Lentil and Cauliflower Rice Tacos

by on April 4, 2013
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Lentil and Cauliflower Rice Tacos

Welcome to the latest edition of Cauliflower Magic Tricks! In today’s exciting episode, our hero will enter a food processor as an ordinary head of cauliflower only to emerge as…RICE! And then that rice will, through the use of culinary arts, be transformed into a delicious, spicy, low-calorie filling for tacos.

In past episodes, Cauliflower has been magically transformed into vegetable steaks, a creamy alfredo sauce, creamy mashed potatoes, and a rich Indian curry sauce. Today will be Cauliflower’s first attempt on this blog to become a grain. Our hero has been performing this trick to much acclaim on other blogs (see notes at the bottom), but until this moment has not dared to attempt it on the site of an avowed brown rice lover. The stakes are high. Let’s see if Cauliflower can pull this off…

Lentil and Cauliflower Rice Tacos

Lentil and Cauliflower Rice Taco Filling

Ta da! Cauliflower magically transformed into rice–or, at least, something that looks like rice and behaves like it but has a fraction of the calories.

Cauliflower rice has been playing to packed houses for years. Here are some of its best performances:


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{ 77 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sue April 4, 2013 at 11:08 am

This looks pretty good, But I noticed you did not say anything about how it tastes? Did your daughter like it?

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2 Susan Voisin April 4, 2013 at 11:19 am

My daughter doesn’t like rice and doesn’t like anything in her tacos except refried beans. (She gets pickier by the day.) So she wouldn’t eat this. She did taste it and didn’t know that it was cauliflower, if that helps any. My husband and I really liked it, but I have to admit that I use a lot of chipotle powder because we like things very spicy.

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3 janet @ the taste space April 4, 2013 at 11:13 am

Gorgeous, Susan. I’ve used cauliflower (and parsnip, yum!) to make rice but I usually keep it raw. What a fun way to eat tacos. :)

I hear cauliflower makes a nice pizza crust but the recipe I tried didn’t work out too well. :(

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4 moonwatcher April 4, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Susan,

I loved this post!! Cauliflower as super hero!! Just wonderful! And the recipe sounds good, too. I just can’t get enough of those cauliflower steaks, so maybe some cauliflower tacos will have the same effect. (I have a weak spot for tacos, so I’m betting YES.) It certainly sounds like a creative and delicious way to make tacos. Thanks!! I loved the writing and the photos are gorgeous.

xoxo

moonwatcher

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5 Kristy April 4, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Wow! I am definitely trying this tonight! Tacos are the usual in my house so very glad to see this healthy recipe! Great pictures too!

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6 Sherisse H (@lovesplantbased) April 4, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Another great low calorie idea Susan! I have to say, I really loved your introduction to the recipe :)

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7 Jacqueline April 4, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Mmmmmm, I’m liking your take on it Susan. I must try more with it. Thanks for linking to me :)

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8 Bookwerme April 4, 2013 at 2:06 pm

I am totally intrigued with using cauliflower as a rice substitute…that would be great for diabetics..more veggie and no carbs! THANKS for the great idea.

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9 Kate April 4, 2013 at 2:44 pm

WHAT, yes! This looks yummy.

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10 Mark April 4, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Tell me, Susan, does our heroine wear a special costume (cape, mask, tights) when processing the cauliflower mixture?

Extra points for photos or a video…. (hah!)

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11 Susan Voisin April 4, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Mark, I always cook in my leotard and cape emblazoned with the FFV crest. How did you know? I don’t wear a mask, though in that get-up I should! ;-)

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12 Cheryl April 4, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Just made this and it was SO good, and very filling. The only thing I didn’t already have on hand was fresh cauliflower. I pulsed frozen cauliflower (thawed) a few times and voila. Didn’t have or make tortillas, but will next time. I served it on a pile of shredded lettuce, and topped it with a spoon of salsa. Oh man, a keeper.
I used to be insulin resistant (borderline diabetic) and am now eating all the carbs I want, no fat to miniscule amounts of fat, and have a clean bill of health. Even things I didn’t worry about like anemia, are gone. I highly recommend anyone who is diabetic to google Dr John McDougal.
Susan, you are truly saving people’s lives with your recipes. If you didn’t have so many amazing tasting fat free recipes I wouldn’t have been able to sustain this.
Yum!

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13 Susan Voisin April 4, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Thanks so much for letting us know that it works with frozen cauliflower. And congratulations on regaining your health! I’m happy that my recipes could help.

