Tuscany Cauliflower Risotto, Funghi e Lenticchie

This delicious risotto is a snap to make, and will rival anything you’ll taste in the best Italian trattoria. I made this low-carb cauliflower risotto for my recent cooking workshop in Italy, and it was a huge hit. A classic combination in Tuscan cuisine is to pair lentils with mushrooms, which give a heavenly flavor and rich broth. Riced cauliflower has an al-dente texture just like Arborio rice, but without the carbs. Yay!

Lentils are legumes, which are not part of the Paleo diet. So this is technically not a Paleo recipe. My approach is a bit different from the strict Paleo viewpoint. I suggest that if you soak legumes 8-12 hours, you get a seed bursting with nutrition and beneficial life force that’s higher in protein, lower in carbs, and more easily digestible than it’s un-soaked counterpart. A recent study by cardiologist John Day, MD of Intermountain Healthcare in Murray, Utah, researched the diets of centenarians in the Chinese village of Bapan. It’s called “Longevity Village” because there are so many people over 100 years old. What do they have in common? Dr. Day found that their success has nothing to do with genes, but rather lifestyle and diet. They eat lots of beans, along with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish. So I’m enjoying beans and lentils in my diet, provided that they are well soaked or spouted. I love Italian lentils and mushrooms with cauliflower rice, and I haven’t gained a pound in years. You can decide for yourself. Serves 4.

This recipe is inspired by my recent visit to Cortona, a charming medieval town in Tuscany.

Cauliflower Risotto, Funghi e Lenticchie

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Ingredients

    Cauliflower Rice with Lentils:
  • 1 cup (130 g) dry lentils, soaked overnight
  • 1 medium cauliflower (600 grams) riced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (lemon & yeast give a Parmesan flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon unprocessed salt to taste, and LOTS of black pepper
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • Sauteed Mushroom Topping:
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 7-8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (I used shiitake)
  • unprocessed salt and pepper to taste
  • large handful parsley, chopped

Instructions

    Prepare Lentils:
  1. Rinse the soaked lentils. Place them in a large saucepan, covered with 2-inches of filtered water and NO salt. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down to simmer and cook until very soft.
  2. Drain some of the liquid from the lentils and keep it for later. Using an immersion blender, blend the lentils briefly so some are liquefied, and some remain whole. This makes the risotto rich and creamy.
  3. Cauliflower Rice:
  4. In a food processor, rice the cauliflower. Use the "S" blade, and do not fill the processor more then 1/3 full. It's easiest to do it in several batches. Pulse it for a few seconds - and check the size of the granules. You want them about the size of rice granules. Don't over-process or it will be mush.
  5. Place the riced cauliflower into the saucepan with the lentils over medium heat. