Indian Lemon Cauliflower Rice

This vegetable-based whole30 friendly side dish is super flavorful and a worthy replacement for the rice-based South Indian dish! It’s lemony, nutty and super tasty!

Have you heard of lemon rice? It may, at first, sound a bit strange if you haven’t tried it but it’s super delicious!! For years, the rice version of this has been a firm family favorite, and all friends who have ever come for dinner eating this, have LOVED it as well. I started making it probably about 20 years ago and used to make it for my parents and me all the time.

We grew up eating our share of Indian food because my mother had strong connections to India. She had several friends there and used to go visit them every now and then. I used to love Indian food from quite an early age and still do now. Strong flavors and spicy food generally appeals to me but this rice dish is not spicy at all. Well, my version is not a rice but a cauliflower rice dish but it still isn’t spicy.

I have been mostly avoiding carbs for a while now, or I try to substitute them for a healthier option. For example, instead of potatoes, I eat sweet potatoes and instead of rice I choose cauliflower rice. While not the same as regular rice, it’s still a great alternative with much more health benefits. Since my son’s favorite side dish is lemon rice, I make it quite often and have been eyeing it jealously for months now! But this cauliflower version is a worthy alternative. It tastes very similar and I am totally happy eating that instead!

Lemon rice originated in South India and is a very popular dish. It typically uses pre-cooked rice but I’ve always made it with uncooked rice. You make a spice mixture in oil which is very fragrant and gives a lot of flavor to the rice. I used dried curry leaves, mustard seeds and cashews. You also add grated coconut and ground turmeric to the dish. Together with the lemon juice, it creates this gorgeous taste!

Will you make this side dish soon? Or how about my Vegan “Cheesy” Broccoli Bake?

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 10 mins Cook Time 15 mins Total Time 25 mins
Servings: 2


This vegetable-based whole30 friendly side dish is super flavorful and a worthy replacement for the rice-based South Indian dish! It's lemony, nutty and super tasty!



  1. Add grated coconut and coconut milk to a small bowl and mix well. Let stand for 10 minutes. 

  2. Add 1 tsp of oil to a pan and heat up at medium heat. Add the frozen cauliflower rice together with the ground turmeric. Add lid and fry for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then. 

  3. In the meantime, add the oil, curry leaves, mustard seeds and chopped cashews to a pot. Let it come to a simmer and fry the spices and nuts for 2 minutes at medium temperature or until the nuts are getting browned. 

  4. After the cauliflower rice has fried for ten minutes, add the coconut mixture, lemon juice, salt and the spice and nut mixture. Fry for another 5 minutes. Enjoy!


Curry Leaves: mine were very small so I used more like 10. Adjust the amount of curry leaves depending on their size. 

Keywords: whole30, whole30 cauliflower dish, cauliflower side dish, cauliflower, cauliflower rice, lemon rice, indian, indian side dish, healthy side dish, side dish, vegan, vegan side dish, cauliflower rice dish, whole30,

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Andrea Epstein in her kitchen

Andrea Epstein

Hi, I'm Andrea, a full-time food blogger, mother of 1 wonderful son, 2 equally wonderful stepsons and wife to a darling husband. I live in Munich, Germany with my family. I loves traveling, sharing new recipes, and spending time with my family.

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