Cauliflower Rice Upma

Quick and easy, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, recipe for an Indian spiced savory cauliflower rice that makes a perfect side dish or a light meal!

Quick and easy, gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, low calorie Indian spiced cauliflower rice upma is a great light meal or side dish option.
Cauliflower Rice Upma

Cauliflower rice has been popular for quite some time now. I liked the idea of a lower carb option but truth be told……I was skeptical about tricking my rice loving taste buds.

That was until this gorgeous yellow cauliflower at the farmers market caught my eye! Does this happen to you? At such times, I am standing there oblivious of people around me, looking at that beautiful deep yellow cauliflower thinking of what I could make with it….and the wheels started turning….what if I made it into cauliflower upma?

Quick and easy, gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, low calorie Indian spiced cauliflower rice upma is a great light meal or side dish option.
Look at this gorgeous yellow cauliflower! Hard to resist, right?

Luckily people around me were nice this time….unlike the time I stood next to yummy looking yams……but that is a story for another day 🙂

Back to my irresistible yellow cauliflower! I simply cut chunks of it and put them in my food processor which I then realized was broken. So I discovered that a mini chopper works fine too. Once that is done, your meal is ready in a matter of minutes!

The tempering of Indian spices transformed the cauliflower into 5 cups of delectable low carb, low cal upma! I am happy to have discovered this yummy, low calorie yet filling dish!

I cannot wait to make my  Scrumptious Spaghetti Squash Upma this fall again, another of my favorites that was a hit last year! My book club friends always demand my Indian Noodles so as we start another year of book club, that is on my list too!

Cauliflower Rice Upma

  • Servings: 5 - 1 cup
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 big head of cauliflower
  • 1 ½ tablespoon oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoon urad dal
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 dried red chilies
  • 6~8 fresh curry leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon asafetida
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • Fresh grated coconut and cilantro leaves for topping (optional)

To make the Cauliflower Rice Upma-

  1. Wash, trim and cut the cauliflower into big florets. You can use a food processor/ mini chopper or the coarse side of a grater to cut the cauliflower into small grain like rice. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan, over medium heat. Add the urad dal, mustard seeds, cumin seeds,the dry red chilies and curry leaves in that order. When the spices sizzle and splutter,add the asafetida powder and the turmeric powder and stir for another 30 seconds or so to let the flavors bloom.
  3. Add the riced cauliflower and salt and saute the mixture well for about 2 to 3 minutes or until the cauliflower is coated with the spices and is cooked tender crisp.
  4. Add the sugar and lime juice and stir to combine.
  5. Serve topped with the grated coconut and cilantro leaves, if desired.

Enjoy this filling yet low calorie dish! It is all about the balance, right?

I am taking my Cauliflower Rice Upma to Fiesta Friday co-hosted by the fabulous Judi @Cooking with Aunt Juju!

66 thoughts on “Cauliflower Rice Upma

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    1. Thanks so much Greg. This recipe is going to be a keeper for me as I get to enjoy gluten free upma….not to mention low cal 🙂
      I am sorry about my delay in replying. My computer crashed and am just trying to get back with a borrowed one. I hope my computer gets fixed.I am tired of buying new ones…..just like your ceramic cook tops, only a lot less expensive 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Seema. I am so sorry about my delay in replying. My computer crashed and I am just trying to catch up on a borrowed one as mine gets fixed.
      I loved this option for a gluten free upma.

    1. Thanks so much Caroline! It is great that we get inspired, right 🙂
      Sorry about my delay in replying. My computer crashed and I am just trying to catch up on a borrowed computer. I appreciate your kind words !

  1. I tried cauliflower rice this year too and it was good. I love the way you “kicked it up” with all those great ingredients. Besides I now finally have quite a collection of Indian spices. thanks for sharing with Fiesta Friday Sandhya and bringing a new version of cauliflower rice.

    1. Thanks so much Judi! This recipe is going to be a keeper for me because I love the flavors and it gives me a gluten free option for the traditional upma that is made of cream of wheat/semolina.
      My computer crashed so I have been out of touch….trying to get back in the swing of things on a borrowed computer 🙂
      When teaching cooking classes, I realized that some spices and dal , like urad dal is not something most people have in their kitchen and the Indian recipes require a teaspoon or so here and there. My friends in town just knock on my door and say ” hey how about some urad dal or shahi jeera that you used :)”
      You are always so gracious hosting FF . Thank you so much!