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14 Jenica April 4, 2013 at 2:59 pm

This looks & sounds fantastic!
You said this makes a large batch, do you think it would freeze well? I was thinking freeze half & save it for a night when I need a quick easy meal.

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15 Susan Voisin April 4, 2013 at 4:02 pm

I wasn’t thinking it would freeze well, but then Cheryl, in a comment above, used frozen cauliflower for it. So now I think that it would probably be fine.

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16 Tom April 4, 2013 at 4:47 pm

OMG. It would be IMPOSSIBLE to find a more gorgeous picture of this meal
Susan, you are skillful and a gift to this world in all you do and offer. STUNNING PHOTO! I know this meal will taste equally as delicious!

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17 Susan Voisin April 6, 2013 at 10:29 am

Thank you so much for the kind words, Tom!

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18 stephanie April 4, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Yes!!! Thank you so much for helping me take back tacos! I dislike rice (Iknow, I know…) so haven’t made tacos since I went vegan cos I didn’t know how to fill them! I’ve been using cauliflower rice in sushi for years, and never thought of this! Thank you, again! You’re the real super hero here!

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19 Carole April 4, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Hi there. The current Food on Friday on Carole’s Chatter is collecting links to dishes using cauliflower and/or cabbage. I do hope you link this in. This is the link . It would be great if you checked out some of the other links – there are lots of good ones already. Cheers

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20 Colleen Grossner April 4, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Such a cool recipe, Susan! I did a similar post today — lentil tacos/ taco spice http://fresh-you.blogspot.com/2013/04/quick-and-easy-lentil-tacos-with-diy.html Still I LOVE how you use cauliflower! I can’t wait to see all of your recipes and swim through your website! Thanks for being so creatively healthy!!

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21 Kalyn April 4, 2013 at 8:55 pm

This is such a good idea! I recently made lentil taco salad which I’ll be posting soon; kind of in the same general food group.

And thanks for the shout out!

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22 Kelly April 4, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Oh wow I just made this and it is absolutely delicious! I used blue corn tortillas and tomatillo sauce as well as other goodies and holy cow! Amazing recipe, definitely going on my “to be made again” list :)

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23 Susan Voisin April 4, 2013 at 11:29 pm

I’m so glad you liked it, Kelly!

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24 The Vegan Cookie Fairy April 5, 2013 at 2:54 am

WOW. I cannot believe how low-cal this is. I just HAVE to try it, it looks so delicious! Not a big fan of traditional rice, anyway, but I love lentils :)

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25 Angela W April 5, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Absolutely delicious! Thanks so much for this latest gem!

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26 suzgrant April 5, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Yum! Can’t wait to try this! Thanks!

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27 laloofah April 5, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Well, I’M intrigued! I love tacos, but have never had one with rice in it, never mind cauliflower posing as rice! :-) We’d love ours spicy like you and your husband do, so this one’s now in my recipe box and on my Pinterest board.

I need to give those cauliflower steaks of yours a try, too! No head of cauliflower will be safe when I get out there with my grocery list. :-)

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28 Ruta April 6, 2013 at 5:51 am

I’ve tried cauliflower a lot of ways, but I’ve yet to try it in a taco. What a great idea! I’m definitely going to give something like this a try. By the way, that first picture is absolutely beautiful. I love it!

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29 Nikki April 6, 2013 at 6:52 am

Mega YUM!
I didn’t have tortillas so wrapped the filling in iceberg lettuce leaves! Perfect light meal for a hot day here in Australia.

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30 Kevin April 6, 2013 at 7:03 am

I tried these tonight and LOVED them! I am amazed at how cauliflower can be used in so many different ways and it always seems to work! I forgot some of the seasonings because I was trying to do too much at one time, but it still turned out good. I served it with some Mexican papas … basically potatoes cut into bite sized pieces, thrown in a bag wet from water and shaken with taco seasoning before roasting them. The entire dinner was totally fat free, plant strong and yummy!!!!!
I live in Japan where being vegan is tough … they just don’t get it and everything is either pork or fish based, so I cook a lot! So far, so good. Susan’s website is a Godsend for me!!! Thank you for doing what you do!

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31 Madeline April 6, 2013 at 11:04 am

This was delicious! Instead of the taco shells, I used cabbage leaves. It turned out great. Thanks for the recipe…

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32 Will @Will*yum* April 6, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Oh my goodness I love tacos! AND THEY’RE HEALTHY. Where has this recipe been all my life?

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33 briguyrn April 6, 2013 at 11:35 pm

I turned this into a tamale filling…It worked out very well!

