I’m never quick to jump on a food trend, and in fact I am often skeptical. Some I know I’ll never even try (like the unicorn thing), but others I am tempted to eventually, and sometimes find myself liking. My latest is cauliflower rice. It’s one of those things that’s become all too trendy as a low carb, healthier alternative to ‘real’ rice, but I wasn’t sure if it would work for those of us that aren’t quite as bothered by that. Would it actually taste good? Well, in the case of this cauliflower risotto with asparagus and mushrooms, the answer is most definitely yes.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by a few food trends I have tried over the last year or so – like chia pudding (both the coconut chia pudding with peach and banana chia pudding I have shared so far) and Buddha bowls (like my crab rice Buddha bowl and leftover steak and quinoa bowl). My main worry with cauliflower rice would be that it was a bit bland. I enjoyed the roasted cauliflower and eggplant salad I made a while back, but I think it was more for the eggplant and herby dressing. But I didn’t need to worry.
There were two things that pleasantly surprised me about this – first, it actually has a good amount of flavor, and second, it cooks a lot quicker than a rice-based risotto. Cauliflower, at least when riced, is actually quite sponge-like with flavor. Here I’ve used the flavor of a typical lemon risotto and made it even more fresh, since cauliflower is lighter, and it really works.
How it’s made
You can buy ready-riced cauliflower but it’s really easy to make yourself as you just pulse it a minute in the food processor. Then, start cooking your onion, garlic, and add the mushrooms then asparagus. Once they are getting tender, add the cauliflower, wine and lemon. Let it cook a few minutes then finish it off with some parsley. You can add cheese to this, but it really doesn’t need it and so it makes a great vegan meal.
Fresh, light, quicker and healthier than a typical risotto, this cauliflower risotto is also full of delicious flavor. Take it from a previous skeptic, this is one meal you need to try. I’m definitely making it again soon.
- ½ medium cauliflower (210g)
- ½ large onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 4oz/115g mushrooms
- 3oz/90g asparagus (trimmed weight)
- 3tbsp white wine (moscato good)
- 1tbsp lemon juice
- zest ½ lemon
- 2tbsp finely chopped parsley
- Cut the florets off the cauliflower leaving just short stems. Put them in a food processor and pulse a minute or two until a rice-like consistency. You can also coarsely grate by hand, but it will take a lot longer.
- Dice the onion and crush or finely chop the garlic. Warm the oil in a medium skillet/frying pan and add the onion. Soften a minute or two then add the garlic. Cook for around 3-5min until the onion has softened.
- While the onion is cooking, slice the mushrooms. Trim the asparagus and cut into short lengths. Add the mushrooms to the pan, cook a minute then add the asparagus and cook another minute or two.
- Add the cauliflower, wine and lemon juice to the pan. Cook around 5-10min, partly covered the first 3 minutes or so, until the cauliflower and asparagus are tender. Cook a minute longer if needed, uncovered, to absorb/steam off the liquid. Add the lemon zest and chopped parsley, stir through and serve.