Low-Carb Cauliflower Risotto

Vegan MoFo #25 – My favorite risotto recipe is easily my mushroom risotto. I love the creaminess of the rice, and the earthiness of the various mushrooms and truffle oil. It requires opening a bottle of white wine, and I enjoy the process of making it: add broth… stir rice… sip wine… repeat! However, I know that the white arborio rice used to make traditional risotto isn’t all that healthy. So I sometimes feel a bit guilty after eating it (especially when I go back for seconds!)

I had heard about people using cauliflower to replace mashed potatoes or white rice. You see, although cauliflower is white, and technically still a carb, it packs way more nutrition than white rice. According to Wikipedia: Cauliflower is low in fat, high in dietary fiber, folate, water and vitamin C, possessing a very high nutritional density. Cauliflower is a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. The compound also appears to work as an anti-estrogen, appearing to slow or prevent the growth of tumors of the breast and prostate. Cauliflower also contains other glucosinolates besides sulfurophane, substances which may improve the liver’s ability to detoxify carcinogenic substances.A high intake of cauliflower has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Summary: eat more cauliflower!

I wondered whether there was a risotto recipe out there replacing rice with cauliflower. I found this recipe from Dinner at Christina’s and I was intrigued, so I decided to try it out. I replaced the parmesan with nutritional yeast to make it vegan, and also added some wine, margarine, oyster mushrooms and truffle oil to mimic my traditional recipe.

Low-Carb Risotto - Vegan & Gluten-Free

It turned out so well, and I can honestly say that it was a great replacement for my traditional recipe. It’s light and tasty, and sure, it’s not as gooey and creamy as the real thing, but I think it’s a really great healthy alternative. You can’t taste the cauliflower at all, so for those of you who might not be huge fans of it, I would highly recommend that you still try this!

The trick to keep it light and fluffy is to only use the cauliflower florets, and not any of the thick stem. This is a great base risotto recipe, so you could omit the mushroom/truffle oil combo and replace with other famous risotto combos, such as fava beans & saffron, or fennel & peas. I’ll definitely be experimenting with more combos now that I don’t have the white-carb guilt to deal with!

4.8 from 6 reviews
Vegan Low-Carb Cauliflower Risotto
 
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Made with cauliflower "rice", this cauliflower risotto / low-carb risotto is a light and healthy alternative to traditional risotto. Vegan and Gluten-Free.
Author:
Recipe type: Main, Side
Serves: 4-6 sides
Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 450g mushrooms, chopped (I used just oyster, but any mix would be great)
  • 1 head cauliflower, grated (either by hand or food processor)
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup onion, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 6 Tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegan margarine
  • pepper, to taste
  • truffle oil
Instructions
  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet and cook the mushrooms until tender; set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the onions and garlic for a few minutes until the onion becomes translucent.
  3. Add the cauliflower and wine, and cook for about 5 minutes, until the wine has evaporated.
  4. Add the broth, reduce the heat and cover, letting it cook a few minutes. You’ll want the cauliflower to be “al dente” with a little texture so it isn’t just mush.
  5. Meanwhile, pulse together the pine nuts, nutritional yeast, and salt until it forms a powdery consistency.
  6. Remove the cauliflower from the heat and stir in the nut mixture until well combined. Stir in the margarine and season with pepper, to taste.
  7. Stir in the mushrooms and drizzle some truffle oil on top before serving.

Vegan Month of Food

39 Comments

  1. Ian says:

    Very cool idea! I’ve made risotto with barley before… which I guess would be healthier then the traditional rice version.. ?

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Totally! Barley and Quinoa are better than rice… but I think this is even better cause it’s very low-carb and almost all vegetables. I was really pleasantly surprised with it! Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  2. Ian says:

    What exactly is nutritional yeast? I’ve seen it referenced in some of the vegan cookbooks I have.. and just never really knew what it’s purpose was.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Ah… good question! It’s a form of yeast that has a nutty/cheesy flavor. It looks like dried yellow flakes, almost like fish-food. It’s also super high in B-12, so it’s especially great for vegans. In small quantities (like this recipe), you’ll barely notice it, but it will add a slight cheesy flavor without the fat of real cheese. You can buy it at any health food store, and maybe some grocery stores. If you’re too scared to try it, Parmesan would work for this recipe, as that’s what the original called for. :)

      Reply
  3. Emmy says:

    That looks and sounds amazing. I love cauliflower and really like how you used it in this recipe. This looks like it is an easy, quick meal to whip up – it’s gone on my need dinner but no time list!!!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks for the comment – let me know when you make it!