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34 Janet April 7, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Hi Susan, I just made the lentil & cauliflower rice tacos and they are fabulous! I have made a number of your recipes and have never been disappointed! I will definitely make this again. One of my favorites is the No-fu loaf. I always make two and freeze one. When I was a kid I used to love my mom’s leftover meatloaf made into a sandwich and smothered with ketchup. That’s exactly what the No-fu loaf reminds me of. So good in a sandwich! Thanks for all you do. I always look forward to your new postings!

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35 Werner April 7, 2013 at 8:17 pm

Wow! I live in the Southwest and thought I had tasted every taco filling imaginable.This is a great recipe…tasty, nutritious, cheap, easy…and feeds a crowd. I sprinkled in some Mexican oregano, our traditional flavoring w/ cumin and garlic. Served on blue corn tortillas w/ a sauce we used to drizzle on fish tacos pre-vegan days: plain unsweetened yogurt blended w/ 1 chipotle in adobo, lime juice and cilantro. We are groaning :) Thank you, Susan, for your “magic” and creativity… and for the particularly inviting photo!

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36 Elizabeth April 7, 2013 at 9:26 pm

WOW! this is awesome :) I like the idea of colorful healthy tacos. I’ll love this! thanks for the recipe.

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37 Joyce April 8, 2013 at 11:07 am

These tacos were incredible! I had some shiitake mushrooms that needed to be used up, so I pulsed them in the food processor and added them in too. I served it up in romaine lettuce leaves with all the usual taco toppings. Yum! Thanks Susan – this will be in our regular rotation!

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38 Amy Jo April 8, 2013 at 1:36 pm

That photo is beautiful! I love cauliflower and what you did with it for this recipe. Looks yummy!

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39 Kathryn April 9, 2013 at 10:16 am

WOW! I made this last night – I had a huge head of cauliflower and it made so much! I can’t wait to put it atop a salad next.

I was lazy and used some bulk taco seasoning, but next time I’ll use your spice mix for sure!

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40 Mary Carmen April 10, 2013 at 11:24 am

Dear Susan,
I tried this recipe for the first time today and I still can not believe how delicious it was! I know this is supposed to be used as a filling for tacos but I made a bigger serving and ate it on its own :)
However, there’s something I wanted to ask you. Did you use any oil? I used it for the onions but I wanted to know if there’s the possibility of doing that step it using water instead of oil.
Thank you very much for the wonderful recipe. I can’t wait to surprise my family with this!

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41 Susan Voisin April 10, 2013 at 11:45 am

I’m so glad you liked it, Mary! To answer your question, no I don’t use oil when I cook onions. I find that with a good non-stick skillet I don’t need any oil or other liquid to cook onions. Sometimes I help them out by sprinkling them with a pinch of baking soda or salt, which makes the liquid come out of them so that they break down and cook much more quickly. But in this recipe, I just let them cook on their own.

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42 Lee at Veggie Quest April 10, 2013 at 4:07 pm

I can’t wait to try this; I’m a huge fan of cauliflower. I also love your idea of putting sprouts on tacos–yum!

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43 Shannon April 11, 2013 at 10:33 am

We made this for dinners this week. Delicious, easy, filling, and healthy. Can’t beat it!

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44 Elizabeth April 11, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Delicious. I loved it and so did my husband – who is getting pickier and pickier these days – and three year old (omitted spicy ingredients for her sake). I did double the chili powder and cumin, and added some Mexican oregano. This is good enough to be in our regular meal rotation, thanks!

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45 Solveig April 12, 2013 at 12:30 am

Loved this, as has our 2.5-year-old daughter!

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46 Pille @ Nami-Nami April 12, 2013 at 12:50 am

Aww, thank you for linking to my cauli rice post, dear Susan! Such a great idea to combine this with lentils (love regular rice with lentils).
I actually cook cauliflower “rice” on a weekly basis now, as my two kids (well the two out of three who are actually eating solids already) love cauliflower this way.

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47 Mari K April 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Susan,

I’ve never tried to make fake meat/meat substitute like this, and was worried it would be too difficult for my limited cooking ability, but this came out wonderful — delicious! AND easy!

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48 Arlene April 12, 2013 at 7:18 pm

JUST finished eating these for dinner and can I just say, AMAZING! What a great great recipe :) Never would’ve thought of that one on my own. my daughters (ages 6 & 8) couldn’t believe they were meat free. I put the taco ‘innards’ over a bed of spinach with some lime and hot sauce too and it was like a yummy taco salad. Thank you!

