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Happy Friday, everyone! With school either in full swing or about to start, who needs a 5-ingredient kid-friendly healthy recipe? This Dirty Cauliflower Rice (more on the name later!) is just that, and I’m not exaggerating when I say my kids love this meal!

What ingredients are in this Dirty Cauliflower Rice?

There are just 5 non-pantry ingredients in this Dirty Cauliflower Rice. I consider olive oil, salt, and pepper “pantry” ingredients that you should always have in your kitchen so I didn’t count them in the number of ingredients. I listed them here for you so that you know the full list of what you need!

  • Ground beef (bison, pork or turkey work fine too!)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Jarred tomato-based pasta sauce (look for a brand that has no added sugar – I like Rao’s or Monte Bene!)
  • Cauliflower (you can substitute purchased fresh cauliflower rice if you prefer!)
  • Olive oil
  • Coarse salt
  • Fresh parsley or chives (optional ingredients)

This recipe uses a partial jar of pasta sauce. It’s not meant to make this taste Italian in any way. I like how It adds a bit of flavor and prevents the dish from tasting dry. You can use any flavor of sauce you like, and the leftover jarred sauce can be used the next night for a quick pasta meal.

Make this easy, gluten free and dairy free Dirty Cauliflower Rice next time you are looking for a 5-ingredient kid-friendly healthy recipe. It's full of flavor, uses a short list of ingredients and takes just 25 minutes to make. This is a great way to use cauliflower rice in a unique way and works well for people who don’t think they would like cauliflower rice.

How did I name this Dirty Cauliflower Rice?

Okay, about the name. My high school English teacher gets the credit for the inspiration for this recipe because she used to make a dish called Dirty Rice. She would bring it to school potluck events for sports or other occasions (I grew up in a really small school, so everyone knew each other well). Anyway, she shared the recipe with me once (yes, I was a recipe junky from a very young age!), and I would make it from time to time. It, too, was about 5 ingredients (rice, ground beef, and some seasoning mixes), and it tasted really good.

With my Dirty Cauliflower Rice, I wanted to stay true to the speed and look of her original recipe, while healthifying it a bit by adding vegetables (the cauliflower) and eliminating the less-than-healthy seasoning mixes (swapping in chopped onion, garlic, and jarred pasta sauce in their place). This dish is not a thing of beauty, but given the name, I think you can see why. The rice, or in this case, “cauliflower rice”, is meant to look dirty, which the ground beef and pasta sauce take care of.

Love cauliflower but want to make something new with it? Use it to make this Dirty Cauliflower Rice. It’s a 5-ingredient kid-friendly healthy recipe that takes only 25 minutes to make. Being a fast and easy recipe means it’s a perfect weeknight dinner when there’s not a lot of time to cook. Plus, it’s gluten free and dairy free!

What else can I use cauliflower rice for?

I just LOVE all the things that you can do with cauliflower rice! It’s a great vehicle for a lot of different flavors and it can add a lot of nutrition to any meal!

Here are a few other recipes that I’ve created that use cauliflower rice:

Love cauliflower but want to make something new with it? Use it to make this Dirty Cauliflower Rice. It’s a 5-ingredient kid-friendly healthy recipe that takes only 25 minutes to make. Being a fast and easy recipe means it’s a perfect weeknight dinner when there’s not a lot of time to cook. Plus, it’s gluten free and dairy free!

For those weeknights when you have next to no time to cook because you’re running in multiple directions, make this 5-ingredient kid-friendly healthy recipe.

Dirty Cauliflower Rice: 5-Ingredient Kid-Friendly Healthy Recipe

Make this easy, gluten free and dairy free Dirty Cauliflower Rice next time you are looking for a 5-ingredient kid-friendly healthy recipe.
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Quick and Easy, Whole 30
Servings: 4
Author: Laura Marzen, RD

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef, ground bison, ground turkey, or ground pork
  • ¾ cup onion
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup jarred tomato-based pasta sauce (any flavor, preferably with no-added-sugar)
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • Chopped fresh parsley or chives (optional)

Instructions

  • In a large skillet cook ground beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink and onion is tender, using a potato masher to coarsely break up meat as it cooks. Drain off fat if necessary. Add pasta sauce. Stir until well combined. Transfer meat mixture to a medium bowl; set aside.
  • While meat is cooking, place cauliflower florets in a food processor. Cover and pulse until finely chopped (cauliflower should resemble rice).
  • In the same skillet used to cook the meat mixture, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add finely chopped cauliflower; sprinkle with salt. Cook, uncovered, for 4 to 5 minutes or until cauliflower is just tender, stirring occasionally.
  • Add meat mixture to cauliflower rice. Cook and stir over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until well combined and heated through. If desired, sprinkle with parsley or chives to serve.

Notes

I consider olive oil and salt pantry ingredients and don’t count them in the number of ingredients for this recipe. As for the parsley, I couldn’t resist adding a bit of color for the photo, and you can do the same if you choose. I didn’t count the parsley as an ingredient because you can leave it off and the flavor is still great.
Tip: Use this recipe as a jumping off point and make any changes you like to make it your own! Like spicy food? Add 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or sprinkle with ground black pepper at the end. Want more fresh herb flavor? Use a mixture of parsley, chives, and fresh basil on top instead of just 1 herb. Want it more saucy? Add more pasta sauce. I think you get the idea!
Yield: 4 servings (about 1 ¼ cups per serving)
Nutrition Info (per serving): 312 cals, 26 g pro, 12 g carb, 18 g fat, 72 mg cholesterol, 5 g sat fat, 3 g fiber, 555 mg sodium
Love cauliflower but want to make something new with it? Use it to make this Dirty Cauliflower Rice. It’s a 5-ingredient kid-friendly healthy recipe that takes only 25 minutes to make. Being a fast and easy recipe means it’s a perfect weeknight dinner when there’s not a lot of time to cook. Plus, it’s gluten free and dairy free!