Are you looking for a hearty and satisfying dish that won’t weigh you down with carbohydrates? Look no further than this low-carb arroz imperial recipe! An updated take on the traditional Cuban dish, this version replaces the rice typically used in favor of riced cauliflower, making it the perfect option for anyone following a low-carb or keto lifestyle.
But don’t be fooled by the substitution – this dish is packed with flavor and texture. Skinless chicken breasts are seasoned with ground oregano and cumin before being sautéed with onions, garlic, and green peppers. The chicken is then mixed with mayonnaise, lime juice, and shredded Monterey Jack cheese and layered over a bed of cooked cauliflower “rice”. A final layer of bacon, green peas, and tomato sauce is added to the top before being baked to perfection.
Not only is this dish low in carbs, but it’s also a great source of protein and healthy fats. And with its bold flavors and satisfying texture, you won’t even miss the rice. Get ready to enjoy an easy-to-make meal that will have your taste buds jumping for joy.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Are you looking for a low-carb alternative to traditional arroz imperial? Look no further! This low-carb arroz imperial recipe is a game-changer for those looking to cut down on carbs without sacrificing taste. Here’s why you won’t be able to resist it:
First and foremost, this dish is packed with flavor. The tender chunks of chicken are seasoned with ground oregano and cumin, adding an authentic Cuban flare. The bacon adds a savory crunch, while the tangy lime juice brightens up the entire dish. All of these flavors combine to create a symphony of taste that will leave you wanting more.
Secondly, this recipe uses riced cauliflower instead of traditional rice, making it an excellent option for those following a keto or low-carb diet. If you’re someone who loves rice but wants to limit your carb intake, this recipe is the answer to your prayers. Not only is riced cauliflower low in carbs and calories, but it also has a mild flavor that makes it an excellent substitute for rice.
Thirdly, this recipe is versatile and customizable. While this recipe calls for certain ingredients like green peas and green bell peppers, feel free to customize them to your liking. Don’t like green peas? Substitute them with edamame or finely chopped carrots. Want more heat? Add a dash of hot sauce or sliced jalapeños.
Finally, this dish is perfect for any occasion. Planning a dinner party or potluck? Whip up a batch of low-carb arroz imperial to impress your guests. Want something quick and easy for dinner after a long day at work? This recipe takes less than an hour to make from start to finish.
In summary, you’ll love this recipe because it’s packed with flavor, low-carb and customizable – perfect for any occasion!
Let’s take a look at all the ingredients you’ll need to create this low-carb Arroz Imperial recipe:
- 2 cups riced cauliflower
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups parboiled long grain rice
- 2 skinless chicken breasts
- Juice of one lime
- 1 teaspoon ground oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- Pinch of salt
- 475 ml tomato sauce
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 60 ml pumpkin puree
- Grated Monterey Jack cheese (2 cups)
- Crispy bacon (6 slices), broken into small pieces
Note: If you’re following a low-fat diet, feel free to use low-fat cheese instead.
The Recipe How-To
Looking to tackle this low-carb version of the famous Brazilian Arroz Imperial? You’re in for a treat! Here is a step-by-step guide for preparing this tasty Low-Carb Arroz Imperial.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 4 skinless chicken breasts
- 1 large white onion (finely chopped)
- 4 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 green bell pepper (finely chopped)
- 1 cup of frozen green peas
- 2 cups of raw cauliflower riced (around one head of cauliflower)
- 6 bacon strips (chopped)
- Juice and zest of one lime
- ½ tsp of ground oregano
- ½ tsp of ground cumin
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 can of unsweetened tomato sauce (8 oz)
- 1 cup of grated Monterey Jack cheese
- ½ cup of mayonnaise
- Fresh parsley (chopped)
- Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- In a large pot, cook the chicken breasts over medium-high heat until just cooked through. Once the chicken is done, remove it from the pot and set it aside.
- In the same pot, add the onions, garlic, green pepper, and bacon. Cook for about five minutes or until fragrant.
- Add in the lime juice and zest, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper, and stir well.
- Pour in the tomato sauce and let everything simmer for another five minutes.
- Add in the peas and riced cauliflower.
- Pull the chicken into small pieces with forks or chop it into tiny cubes using a knife.
- Mix the mayonnaise and Monterey Jack cheese together in another bowl.
- Transfer half of the chicken and the contents of the pot into a large oven-proof baking dish. Then, add half of the mayonnaise and cheese mixture on top.
- Pour the remaining chicken onto the mayo and cheese mixture.
- Add the final layer of mayo and cheese on top of this.
- Bake your Arroz Imperial in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly.
- Once baked, sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.
Enjoy your low-carb version of this Brazilian classic with a salad or roasted vegetables on the side!
Substitutions and Variations
One of the best things about cooking is the freedom to experiment with ingredients and make adjustments based on personal taste and dietary restrictions. In this low-carb arroz imperial recipe, there are a number of substitutions and variations you can make to suit your preferences.
Firstly, if you’re looking to cut down on calories or fat content, consider using low-fat mayonnaise, cheese or turkey bacon instead of regular bacon. Additionally, you can use skinless turkey breasts instead of chicken to make this recipe even healthier.