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49 Sara April 13, 2013 at 11:36 am

Susan,

I was feeling hungry for a warm breakfast and I remembered this post, so I got out the half head of cauliflower and cooked lentils left over from a curry and threw together a half batch of your taco filling. I make up my own chili spice blend using dried green chili, so I used that instead of all the spices in the recipe. I also had half of a block of extra-firm regular tofu in the fridge, so I added it and transformed the dish into a fabulous tofu scramble-like filling for a couple of warmed corn tortillas. I topped them with salsa and . . . Best breakfast ever! Thanks for the enticing photo and great recipe!

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50 Dawn April 14, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Delicious! Kind of reminded me of a picadillo. I’m eating it by the bowlful topped with sliced green olives.

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51 Lisa Magoulas April 15, 2013 at 12:33 pm

OMG this sounds fabulous! Definitely going to try it. I just so happen to have all the ingredients. :)

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52 moonwatcher April 15, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Hi Susan,

This filling makes a great warm taco salad. I tossed greens with lime juice and ground flax, cut up some baked sweet potato and put on top of that, then a heaping serving of the taco filling, then a little spoonful of crushed pineapple and tomatillo salsa, and some cubes of avocado. A little extra lime juice. Heavenly!

moonwatcher

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53 Amy April 22, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Wow! This was a definite winner. Made for a great summer meal. I served it with your zucchini noodles with peanut sauce (http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2013/04/zucchini-noodles-with-sesame-peanut-sauce.html) My husband and I loved it.

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54 Marsha April 29, 2013 at 10:29 am

I can’t wait to make this!!

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55 Denise April 30, 2013 at 8:32 pm

We enjoyed the cauliflower tacos tonight. Although the cauliflower flying all over my kitchen when I was grating it was annoying. But cleaning up the mess was a worthy sacrifice for such a low calorie dish. My husband never was fond of cauliflower, but he has enjoyed the steaks, the cauliflower cream sauce and now the rice. Thanks for all the great recipes.

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56 Charlotte May 12, 2013 at 11:35 am

I made these last week and loved them. My omni husband said “we can have these again.” I made a taco salad with the leftovers for lunch the next day with a dressing of salsa with a bit of vegan mayo added. It was great!

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57 Brenda May 15, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Made this tonight and it was wonderful! I used the rice/lentil filling for a taco salad, serving it on shredded lettuce. Topped with salsa and your cauliflower cheese sauce, it was ridiculously tasty.

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58 stephc102 May 21, 2013 at 9:54 am

I originally sent this recipe to my daughter to try out with her boys and she kind of just ignored me so I took her all the ingredients one day and we made it for lunch. It is now a family favorite. I’m not sure the boys know yet that the tacos don’t have meat in them – they loved it.

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59 stephanie May 31, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Hello Susan!
This is a wonderful recipe and one of my new favorites! The nutritional information you provide is always helpful and accurate, however I recently started counting my calories and need a point of clarification if you don’t mind. You are clear that the info does not include the tortilla, but I am wondering if it includes the veggie toppings you list (tomato, lettuce,etc.). Doesn’t seem like it, but I am trying to be accountable so I thought I’d better be sure.

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60 stephanie May 31, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Also, I’d like to ask your permission to add the recipes of yours I prepare to the calorie counter website. I would list the brand as FatFree Vegan Kitchen and put down the url for each recipe, with the exception of the times I alter or substitute things, just for accuracy. I added this and another without thinking, but can easily have them removed if you object. Sorry for that ethical lapse. Are you ok with that?
If I add them, the recipes and a link to your site will be shared with all the other CC site members. : )

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61 Susan Voisin May 31, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Hi Stephanie! The calorie count is just for the lentil & cauliflower filling–the ingredients listed under “Ingredients”–and not for any lettuce, tomato, etc. that you might add to the tacos. I think I’m fine with you adding the recipe to the calorie counter website as long as you don’t copy and paste the whole recipe–in other words, that people would have to come here to my blog to get the instructions, etc. I’ve been doing that myself over at My Fitness Pal.

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62 stephanie June 1, 2013 at 11:44 am

Thank you so much, Susan! That will help tremendously as I cook from your site ALOT!
I will not copy any of your recipes onto the site. : ) It asks only for the name, brand, a brief description and the nutritional information. Listing the source is optional, but I will copy the link to each recipe in the “source” section. That way when people read my food log (a horrifying prospect!) they can come directly to your site if they want to prepare a meal I have logged.
Your blog has helped me so much over the years with my health and weight loss journey, I will be very happy if I can expose even a few new people to your brilliance.

