O.K., I have a confession. I have a CRUSH! A food crush. On Cauliflower. And now I'm turning that crush into a creamy cauliflower mushroom risotto with Parmesan and Truffle Oil. Be still my heart!
I mean what’s not to love about this cruciferous Super Food? It's packed with powerful antioxidants and fiber and talk about versatility! Cauliflower is truly the chameleon of the veggie world.
It can be baked, grilled, roasted, blended, chopped, fried, blitzed and just about any other action you can think of as it applies to the cooking world. Turning it into the likes of pizza crust, creamy soups, tortillas, “popcorn”, loaded potato skins and chocolate cake. (Chocolate Cake? oh yes!- see the links at the bottom of this post for these recipes and more).
Oh, and rice.
Cauliflower is almost a dead ringer for rice. Except it is much healthier and lower in carbs and calories (1 cup of white rice = approx. 200 calories vs. 1 cup of cauliflower “rice” = approx. 35 calories). You can pretty much incorporate cauliflower "rice" into any meal that calls for regular rice. Substituting cauliflower "rice" for regular rice is a good way to get more veggies in your diet and it will up the nutritional value of your meal and lower both calories and carbs.
My first attempt at making cauliflower rice last year was a little cumbersome and messy. I used a box grater and basically grated the raw cauliflower florets into “rice”. It wasn’t hard to do, it just took some time, and the action of grating caused little bits of cauliflower to jump out all over the counter and floor. The result was delicious “rice” and a messy kitchen. I’m not about messy.
Luckily, I’ve since learned there is a much easier way to make cauliflower into rice. If you have a food processor or a blender, you can have “rice” ready in just a few short minutes.
When I saw the object of my foodie crush ( ah ya..that would be cauliflower) on the pages of this months Clean Eating Magazine, all fancied up nice and creamy as a truffled mushroom” risotto", I knew the recipe was going straight to the top of the “must make this” list. Cauliflower I love you! Cauliflower Mushroom Risotto I double heart you!
It's easy! It's healthy! It's delicious! You make the cauliflower "rice" in a blender (or food processor) by adding cauliflower florets and processing for about 15 seconds. The trick here is to process the cauliflower in batches. If you just put in a small amount (maybe a cup or so) of cauliflower in the blender it perfectly creates the "rice". Too much cauliflower in the blender and it can't work it's magic, you end up with big pieces on the top that never get fully processed. It's perfect for making Cauliflower Mushroom Risotto!
The creaminess for this cauliflower mushroom risotto comes from combining cannellini beans (also called white kidney beans) and vegetable broth in the blender. It forms a thick, rich creamy puree that gets added to the "rice" and cooked along with sautéed mushrooms and onions until it resembles the smooth creamy goodness of risotto. The pièce de résistance- finishing off the risotto by adding Parmesan cheese and truffle oil. (I added a touch of grated Pecorino Tartuffo cheese to the top as well)
mwah...mwah...mwah! Cauliflower I heart you!
Turns out I’m not the only one with a crush on cauliflower.
Lindsay from Pinch of Yum even wrote a whole eCookbook (no longer in print) on incorporating a creamy cauliflower sauce into recipes in place of things like Alfredo sauce, canned condensed soup and cream. She features 30 comfort food recipes that have been made heathier with a simple cauliflower sauce. Family friendly dishes like Fettuccine Alfredo, Cheesy Beef Enchilada Casserole, and Light Chicken Coconut Curry.
O.K. so I don't actually know if Lindsay has a crush on cauliflower...but I'm guessing that between the Cauliflower Mushroom Risotto , the 30 recipes Lindsay features and these additional 11 cauliflower ideas, you're going to be crushing on cauliflower soon 🙂
1. Simple Healthy Kitchen's "Creamy Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup"
2. Simple Healthy Kitchen's Faux Loaded Potato Skins (yep that's cauliflower not potatoes!)
3. SimpleHealthKitchen's Baked Orange Cauliflower with Forbidden Rice
4. Pinch of Yum's "Light BBQ Chicken Pizza"
5. Center Cut Cook's "Roasted Cauliflower Popcorn"
6. Cookin' Canuck's " Cauliflower in Puttanesca Sauce"
7. iFood Real's "Cauliflower Breadsticks"
8. Eat Good 4 Life's "Kung Pao Cauliflower"
9. Love and Lemon's "Spiced Cauliflower Couscous"
10. Recipe Girl's " Cauliflower Tortillas"
11. Chocolate Covered Katies " Cauliflower Chocolate Cake"
Cauliflower Mushroom "Risotto" with Parmesan and Truffle Oil
- 1 large head cauliflower chopped into florets
- 1 can 15 oz. cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 8 oz. cremini mushrooms sliced
- ½ yellow onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese grated (or Pecorino Romano)
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 Tbsp truffle oil more or less to taste
- In a blender (or food processor) add approx. 1 cup of the cauliflower florets and process for approx 15 sec. until the cauliflower is the consistence of rice. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat until the remaining cauliflower is processed.( It's important to work in small batches when making the cauliflower rice to get even "rice" size pieces).
- Add beans and broth to blender and puree until smooth ( approx. 30 sec.-1 min.)
- Add olive oil to a large sauce pan (with tight fitting lid) and heat on medium-low (or spray pan with cooking spray). Add mushrooms and onions , stirring frequently, cook until onions are soft and mushrooms are lightly browned (about 7-8 min.). Add garlic, salt and pepper and continue to cook for an additional minute. Add lemon juice and increase heat to medium-high. Continue cooking and stirring until almost all the liquid has evaporated.
- Add bean puree to the pan with the mushrooms and bring to a simmer.Stir in the cauliflower "rice" . Reduce heat to medium, cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender (approx. 8-10 min.).
- Uncover the pan and reduce heat to low. Add the cheese and stir until combined. Turn off the heat and stir in parsley. Divide Risotto among serving bowls and drizzle with truffle oil . Top with additional cheese and parsley if desired.
** Cauliflower Mushroom Risotto Recipe adapted from Clean Eating Magazine' Oct 2014 edition " Cauliflower "Rice" Risotto with Mushrooms & Truffle Oil" pg. 37 (no link to this recipe available on their website- link is to the current issue of Clean Eating Magazine)