The combination of chicken and rice is very dear to the Puerto Rican community. As a Puerto Rican, it is hard to enjoy many of our regular meals because of the sheer amount of carbs in our cuisine when you are following a ketogenic lifestyle, but low and behold, there is an alternative, cauliflower rice!
When I first came across the idea of cauliflower rice, I was not thrilled or excited. Until then, I have not been quite a fan of the vegetable. I find cauliflower to be a bit stinky, with an off-flavor, so when I learned that cauliflower is an excellent substitution for many traditional carb-loaded side dishes, I rolled my eyes to the back of my head and thought, “WHY?!”.
This was inspired by my other recipe on this site, and pairs well with this amazing side dish recipe. Contextual, in-content links are far more valuable than a group listed at the bottom of the post.
The beauty of using cauliflower instead of rice is that it is much faster to cook. So, if time is of the essence, cauliflower rice comes to the rescue. The same ingredients for regular rice can also be used to keep that authentic Puerto Rican flavor.
- Riced Cauliflower
- Bacon or Tocino (to keep things keto😉)
- Achiote Oil
- Powdered Adobo
See the recipe card for quantities.
- Dice onions and garlic, and set aside. Dice about two slices of bacon.
- Heat a sauté pan, yes, you read right a sauté pan. No boiling is needed, so you do not need a pot to make the rice. Add achiote oil. Heat through and start cooking the bacon.
- Add onions and garlic. Cook until soft and translucent.
Add riced cauliflower. Toss it around the onions, garlic, and achiote oil. To tint the cauliflower with the achiote oil. Add a bit more achiote oil to adjust the coloring.
Add a dash of Loisa’s Sazon. This sazon has all the flavor we Puerto Ricans love without the stuff we do not want in our food. Cook until cauliflower is nice and tender.
Place a spoonful of cauliflower rice on your plate and top with two pieces of crispy chicken thighs. Garnish with a slice of avocado, a simple lettuce and tomato salad, and a sprinkle of cilantro. Buen Provecho
If cauliflower is still not your cup of tea, consider using the following:
- Broccoli - Yes, priced broccoli is a thing and you can find priced broccoli right next to riced cauliflower at your grocer's freezer.
- Palmini - Palmini offers a rice variation on the hearts of palm products. I am working on giving this a try and as soon as I do I will let you know.
- Jicama or Celeriac (Apio) - Maybe a bit more work but shredding jicama or celeriac (Apio) and squeezing the excess liquid will render a good portion of low-carb rice.
I shared a very simply mild way of preparing chicken thighs that could easily be enjoyed by anyone. Below, are a few variations to add to your chicken to switch it up a bit.
- Spicy - puree a few cloves of garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, cumin, tomato paste, and a few rehydrated guajillo peppers. Blend to a paste. Rub the paste onto chicken thighs and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes.
- Asian Inspired - add a tablespoon of ground ginger to my adobo paste and a few tablespoons of Coconut Aminos. Accompany your Asian-inspired Chicken with quick fried rice by adding small diced ham, carrots, green onions, and a well-beaten egg to turn your cauliflower rice into fried rice.
- Dry Rub - Mix powdered garlic, onion, paprika, a pinch of mustard, salt, pepper, cumin, and a bit of Lakanto Brown Sugar.
Arroz Amarillo De Coliflor, Cauliflower Yellow Rice
- 1 head cauliflower diced
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 tbsp sofrito
- 1 tbsp achiote oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp Sazon
- 1 strip bacon diced
- Prep before we start cooking: Dice onions and set a side. Measure sofrito and adobo/garlic paste and set a side. Have cauliflower already riced before starting. Theses steps will help you in the preparation for this dish.
- Heat a sauté pan, crisp bacon and render the bacon fat. Remove bacon and set aside.
- Add onions, garlic and sofrito. Cook until soft and translucent.
- Add riced cauliflower. Toss it around the onions and garlic.
- Add a dash of Loisa’s Sazon. This sazon has all the flavor we Puerto Ricans love without the stuff we do not want in our food. Cook until cauliflower is nice and tender.
- Add achiote oil. Toss or turn rice until all cauliflower is tinted with the achiote oil. Option to add the bacon bits back to the rice.
- Remember, cauliflower is a vegetable, unlike real rice, which is a grain. Rice requires water to soften the starch and plump or double up, and it will absorb any liquid you add to it. Cauliflower, on the other hand, will render water during the cooking process. If your cauliflower needs water or broth to cook, add a very minimal amount before covering the pan.
- You do not need yellow cauliflower to make this recipe. A white cauliflower will do just as well. If you do not have any achiote oil, you can substitute the oil with paprika and or turmeric. These spices will create a different shade of yellow rice, but it will still be equally delicious.