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63 ti July 22, 2013 at 1:19 pm

I was just reading the comments here and I hope you are listing FFV recipes to myfitnesspal!!!! That’s the site I use and it would be a great help! I’m going to go check it out!

64 A. Hammond May 31, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Wow. This recipe is ingenious, creative, and DELICIOUS.

I added a touch more cumin, cilantro, and left a little moisture in the lentils before mixing.

Thank you for this amazing recipe!

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65 Jardine June 8, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Wanted you know we just finished our Taco’s. This recipe is the BEST taco one around. It was the right texture and flavor. Many times there is disappointment with a recipe, not this one, it really delivered. You are brilliant in the use of the cauliflower. This is a keeper and will replace all the other ones. Thank you!!!!

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66 Marjorie June 13, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Your cauliflower and lentil tacos are absolutely wonderful. I doctored the recipe a little using my own preferred spices, and spice levels, and a little tomato sauce (could you enchilada sauce instead) but it is the first time I have eaten a taco “guilt-free” in I don’t know how long. It is a great fat-free vegan recipe, thank you,
Marjorie
p.s. I just stumbled on your site, but it is a favorite now!

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67 Brenda July 28, 2013 at 5:47 pm

I just tried this recipe as stuffing for bell peppers and it was delicious! I added a little tomato sauce over the top, and cut back on the chili powder a bit. Most of my cooking now is from your recipes, thanks SO much!

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68 mary October 4, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Just made this for dinner tonight, it was delicious. My picky hubby loved it. He said it was “just like meat tacos”. I think it was just delicious, not like icky meat. We served it in warmed corn tortillas with romaine, salsa and a sliver of avocado. Easy and so yummy! Thank you so much!

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69 Brenda October 30, 2013 at 2:38 pm

I want to make this tonight, but I was thinking about using my pressure cooker for the lentils. Not sure if you’ll see this in time, but would 10 minutes on high work? I have the Fagor multi-cooker that you recommended, if that helps! And I’ve read to add oil when pressure cooking lentils–what’s your advice? Thanks a ton!

I love this recipe, by the way, just never tried it with the Fagor.

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70 Susan Voisin October 30, 2013 at 2:44 pm

I would cook them for a little less than 10 minutes–maybe 8–so that they are still firm and not mushy. Then let the pressure reduce naturally.

I never use oil when cooking lentils or even split peas. I just make sure not to over-fill the cooker and have never had a problem.

Good luck!

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71 Brenda October 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Will do! Thanks for the speedy answer!

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72 Lucinda November 18, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Hi, just want to say thank you for this wonderful recipe. It has become a staple around our house and several of my non-vegan friends like it, too. Even a few teen aged carnivores think its great. It’s wonderful rolled in a wrap with cabbage and cilantro for an easy lunch the next day.

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73 Karina January 1, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Made this for a family holiday get together where I was the only non-meat eater. The carnivores all loved it and couldn’t believe it contained cauliflower!! It was a bit of the pain in the butt to make (cauliflower bits got everywhere) but it was so worth it to have something delicious to eat at the get together and made plenty for leftovers :)

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74 Rosie Hernandez January 5, 2014 at 5:58 pm

Thank you for the recipe .. The tacos came out great didn’t even get a chance to miss the meat part if the tacos.. Im thinking of cutting alot if my families meat intake and by finding stuff like this will be a great way..

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75 Ceara @ Ceara's Kitchen April 4, 2014 at 3:01 am

Wow Susan this recipe is genius and I can’t wait to try this out next time I make tacos :D Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

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76 Stephanie Dreyer May 30, 2014 at 1:15 pm

This recipe looks delicious. Taco Tuesday is a weekly tradition and I have been getting bored of my regular two recipes I rotate – black bean and corn or portobello asada tacos. Both are delicious, but I am so excited to have a new recipe to add to my rotation. Can’t wait to try this next week!

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77 Amy July 15, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Susan….I can’t tell you anything that someone else already hasn’t. Amazing food. Amazing photos. Every recipe I try, we love. These tacos were last nights menu pick. I have been looking for a make-from-scratch recipe since I discovered recently the powdered mix at the grocery store contains dairy. No wonder. All six of us chowed down in silence and asked for more, and more, and then just a itsy bitsy more please, until we were rounded bellies in our chairs. When I told one of the boys it had cauliflower in it, he said, I don’t even like cauliflower and I can’t taste it! Bingo. That’s the whole idea buddy. There are leftovers in the fridge that I can’t stop thinking about. I will add to your pile of thank you’s, another warm and extremely sincere thank you.

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