  2. I have tried and tested cauliflower upma and it taste delicious. My aunt had suggested this recipe to me and its a nice twist on the traditional upma. Will def try your version Sandhya

  3. Lately I have become a huge fan of cauliflower rice and even my hubby loves it too. It will be great to try out your lovely recipe. Looks delicious! I am sure it will be a hit with my family 🙂

    1. Thanks so much! I am sorry about my delay in replying. My computer crashed so I have been out of touch….trying to catch up now, but you know how it is, using a borrowed computer 😉 Hope you got a chance to try out the upma.

      1. No worries Sandhya! Hope your computer gets up and working soon :). Yes I will try this out very soon as these days me and my husband are cutting down on rice to reduce carbs intake. So having said that, cauliflower rice becomes a great healthy alternative! I will let you know how it turns out…but I am sure it’s gonna be lovely & delicious! 🙂

    1. Thanks Myra. Sorry for my delay in replying. My computer crashed so i have been out of touch. Your blog and posts are very inspiring!

    1. Thanks Marisa. I am so glad to hear that your daughter loves Indian food! I hope she likes the cauliflower upma. The “Indian noodles for my book club” on my blog has similar spices and is a favorite with my book group. I am fortunate to be part of a very multi cultural/ international book club and this seems to be a hit for all tastes:)

  4. Love the color of that cauliflower. I’m not sure I’ve seen one that color. Your upma dish with the cauliflower rice looks amazing! What does upma mean? The Indian spices must have given it a great savory flavor. I’ve yet to try the cauliflower rice. I always think that my food processor might not do the job as well, but you’ve illustrated here how simple it can be. Have a great weekend Sandhya.

    1. Loretta,
      I am so sorry for not replying earlier. We just got back from our trip to Seattle,Vancouver and Victoria and I also brought back what seems to be a terrible head cold/ viral something 🙂
      Flying with the head cold was awful and i can only laugh about it now:)
      My computer crashed just before I left for the trip so am trying to reset everything on a borrowed one for now.
      Anyway, coming back to the cauliflower upma, I rarely see these yellow cauliflowers too, so I got super excited. I am not sure where the word upma comes from but in India upma made of semolina is a very popular tea time or breakfast snack. So this make a very nice gluten free option.
      Hope all is well with you. I will catch up with your posts soon!

    1. Thanks Indah! I hope you like it. I look for recipes to reduce carb intake too and this will be one of my go to recipes too.

    1. Thanks so much Julie. I love carbs too much , so low carb recipes that taste good are a keeper in my home:)

  5. That golden cauliflower is indeed gorgeous, and even more so made into this upma! I’ve only tried cauliflower rice a couple times, but I’ve really enjoyed it. So simple and delicious. It sounds amazing with the spices and flavours you’ve used Sandhya 🙂

    1. Thanks so much! Sorry about my delay in replying. My computer decided to quit on me and I was left realizing how much I depend on it 😉

  6. This sounds a really tasty way of spicing up the cauliflower rice. I’ve only just discovered this as an alternative to the ‘real thing’ on my ‘low carb’ healthy eating plan that I’m following to put a recent diabetes diagnosis into remission. I’ll definitely be trying this recipe. Much appreciated! x

    1. Thanks so much Wendy! I really appreciate your kind words. I love this recipe so much that I just got another cauliflower to make it. It keeps well in the refrigerator and reheats well for a quick lunch/snack too. Yes I love the courgette spaghetti too! Good for you for putting diabetes into remission!

  7. These dresses are beuufital! I love all the lace and intricate details. I am not much of a tea person myself but have heard some great things about the variety of teas they have in Teavana. Hope you had a great weekend!

  8. Cauliflower rice upma for sure is a treat for people who have gluten-allergies..Making upma with cauliflower is such a versatile idea !! It looks quite inviting .. loved the yellow colored cauliflowers in the pics!!

  9. What a wonderful and tasty new idea of cooking cauliflower! Those chilli peppers on top are calling my name. 😋

  10. I’m completely in awe of the colorful cauliflower available in the US and Canada. This recipe is a must try one, as one can enjoy Indian flavors for a low carb dish. We face power outage very often so sometimes the hand grater becomes handy to grate the cauliflower.

    1. Thanks Mayuri. I like that it is low carb and very flavorful.
      Cauliflower is easy to grate but losing electricity often must be so tough. We lost power last week for 3 days and due to winter the house got so cold!

      1. I can imagine how cold it must have been. Thankfully, when power goes away we don’t feel cold but it gets too hot. Often power cuts are irritating as we depend on power for so many things.

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