Cauliflower Rice Bowl with Garlic Shrimp

Cauliflower rice bowls are a filling, low-carb, vegetable-and protein-packed weeknight dinner for two. The cauliflower is mild, so it doesn’t compete with the garlicky shrimp in this dish.

Vertical photo of two table settings of garlic shrimp cauliflower rice bowls. Avocado slices and herbs are in the bowls as well. A fork, knife and napkin are at each place setting.
Sally Vargas | Art Banner Credit: Elena Resko

When you have two at the table, this cauliflower rice with shrimp steps in to give you dinner in under 30 minutes. You can’t argue with that!

A tasty, low-carb meal has got to be on the top of your list for weeknight suppers. The emphasis here is on tasty.

Cauliflower rice—finely chopped raw cauliflower that looks like a grain—works as a great backdrop for the other fresh flavors in this recipe. It gets a hefty shot of lemon, both zest and juice, plus a bonus of barely wilted spinach and cherry tomatoes.

Topped off with garlicky shrimp, this weeknight dinner has a huge yum factor.

A horizontal poto of cauliflower rice and shrimp. A green napkin is to the left and a water glass to the right. Above the glass is a second bowl in partial view.
Sally Vargas | Art Banner Credit: Elena Resko

Where to Get Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice has become a popular replacement for grains for people who have allergies, or who just want to lower their starchy grain intake. You can either buy it already riced in the frozen foods section or make it yourself.

  • Ready-Made: Supermarkets caught up quickly to this trend, and you can often find it in the produce section with prepped produce or packaged in the freezer. It’s one less step, so if you are in a hurry, by all means, make it your default position.
  • Make It Yourself: It’s dead easy to make it yourself with a food processor and some coarsely chopped cauliflower.
  • Freeze It: If you are ambitious, or just have a giant head of cauliflower you can’t use all at once, take it from the food processor to the airtight freezer container of your choice. It will keep well in the freezer for up to a couple of months.
Shrimp and cauliflower rice in a white bowl with herbs and avocado sices. A second bowl identical bowl is in the background.
Sally Vargas | Art Banner Credit: Elena Resko

How to Buy Shrimp

Since ‘fresh’ shrimp is pretty much nonexistent because almost all shrimp are frozen immediately after harvest, I almost always pick up frozen shrimp.

That shrimp in the seafood case at the supermarket? It is simply frozen shrimp that has been defrosted.

Shrimp is quite perishable, and there’s no way to know how long ago it was thawed. For that reason, I like to buy frozen shrimp and defrost it myself when it’s time to cook. Just plunk it in a bowl of cold water for 15 minutes and it will be ready to cook.

For this recipe, I prefer jumbo (21/25 per pound) shrimp to small ones, because I like the statement they make on the plate (and there are fewer to peel, too!).

A shallow bowl of garlic shrimp cauliflower rice with a napkin and fork to the left. Sauteed shrimp and herbs are visible in the bowl.
Sally Vargas | Art Banner Credit: Elena Resko

Ways to Adapt Cauliflower Shrimp Bowls

  • Swap the cauliflower rice: You can swap out any cooked grain you like in this recipe if you’re not in a cauliflower kind of mood, or just want to switch it up.
  • Swap the greens: I used baby spinach here, but kale or Swiss chard would make a nice change.
  • Swap the shrimp: I can imagine topping this with canned tuna, or some leftover sliced meat like steak or pork chops. Pretty soon you’ll have a whole other dish, but that’s the beauty of cooking!
  • Double it? Yes, please do! It would make an easy, simple meal worthy of sharing with friends.

More Great Bowl Recipes

Cauliflower Rice Bowl with Garlic Shrimp

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 2 servings

This recipe is easily doubled if you'd like to make more servings.


  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided

  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion

  • 3 cups frozen cauliflower rice, store-bought or homemade

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, divided

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon

  • 2 handfuls baby spinach leaves (about 2 cups, packed)

  • 8 cherry cherry tomatoes, halved, or quartered if large

  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 8 to 10 extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 avocado, sliced, for garnish


  1. Cook the onion and cauliflower rice:

    In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of the oil. When the oil shimmers, add the chopped onion and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the onion softens.

    Add the cauliflower rice and 1/4 cup water to the skillet. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, or until the cauliflower loses its raw taste. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and lemon zest.

  2. Add the spinach and cherry tomatoes:

    Stir the spinach into the cauliflower and cook for 3 minutes, or until the spinach barely wilts. Stir in the tomatoes. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Remove from the heat and set aside while you cook the shrimp.

    Cauliflower rice, spinach, basil and tomatoes in a high sided wok.
    Sally Vargas | Art Banner Credit: Elena Resko
  3. Cook the shrimp:

    In a nonstick skillet large enough to accommodate the shrimp in one layer, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the garlic. Set the skillet over medium heat and cook for about 30 seconds, or just until the garlic sizzles. (Start by heating the garlic and oil at the same time in a cold pan to prevent the garlic from burning.)

    Add the shrimp in one layer. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until the shrimp is opaque in the center. (Exact cooking time depends on the size of the shrimp.)

    Remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle with the paprika. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and the parsley. Turn the shrimp to coat it well in the lemony, garlicky oil.

    Large shrimp cooking in a non-stick skillet and covered with herbs.
    Sally Vargas | Art Banner Credit: Elena Resko
  4. Assemble the bowls:

    In two shallow bowls, divide the cauliflower rice. Top each with half the shrimp and garnish with slices of avocado. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
396 Calories
29g Fat
26g Carbs
16g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 396
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 4g 21%
Cholesterol 58mg 19%
Sodium 708mg 31%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 9%
Dietary Fiber 9g 33%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 16g
Vitamin C 106mg 530%
Calcium 329mg 25%
Iron 8mg 44%
Potassium 1550mg 33%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.