For those who prefer vegetarian options, you can swap out the chicken for a mix of vegetables like sautéed mushrooms, zucchini and carrots. In place of meat-based broth or bouillon cubes, you can use vegetable broth instead.
If you’re looking for a paleo-friendly substitute for rice, try using riced cauliflower instead. Simply pulse raw cauliflower in a blender or food processor until it resembles small grains of rice. Alternatively, yellow rice or parboiled long grain rice can replace the imperial rice used in the recipe.
To add some zest to your arroz imperial, consider adding lime juice or seasoning with ground cumin and oregano. You can also experiment with different types of cheese such as Monterey Jack or Parmesan cheese to give this dish a unique twist.
For a spin on the classic Cuban arroz con pollo recipe, try using tomato sauce and pumpkin puree together instead of separately. This combination adds depth of flavor to the dish while keeping it low-carb and healthy.
No matter which substitutions or variations you choose for your low-carb arroz imperial recipe, be sure to adjust cooking times and ingredients accordingly for perfect results every time.
Serving and Pairing
When it comes to serving the low-carb arroz imperial, you can’t go wrong by adding some tangy lime juice and some freshly chopped cilantro. This will give the dish a bright and flavorful punch that will leave your taste buds asking for more!
As for pairing, this tasty cuban chicken rice goes well with a variety of dishes. If you’re looking for a light meal, you can serve it with a side of fresh salad or grilled vegetables. But if you’re seeking something more substantial, consider pairing it with beef empanadas or black beans.
You could also pair this dish with a refreshing cocktail such as a mojito or a caipirinha. The citrusy notes in these drinks complement the tanginess of the lime juice in the arroz imperial while cutting through its richness.
When it comes to presentation, you can get creative and serve this dish in individual ramekins or as one large casserole. Topping the dish with crispy bacon or grated parmesan cheese is also an excellent way to add more texture and flavor.
With its lovely combination of flavors and textures, this low-carb arroz imperial will make an excellent addition to any dining table. It’s also a crowd-pleaser and perfect for sharing with family and friends during parties or potlucks.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
One of the greatest perks of this Low-Carb Arroz Imperial Recipe is that it’s perfect for meal prep, reheating, and serving as leftovers. You can make it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator or freezer for later use without compromising its flavor or texture.
To make-ahead, you can simply prepare the recipe as instructed and let it cool to room temperature before storing. Transfer it into an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to three days or freeze for up to one month. To reheat, you can bake or microwave the desired amount until steaming hot.
When you’re ready to serve, garnish it with some chopped cilantro or freshly squeezed lime juice, and your Low-Carb Arroz Imperial will taste just as amazing as when you first made it.
It’s worth noting that reheat times may vary depending on the size of your dish and if you are reheating from frozen. A general rule of thumb, when reheating chicken dishes, you want to ensure that the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure it’s safe to eat.
In summary, this low-carb Arroz Imperial recipe is very versatile which makes it perfect for meal prepping and reheating. It really doesn’t matter what your schedule looks like because regardless of when you decide to eat it, this dish is always going to be just as scrumptious. So go ahead and double the recipe so that you have enough leftovers to enjoy throughout the week!
Tips for Perfect Results
Cooking low-carb Arroz Imperial is not an easy task, especially if you’re looking for perfection. However, you don’t need to worry. Here are some tips I’ve gathered from my experience that will help you achieve the best results possible:
1. Use high-quality ingredients: The taste of any recipe largely depends on the quality of its ingredients. When making low-carb Arroz Imperial, make sure all your ingredients are fresh and of good quality. This is especially important when dealing with meat and veggies.
2. Cook chicken breasts correctly: To add depth of flavor to the recipe, we use skinless chicken breasts. Make sure you cook the chicken thoroughly and that it’s juicy and tender.
3. Don’t overcook the rice: Rice can become mushy if overcooked, which will affect the final texture of your arroz imperial. Follow the recipe instructions and remove from heat when the water has evaporated completely.
4. Don’t skip mayonnaise: Mayonnaise is one of the key components in this recipe, as it helps hold everything together and adds creaminess to the dish.
5. Add lime juice at the end: Squeeze some lime juice over your arroz imperial just before serving to give it a bright and fresh flavor profile.
6. Let it rest before serving: Allow enough resting time before serving so all the flavors can meld together.
7. Grate your cheese: Shredded cheese will melt better than sliced or cubed cheese, so grate it before adding it to your dish.
8. Customize your toppings: Top with chopped scallions or cilantro or even diced avocado for added flavor and texture variation.
Implementing these tips will help ensure you end up with a perfect, low carb Arroz Imperial that is delicious, creamy, and full of flavor!
Now, let’s go over some frequently asked questions and concerns that you may have about this Low-Carb Arroz Imperial Recipe. From ingredient substitutes to dietary recommendations, here are some answers to help you achieve the best results possible.
Does cauliflower rice taste like rice?
Many people assume that riced cauliflower will taste just like regular rice, but that is not the case. Even though cauliflower is a versatile and mild-tasting vegetable, it has its own unique flavor profile. Riced cauliflower has a mild taste with hints of nuttiness and slight bitterness.