      Reply
  4. That looks so nice !! I’m going to try that this weekend

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Cool, thanks for the comment and let me know how you like it! :)

      Reply
  5. this looks wonderful – thanks for sharing, I will definitely be making this!

    have a fabulous weekend!!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks Kristina! Let me know what you think, I love it! Have a great weekend and thanks again for your comments! :)

      Reply
  6. What a great idea, and it looks wonderful!
    I wanted to stop by and say hi to a fellow MoFo’er. I’m going to be sad to se the month come to an end. I’m so glad I discovered you.
    Best wishes.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hey! Thanks for your comment! I’m also pretty bummed about the end of Vegan MoFo… so much good food! I was joking the other day that there’s a reason that it’s only one month… it’s cause it takes the other 11 months to make all the food you’ve discovered. Your blog looks awesome. Bookmarked!

      Reply
  7. Carla says:

    I’ve wanted this and didn’t even know it yet. Thanks doll for your creation. Just found your blog and it’s great inspiration.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Carla – thanks for your comment! :)

      Reply
  8. NaturallyFee says:

    I made this recipe last night and it was excellent! I am a returning Vegan and I am enjoying the journey even more this time! Thanks to great websites like yours, there is an endless suppy of new ideas and recipes. I don’t know how anyone still wonders what Vegans eat! You have a wonderful site. I love your personality and spirit. You make this all sound like such a fun adventure! Which is really what it should be, right?

    Just wanted to stop in and say thank you! I have a new blog myself (like very new – only 4 posts and no followers). I will definitely be posting about this recipe and your site!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi! Thanks so much for your comments and feedback. I’m so glad to hear that you liked this recipe. I think that a lot of people are kinda “blah” about cauliflower, but who wouldn’t like it like this? I agree, cooking/eating should be an adventure. People think vegans are boring and/or don’t have a real passion for food, but I think it’s the complete opposite. All the best with your veganism and new blog (how exciting!) – Send along your blog details when you have a chance, I’d love to follow along! :)

      Reply
  9. Gwen says:

    I’ve made this twice in the past two weeks and it’s already one of my favorite recipes. My omnivore parents loved it, too. I used mushroom broth the second time to give it an extra mushroomy flavor and that was really nice, too. The ground pignon/nutritional yeast mix is also something I’ve quickly incorporated into other recipes that would benefit from a cheese-like flavor addition. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Gwen – I like your mushroom broth idea, will do that next time. Thanks for getting in touch!

      Reply
  10. Yarrow says:

    Hi again, apart from feeding my overfed spoiled chickens the cauliflower stalks, what could we use them for? A soup maybe?

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Yes, I would use them in a soup, or just bake them up in the oven with some olive oil and salt..?

      Reply
  11. Mandy says:

    AMAZING! I used parmesan instead of the nutritional yeast as I’m not vegan. I absolutely loved this recipe, and so does everyone else that tried it. Now my favorite recipe, I’ve made it many times in the last few weeks. Thanks!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I’m so glad to hear that! Thanks for taking the time to write :)

      Reply
  12. Caitlin says:

    As someone who is “trying” vegan, this recipe is delicious if you are vegan or not. It tastes like a fine restuarant side dish, but is healthy and we felt great after eating it. My husband even loved it. I can’t wait to try more of your recipes. You are making me want to be 100% vegan!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      That’s great! So glad you guys liked it :)

      Reply
  13. Nadine says:

    I thought, like I can imagine a lot of people thought, that the cauliflower would be overpowering and nothing like risotto, but this was truly delicious!

    I added some small pieces of fried smoked tofu, mushroom stock and fried courgette. Yum!!

    I never post on websites but this recipe deserves the praise!!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I’m so glad you liked it. Your additions of smoked tofu, mushroom stock and courgette sound really great. Thanks for taking the time to comment :)

      Reply
      • jeanine says:

        This was amazing! I am so grateful to now have a low-carb AND vegan comfort food. I didn’t have pine nuts so I roasted walnuts instead. I also added a lot of freshly chopped parsley and arugula right before serving. Thanks :-)

        Reply
        • YUM, I love your substitutions! So glad you liked it, thanks for taking the time to write :)

          Reply
  14. Marfigs says:

    This is such a wild recipe! I tried it this weekend with some different add-on ingredients (beet, bean sprouts and tofu) and it was so delicious :D Next time I’ll follow the recipe as is but this is a great alternative to the traditional without compromising on flavour and nostalgia for a specific dish. Even my super non-vegan husband ate an entire plateful quite happily, so rah!

    Reply
    • I saw your post on it – looks so good! Thanks so much for the link back to my site. You’ve inspired me to “play” with this recipe some more as well :)

      Reply
  15. Helen says:

    I just made this today! I’m a total risotto fan and this recipe lived up to my expectations. So yummy! Thanks so much for sharing

    Reply
    • You’re welcome, thanks for writing :)

      Reply
  16. Jordan says:

    I just made this, and it came out fantastic! Eating a big bowl of it for my dinner, and will have some left over for tomorrow. Thanks for the great recipe!

    Reply
    • You’re so welcome. Thanks for writing :)

      Reply
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