Burrito titan Chipotle — already a fast-casual fave — is testing out a tempting new menu option: Cauliflower rice!
The cilantro-lime cauliflower rice began appearing at a selection of test restaurants July 15. The 55 stores include locations in Chipotle’s birthplace of Denver, plus some spots in Wisconsin.
“We’ve answered the call from fans and created a better-for-you option that puts a delicious twist on our classic white rice recipe by using the same fresh cilantro and lime ingredients and culinary techniques,” said Chris Brandt, Chipotle’s chief marketing officer, in a release.
Indeed, choosing cauliflower rice — really it’s grilled, riced cauliflower — saves big on carbs and calories. Women’s Health compared the nutritional content of Chipotle’s original rice with the new cauliflower rice and the difference was clear.
Regular cilantro-lime rice contains 40 grams of carbohydrates and 210 calories per serving. But a full serving of cauliflower rice is leaner by far, with only 7 grams of carbs and 40 calories.
The new rice is friendly to all sorts of diets, too, from paleo to Whole30 to keto. Chipotle’s been catering to various dietary concerns in recent years with items like “lifestyle bowls,” which let diners customize a meal for their needs.
The cauliflower rice option comes with a $2 upcharge. Combined with the extra bucks for a dollop of guacamole, you could be looking at a pretty hefty price tag for your next big burrito, so keep that in mind.
Will customers go for it? Cauliflower, once considered bland and pointless, starting trending in recent years as an all-purpose substitute for all sorts of starchy foods, from pizza crust to mashed potatoes. And really, it tastes pretty great with the right preparations (like a toss with salt, lime and cilantro).
The Chipotle folks are considering an eventual roll-out to participating locations. After gathering feedback they’ll decide whether to launch cauliflower rice nationwide, much like recent menu additions queso blanco and carne asada.
I live in Denver, so I’ll definitely be trying the new rice on my next visit!