Is cauliflower Rice keto friendly?
If you’re following a keto diet, you’ll be happy to know that cauliflower rice is a perfect addition to your meals. It’s completely natural and contains very few carbs, making it an ideal choice for those on a low-carb diet.
In conclusion, this low-carb arroz imperial recipe is the perfect choice for those who are looking for a delicious way to enjoy their favorite rice recipe without the extra carbs. With its combination of flavorful ingredients like cheese, chicken, and bacon, this dish is sure to satisfy your cravings while keeping you on track with your low-carb diet.
The recipe may require a bit of prep work, but the result is worth it. Plus, there are plenty of substitutions and variations you can try to switch things up and keep things exciting in the kitchen.
Whether you want to impress guests at a dinner party or simply enjoy a delicious meal with your family, this low-carb arroz imperial recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. So why not give it a try? You won’t be disappointed!
Low-Carb Arroz Imperial (Imperial Rice) Recipe
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground oregano
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 lbs skinless chicken breasts
- 1 lime, juice of
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 head raw cauliflower (5-6-inch dia)
- 4 tablespoons frozen green peas
- 1 green bell pepper
- 4 ounces tomato sauce
- 8 ounces monterey jack cheese, shredded
- 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 large raw onion
- Making the Chicken.
- Wash chicken and place in stock pot. Add enough water to cover meat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, until the meat is tender and falls from bone – approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove chicken and keep the broth which you will use to make the cauliflower rice.
- As an alternative, you can purchase 1-2 cooked rotisserie chickens depending on their size. Pull apart the meat and use the chicken bones to make the broth. You need about 3 lbs of meat.
- When completely cooled, skin and shred the chicken into small pieces by hand or with two forks. Be sure to check the meat with your hands so as not leave any small bones, cartilage or tough pieces in the mix.
- In a large pan, cook the bacon and discard the excess fat. Chop the bacon and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ½ onion, chopped, ½ green pepper, chopped and sauté until onion is translucent. Add 3 garlic cloves, diced and sauté for another minute. Add shredded chicken and 4 oz tomato sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add lime juice and mix. Set aside.
- Making the Cauliflower Rice.
- Remove and discard leaves and larger stems from the cauliflower head. Break florets apart, rinse and spin dry. Remove smaller stems and separate. Grate the cauliflower florets with a hand grater or food processor grater attachment (much easier). Coarse chop the smaller stems and run through food processor grater as well. Otherwise, you can also discard the small stems. Combine into a microwave safe bowl with two bay leaves and microwave on high for 6 minutes, covered. Remove the bay leaves.
- In a Dutch oven or large pot, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ½ onion, chopped, ½ green pepper, chopped. Sauté until onion is translucent. Add 3 diced garlic cloves and sauté for another minute. Add one cup of chicken broth and ½ cup of beer (optional). Add one tsp each of oregano cumin. Add 1 tsp of Bijol, saffron or other yellow colorant such as achiote. Add cooked, grated cauliflower and stir well. Simmer covered for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasional until cauliflower is tender. Add the frozen peas during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Salt and pepper to taste.
- It is OK to have some fluid left in the bottom of the pot. Just transfer the cauliflower to a mixing bowl avoiding the fluid at the bottom; then mix in ½ cup of grated Parmesan.
- Assembling the Casserole.
- In a 9” x 13” baking pan or casserole dish, spread one 1/3 of cauliflower rice along the bottom of the pan, patting it down firmly.
- Spread 2 tbls of the mayonnaise on top of the cauliflower rice.
- Spread ½ of the chicken mixture to create the next layer, patting down firmly.
- Sprinkle ¼ cup of Parmesan over the chicken.
- Add another (1/3) layer of cauliflower rice.
- Top with 2 tbls of the mayonnaise.
- At the final layer of chicken sprinkled.
- Sprinkle the last of the parmesan.
- Add the final layer of the cauliflower rice, patting down firmly.
- Spread remaining 2 tbls of mayonnaise.
- Spread the grated Monterey Jack, or other mild cheese over the top of it all.
- To recap, these are the layers:
- 1) Layer of Cauliflower Rice.
- 2) Mayo.
- 3) Layer of Chicken.
- 4) Parmesan.
- 5) Layer of Cauliflower Rice.
- 6) Mayo.
- 7) Layer of Chicken.
- 8) Parmesan.
- 9) Layer of Cauliflower Rice.
- 10) Mayo.
- 11) Monterrey Jack.
- Place in oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until cheese is melted.
- There are a variety of ways to present the dish. Red pimento strips and slices of hard boiled eggs are often used to decorate the dish. A search for "Arroz Imperial" on Google Images will give you lots of ideas.
- Serve hot with a side salad, tomatoes or avocado slices. For those not on a low carb diet, the dish can be served with fried sweet plantains. Makes 8 meal-sized servings.
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Dora is a chef well-versed in Brazilian and American cuisine. After a hard day's work in the kitchen of her restaurant, she finds the time to jot down recipes for her food blog. Her recipes are sure to delight foodies everywhere, as she strives to make each one unique and enjoyable to read.