This Tex-Mex cauliflower rice is spicy, cheesy, and chock-full of vegetables - and it's all made in an Actifry!
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This is definitely one of those recipes where I feel I need to remind you that ugly food is often the tastiest food. This Tex-Mex cauliflower rice isn't the most attractive dish in the room, but if you look beyond its appearance, you will really come to love it.
(Ever feel like you've found your spirit animal? Turns out mine is cauliflower rice)
This Tex-Mex cauliflower rice is cheesy, spicy, full of veg... and it's pretty healthy too! Plus, I made mine entirely in a Tefal Actifry - couldn't be easier.
Cauliflower rice in the Actifry
You might remember I used my Tefal Actifry back in October to make my super tasty Madagascan bean stew. If you didn't see that post, and you're unfamiliar with the Actifry, it's basically an air fryer that cooks food with a blast of hot air. The paddle continually spins to ensure food gets cooked evenly.
The Actifry is great for this kind of dish - it ends up tasting just like you cooked it on the stovetop, but it's much more hands-off (perfect for lazy cooks like me!). The paddle does all the stirring for you, and once you've set the timer, the Actifry will beep to tell you it's finished cooking, so you literally just need to add the raw ingredients, then walk away to let it do its thing.
If you like the sound of hands-off cooking, and you'd like to win your very own Actifry, just keep reading - there's a giveaway at the bottom of this post where you can enter to win!
Healthy meals in the Actifry
This time, Tefal asked me to put a healthier spin on one of my favourite take aways - Mexican! You guys know how much I adore Mexican food, so this challenge was right up my street. My usual Mexican take away involves big flour tortillas, lots of sauce, and far too much cheese - all delicious stuff, but not exactly the healthiest option (especially considering I usually try to eat a bit more sensibly at the beginning of the year!).
My Tex-Mex cauliflower rice is the answer - it cuts out all those processed carbs, and replaces them with high-fibre cauliflower. Plus, cooking it in the Actifry means you only need one small drizzle of oil, so it's lower in fat too!
Low-carb cauliflower rice
I've made cauliflower rice a few times before - cauliflower is a really versatile ingredient that you can use to make all sorts of healthy meals. It's pretty bland on its own, so you can flavour it however you choose - in the past I've made tikka cauliflower rice, egg fried cauliflower rice, I've even used it as an alternative to couscous in a low-carb tabbouleh.
I made a little video showing you how to make this Tex-Mex cauliflower rice, in case you're a visual learner!
How do you make cauliflower rice?
Cauliflower rice couldn't be easier to make. To begin with, just remove the leaves from the cauliflower, and stick the florets in a food processor. Blitz them up until they're finely chopped, and vaguely resemble (you guessed it) rice. That's all there is to it - it's literally just chopped cauliflower.
You need to start by just cooking off the cauliflower on its own for a while. This helps to remove any excess moisture from the cauliflower, and gives it a nice toasty flavour - it should be golden brown all over. The constantly rotating paddle of the Actifry will help ensure that it cooks nice and evenly.
Tex-Mex cauliflower rice
Then, add your extras! As I said, you can go for whatever kind of flavour profile you fancy. I can't believe it took me this long to make Tex-Mex cauliflower rice - Mexican is one of my favourite cuisines ever. Just add some black beans, spring onions, sweetcorn, and some tasty spices, then turn the Actifry on again.
Don't forget the cheese!
Finally, add a bit of grated cheese, and cook for a few more minutes until the cheese has melted right through the cauliflower rice.
I know an excess of cheese isn't overly healthy, but you only need to use a little bit here, and it really does lift that cauliflower rice to the next level. If one handful of cheese is all it takes to make a healthy meal irresistible, I'm all for it.
Finally, the toppings! I love meals with lots of toppings, and Mexican food is perfect to pile up with extras!
I kept it simple, but there are all sorts of things you could serve with your Tex-Mex cauliflower rice:
- sliced avocado
- chopped spring onions
- fresh coriander (cilantro)
- chopped cherry tomatoes
- sour cream
- more grated cheese
... the world is your (vegetarian) oyster. Two or three toppings really do turn this simple dish into something really tasty!
By swapping regular rice, or my usual flour tortillas, for the cauliflower rice, this dish is relatively low-carb. I feel I should add that I am certainly not anti-carb. I love carbs, and honestly, I would quite happily live on pasta bake for the rest of my life if I didn't think I would become horribly malnourished.
But, as with all things, a healthy diet is all about balance, and sometimes that might mean you want to take it easy on the carbs for a day or two. This Tex-Mex cauliflower rice is a great option! It's not completely low-carb, as the beans still add some carby goodness, but rather than a white, processed carb, they're a protein- and fibre-rich version.
It's super tasty, but still feels light, and is chock-full of veggies. Perfect!
Tex-Mex cauliflower rice
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- 1 medium cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 400 g tin black beans, drained (240g, or ~ 1 ¼ cups, when drained)
- 100 g (~ ⅔ cup) tinned sweetcorn
- 3 spring onions, sliced
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon hot chilli powder
- Black pepper
- 50 g cheddar cheese, grated (~ ½ cup when grated)
- Toppings, to serve: your choice of sliced avocado, fresh coriander (cilantro), spring onions, sour cream, salsa, etc.
- Remove the leaves from the cauliflower, and cut the cauliflower itself into florets. Place in a food processor, and blitz until it resembles rice.
- Place the cauliflower rice in the Actifry with a drizzle of oil. Cook for 20 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
- Scrape down the sides of the Actifry, and add the black beans, sweetcorn, spring onions, spices, and seasoning. Cook for a further 10 minutes, then add the cheese, and cook for 5 more minutes. Scrape down the sides of the Actifry again, and serve with your choice of toppings.
Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for ½ of the recipe.
FRANK SEE says
Lifetime cook. This is the first time I have seen the actifry and I am truly interested. Please put me in for the chance to win.
Susan B says
At this time of the year I want potato and pasta dishes! It looks wonderful. Thanks.
thapelo kooreng says
I love it.
Oh this sounds delish, I'd never have thought of cooking the cheese through the rice but it makes SO much sense! I'd probably cook this, or fried potatoes, less healthy I know! x
Andrea Upton says
I like the idea that aside from using it as a fryer you can cook things like casseroles in it so I think that is what I would like to try first, a casserole
I have to disagree with your call this "ugly" food as it looks darn tasty to me and i wish i had a veganized bowl of it in front of me now. I would like to have a Spanish version of the dish you just created as i haven't had a good Spanish "rice" in years.
I would make fries
Our kids eat a lot of snack foods that we generally bake, like nuggets, tater tots,or corn dogs, so i would like to see how these cook in this air fryer.
Ellen Stafford says
I would love to make sweet potato fries x
Jane Turnbull says
I would love to see you crispy but low fat chips really can be in the Actifry!
Jane Turnbull says
Oops that should have been how rather than you!