Indulge your taste buds in a guilt-free delight with our Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Risotto! This dish takes the classic creamy comfort of risotto and gives it a nutritious twist by using cauliflower rice. Adding vegetables to your diet is never a bad idea!
Perfect for those who are watching their carb intake or simply looking to incorporate more vegetables into their diet, this is a versatile side dish that feels as indulgent as it is healthy. Swapping traditional Arborio rice with cauliflower rice doesn’t just make this dish lower in carbs; it also significantly reduces the cooking time. So it’s a win-win—healthier and quicker! And fear not, cheese lovers: we’ve got you covered. The blend of cheeses brings a richness that beautifully complements the nutty, earthy flavors of the cauliflower.
Whether you’re catering to a special dietary need or simply trying to eat healthier without sacrificing taste, this Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Risotto is your ticket to a satisfying meal. It pairs well with a variety of main dishes, from grilled chicken to seared fish, making it a versatile addition to your cooking repertoire. So grab your apron and get ready to enjoy a side dish that feels indulgent but is deceptively wholesome!
Sheet pan cauliflower
Cauliflower is great in so many ways. It’s just delicious and so versatile. One of our favorite ways to enjoy it is roasted on a sheet pan. We roast vegetables in our air fryer oven.
This incredibly simple yet flavorful dish is the answer to your weeknight dinner dilemmas, perfect for when you want to serve up something delicious without spending hours in the kitchen. Utilizing just one sheet pan for the entire cooking process means minimal cleanup, so you can reclaim those precious moments of your evening.
Cauliflower, the low-carb darling of the vegetable world, takes center stage in this dish, transforming into tender, golden-brown morsels in the oven. The beauty of this recipe lies in its versatility: whether you’re looking to spice things up with exotic seasonings, keep it classic with olive oil and herbs, or explore a cheesy or saucy variation, the sheet pan approach accommodates all of your culinary whims.
Ideal for busy families, meal preppers, and even gourmet home chefs who are short on time, Sheet Pan Cauliflower is a convenient and versatile dish that never compromises on taste. Pair it with your favorite protein, toss it into a salad, or enjoy it as a snack; the possibilities are endless. So preheat that oven and get ready to revolutionize your cooking game—one sheet pan at a time!
Types of rice grains
Rice can be a healthy food and there are so many types of rice you can use. Some of them are healthy and some of them are less so. We enjoy regular rice and riced cauliflower like we used in this dish. Here are some other kinds of rice that can be part of a healthy meal:
Rice is one of the most widely consumed staples in the world, and it comes in a variety of types, each with its own unique characteristics, uses, and flavors. Here are some common types of rice grains you might encounter:
- Short-Grain White Rice: This rice is starchy and tends to stick together when cooked. It’s commonly used in dishes like sushi and paella.
- Medium-Grain White Rice: Slightly less sticky than short-grain, it is often used in dishes like risotto and paella.
- Long-Grain White Rice: Less sticky than the other two, long-grain rice is fluffy and separates easily when cooked. It’s commonly used in dishes like pilaf and biryani.
White rice is more processed where the bran is removed and it is less healthy to consume than whole grain rice varieties.
- Short-Grain Brown Rice: Similar to its white counterpart but with a chewier texture and nuttier flavor.
- Long-Grain Brown Rice: Offers a chewy texture and is often used as a healthier substitute for white long-grain rice.
- Basmati Rice: An aromatic, long-grain rice commonly used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine.
- Jasmine Rice: Another aromatic rice but with a shorter, stickier grain, commonly used in Thai cuisine.
- Arborio Rice: A short, starchy grain used in Italian dishes like risotto.
- Black Rice: Also known as “forbidden rice,” it has a sticky texture and is high in antioxidants.
- Red Rice: This rice has a nutty, earthy flavor and chewy texture. It’s rich in nutrients and often used in salads or as a side dish.
Each variety of rice offers different nutrients. Ancient grains rice is a great food for a healthy diet in moderation.
Technically not a rice but a grass, wild rice is native to North America and is often mixed with other types of rice for texture and flavor. It can be a great part of a healthy diet.
Instant or Pre-Cooked Rice
These are pre-cooked and dried for quick cooking. They don’t offer the same texture or flavor as other types but are convenient for quick meals. This is the most processed rice available and is the least healthy to consume.
Also known as converted rice, it is partially precooked in its husk before milling, which makes it more nutritious than regular white rice but also gives it a different texture.
Each type of rice has its own best uses, cooking times, and liquid requirements, so it’s worth experimenting to find your favorites!
Ancient grain risotto
Ancient grains are much better for your body than modern grains. The idea of using ancient grains in risotto is a wonderful way to add both nutrition and unique flavors to this classic Italian dish. While Arborio rice is the traditional grain of choice for risotto, ancient grains like farro, barley, or spelt can add a delightful twist. These grains are high in fiber, protein, and nutrients like magnesium and iron. Using ancient grains also introduces a nutty flavor and chewy texture that make for a hearty, satisfying dish.
Making risotto with ancient rice varieties like black rice, red rice, or even wild rice can provide a new spin on this classic Italian dish, offering unique flavors, textures, and nutritional benefits. These types of rice are generally richer in fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients compared to regular white Arborio rice.
Cauliflower rice is a popular low-carb alternative to traditional rice that’s made by grating or processing cauliflower into small, rice-sized pieces. It’s a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes, from stir-fries and casseroles to risottos and sushi rolls. Not only is it a great way to lower the calorie and carb content of a meal, but it also offers additional nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
Basic Cauliflower Rice Recipe
- 1 medium-sized head of cauliflower
- 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped onions
- Fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, or chives
- Red pepper flakes
- Grated Parmesan or other cheeses
- Preparation: Remove the leaves and stem from the cauliflower. Cut it into smaller chunks that can fit into your food processor.
- Ricing the Cauliflower: Place the cauliflower chunks into a food processor and pulse until the pieces resemble rice grains. If you don’t have a food processor, you can also use a box grater to grate the cauliflower manually.
- Cooking: In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. If you’re using optional add-ins like onions or garlic, sauté them first until translucent.
- Add Cauliflower: Add the riced cauliflower to the skillet and stir to combine with the oil and any optional ingredients. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Season: Season with salt and pepper, and add any additional herbs or cheese if desired.
- Serve: Once the cauliflower rice is tender, remove it from heat and serve it as you would regular rice.
- Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice: Add fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro for a zesty side dish.
- Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Risotto: Add a mixture of Parmesan and cream for a low-carb risotto experience.
- Cauliflower Fried Rice: Add vegetables like peas, carrots, and green onions along with some soy sauce for a low-carb fried rice.
Cheesy cauliflower rice is not only a healthy alternative but also a culinary canvas, allowing you to infuse a variety of flavors depending on your dish. Enjoy experimenting!
For our cheesy cauliflower rice risotto, we start with riced cauliflower from the frozen food section. It saves us so much time and mess. And there is just cauliflower in the one we get from Aldi’s.
Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Risotto
- 2 bags frozen riced cauliflower
- 1 onion diced finely or grated
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons spicy mustard
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1/2 c whole milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 c shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes optional
- Saute the onions and butter in the skillet for about 4-5 mintues until the onions are soft.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir over medium heat until the cauliflower thaws. Cook for about 3 minutes longer. Not too long so the cauliflower won't get too soft and mushy.
- Remove from heat, mix in cheese and place in the oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted
- Serve warm.