Cauliflower Rice Bowls with Vegan Pesto

Grain bowls are a great way to pack tons of healthy ingredients into one tasty dish. This one works in extra veggie goodness by using a mix of brown rice and riced cauliflower for a base that also features carrots, bell pepper, and broccoli. Pinto beans add extra heft, a squeeze of lemon brings brightness, and a hearty drizzle of homemade vegan pesto ties everything together. Feel free to swap out the pinto beans for whatever you have on hand: Chickpeas or kidney beans would be just as tasty. You’ll likely have extras of this recipe after dinner, so get creative and use leftovers in wraps or cold salads!

By Nancy Macklin, RDN,


  • 1½ cups dry brown rice
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 12-oz. package fresh or frozen cauliflower rice
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 15-oz. can no-salt-added pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 recipe Homemade Vegan Pesto
  • ¼ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Lemon wedges


  • In a 5-quart pot combine rice and 4 cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes or until nearly tender. Stir in carrots, onion, and bell pepper. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Stir in cauliflower rice and broccoli; cover and cook 5 minutes more.
  • Stir in beans, Easy Vegan Pesto Sauce, and broth; heat through. Season with salt and black pepper. Serve with lemon wedges.

Comments (10)

(4 from 4 votes)

Recipe Rating

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Sharon G.

This one’s a swing and a miss, IMHO. I found it to be very bland; even the addition of the pesto wasn’t enough to add any significant flavor. I also think the veg should’ve at least been sautéed before being mixed in. Disappointing… sorry


What is another topping alternative other than pesto? Thank you

Martha Elizarraraz

I agree that our food is our medicine There’s no other way I liked your recipe I can’t wait to see more Martha


Answer to the people who are unsure how to cook rice. This recipe is for brown rice. Wash rice and add enough water to be about 1.5 inches above the rice. Bring to a boil, lower the flame so it’s still boiling and cook for about 35 minutes. Check if the rice is done, then pour off the water and allow the rice to sit. It will not be sticky or starchy, but very tasty. PS I do not add salt, instead add it at the table, as needed. I add my rice to all types of veggies, either heated or cold.


Interesting recipe


Vegan Cauliflower rice bowl


I want to try this with white rice --- also wondering about so much water! If I used 1.5 cups white rice, the usual amount of water would be 3 cups. Do I need that one more cup of water for another reason in this recipe?


Just checking to make sure the water measurement is correct for cooking the brown rice. It says 4 cups water for 1 & 1/2 cups rice. Cooking rice is a huge challenge for me and would love to try this. Thank you


Try brown rice in an Instant Pot! I was always hit-and-miss with brown rice until I tried it in my IP. 4 cups of rice: 4.5 cups of water for 15 minutes on high pressure. It comes out perfect every time!!


The ratio of water to rice in this recipe is a little high because of all the vegetables you will be cooking along with the rice and to help dilute the pesto along with the small amount of broth added. Also, some water will evaporate during the cooking time. This recipe looks really good to me can’t wait to try. Have already made the pesto and it’s one of the best I’ve tried!

About the Author

Headshot of Nancy Macklin

About the Author

Nancy Macklin, RDN

Nancy Macklin has a bachelor of science in dietetics from Iowa State University and a Master of Science in health services administration from the University of Saint Francis. Macklin worked as a hospital-based clinical dietitian, providing counseling for diabetes, heart disease, and weight loss and as a food service director in health care dining sites. She now serves as a test kitchen dietitian, developing 500+ recipes per year. She is a member of the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics and International Association of Culinary Professionals. Find her on LinkedIn.
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