Parmesan Pesto Cauliflower Rice

Parmesan pesto cauliflower rice is a quick, healthy side dish flavored with Parmesan cheese and pesto sauce. Its light and fluffy texture make this lower-carb dish a treat!

Course Side Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 21 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 159 kcal
Author Alyssa


  • 1 head of cauliflower (see note)
  • 5 tbsp olive oil, divided (1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp)
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts*
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cut the cauliflower head into four sections and then cut away the middle stem to separate the florets from the stem. Place the florets in a food processor and pulse until the cauliflower is in very small pieces. Remove cauliflower from food processor and wipe clean for the pesto later on.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add broken up cauliflower and stir. Cover and cook 5 or so minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower has softened slightly. Remove from heat once done.
  3. Add basil leaves, remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, and 2 tbsp Parmesan to food processor and pulse until the pesto is broken up and cohesive, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  4. Once cauliflower has been removed from the heat, stir in lemon juice, pesto sauce, remaining 6 tbsp (1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese), and salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe Notes

I weighed the cauliflower florets after they had been pulsed in the food processor and I had about 14 oz of cauliflower rice.

*If you don't have pine nuts, you can use walnuts or almonds.

Nutrition Facts
Parmesan Pesto Cauliflower Rice
Amount Per Serving
Calories 159 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 23%
Saturated Fat 3.4g 17%
Cholesterol 8mg 3%
Sodium 118mg 5%
Potassium 159mg 5%
Total Carbohydrates 3.4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1.2g 5%
Sugars 1.2g
Protein 5g 10%
Calcium 9%
Iron 2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.