliflower salad is based on simple ingredients you can find pretty much year-round anywhere. Thanks to those plant-powered ingredients, this salad is practically a meal in one, with a kick of plant protein, loads of veggies, and healthy fats. And it’s even better the next day. Try it for an easy dinner recipe you can pack up for work the next day, or at your next dinner party, potluck, or picnic.
If you love cauliflower as much as I do, you are sure to be thrilled with this completely plant-based (vegan) Cauliflower Spinach Lasagna. While you might not think of cauliflower as the vegetable of choice in a classic lasagna, it does quite well, thank you very much! I love to take this dish to parties, potlucks, or even holiday meals. Viva la cauliflower!
The golden warmth of turmeric, sweet accent of raisins, and nutty flavor of hemp seeds amplifies the flavor profile of this roasted cauliflower dish, which you can get on the table in under 30 minutes with 7 ingredients.
Who needs meat-based steaks when you can feast on a steak of roasted cauliflower? Simply slice the cauliflower into vertical “steaks”, drizzle with olive oil, roast in the oven, and top as desired. I paired the roasted cauliflower steaks with a quick sauce of heirloom tomatoes, onion, capers, and rosemary in this 100% plant-based recipe. Just serve with a side of chickpeas or lentils, and you have a plant-based meal for the mind, body, and soul!
Need a break from grains? Why not try cauliflower! Cauliflower can be used in place of rice in recipes as a low-carb, grain-free alternative. One of my favorite ways to use cauliflower is to make it into a rice. After following these easy, step-by-step methods to make basic cauliflower rice, you can create your own rice dish with your favorite seasonings, or try this Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice recipe.
How to make Cauliflower Salad
- Roast the cauliflower.
- Spread 6 cups of diced cauliflower evenly on a baking sheet.
- Drizzle olive oil over the cauliflower.
- Sprinkle Montreal steak seasoning on top.
- Note: If you don’t have Montreal steak seasoning, simply season with salt and pepper, dried garlic and dried onion. Place in a 400°F preheated oven for 15 minutes.
- Quick Tip! One cauliflower head will result in approximately 3 cups of diced cauliflower. I used two heads of cauliflower for this recipe.
- Add avocado, fresh basil, white balsamic vinegar and fresh lemon juice to a blender or food processor.
- Add salt, pepper and olive oil.
- Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Note: If you don’t have a blender or food processor, you can whisk the ingredients together to make the dressing. Lightly mash the avocado, then add it to a bowl with the other dressing ingredients and whisk them all together.
- Quick Tip! Traditional balsamic vinegar can be used instead of white balsamic vinegar. I simply use white balsamic to maintain the beautiful green color of the dressing. White balsamic vinegar can be found in most grocery stores next to the other vinegars.
- Once the cauliflower has been removed from the oven, add the cauliflower to a large bowl. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Add raisins, diced apple and cashews to the bowl.
- Pour the avocado dressing into the bowl and toss gently until everything is coated.
- Top the salad with diced avocado and fresh cracked black pepper.
Grated cauliflower makes a fantastic low-carb, stand in for rice when you need a little carb detox. You can season this any way you wish – here I brightened it up with lime and cilantro and served it with a broiled pork loin. It has a couscous-like texture, and is perfect with chicken, pork chops, steak or anything you would normally serve with rice.
Does it taste like cauliflower? Yes, it does so if you’re not a cauliflower fan (I love it!) this may not be for you. But if you’re a fan like me, you’ll love this side dish! And it’s also vegetarian, vegan and Paleo-friendly.
Cauliflower Dressing Ingredients:
Like I always say, a salad is only as good as its dressing, which means this Cauliflower Salad is epic. As promised, the chermoula is made with easy-to find ingredients. You will need:
- cilantro: you will need one cup packed cilantro. You can use both the leaves and the stems.
- parsley: use flat leaf parsley because it has more flavor than curly parsley.
- olive oil:extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
- lemon juice: 2 tablespoons, about half of a large lemon you can also use bottled.
- garlic: chermoula is supposed to be garlicky but you can use more or less to suite your taste.
- seasonings: paprika, ground cumin, ground ginger, dried thyme, salt and cayenne pepper
Cauliflower Taco Bowls with Creamy Vegan Cilantro Ranch
These Cauliflower Taco Bowls are LOADED with all kinds of good stuff. Cauliflower, bell peppers, onions, jalapenos, brown rice, black beans…the list goes on and on. Well, not really, that’s pretty much it.
BUT, even though the ingredient list is slightly long, don’t worry. This recipe is still super simple. We’re chopping, we’re seasoning and we’re roasting.
Throw it all in a bowl with your favorite leafy greens and top it off with my super simple cilantro ranch – which I’m not sure is technically ranch since there isn’t any dill, but just roll with it.
Need a vegan mayo recommendation?
My favorites are Trader Joe’s and Just Mayo. Most grocery stores carry vegan mayo these days – woo-who! But you can also find it online.
These are my favorite types of dinners. You get TONS of veggies, fiber-packed beans, and a tasty sauce in one bowl.
Filling, tasty and makes for the BEST leftovers. Doesn’t get any better than that.
32 Healthy Cauliflower Recipes That Prove It&rsquos the Most Versatile Veggie
Who knew that cauliflower&mdashwith its plain, unassuming white florets&mdashwould become one of the sexiest vegetables of the 21st century? Just look at the menu of any creative, plant-friendly restaurant, and you&rsquoll find cauliflower steaks, cauliflower salads, and about a million versions of cauliflower rice bowls.
&ldquoCauliflower has become so popular not only because of its many nutritional benefits, but because it&rsquos really versatile&mdashthere are so many ways to use it in the kitchen,&rdquo says Kara Lydon, R.D., a Boston-based dietitian, food blogger, and author of Nourish Your Namaste. &ldquoAlso, more and more people are going plant-based, and cauliflower makes a really easy substitute for animal-based ingredients.&rdquo
Cauliflower is both low in calories (just 29 calories per 1-cup serving) and jam-packed with nutrients, like all cruciferous vegetables (a category of slightly bitter-tasting veggies that includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, arugula, and collard greens). &ldquoIt&rsquos high in fiber, choline (an essential nutrient for brain health), and antioxidants including vitamin C,&rdquo Lydon explains. It&rsquos also rich in vitamin K, which is important for building strong bones.
The trendiest way to eat cauliflower these days is to turn it into a vitamin-rich version of rice. Lydon recommends you do this by cutting it into florets and giving it a quick pulse in the food processor. Mashed cauliflower also can also be used as a healthier replacement for mashed potatoes, and cauliflower can even serve as the secret ingredient in a gluten-free alternative for a pizza crust. The texture and bite of cauliflower florets also make it a popular plant-based alternative for chicken wings and steak.
Then, there&rsquos the simple-but-delicious route to prepare the white treat: &ldquoMy favorite way to prepare cauliflower is to simply roast it in the oven with olive oil and spices,&rdquo says Lydon. &ldquoIt&rsquos subtly sweet and with a little nutty flavor.&rdquo
Ready to get creative with this all-star veggie? Check out dozens of must-try, healthy cauliflower recipes below: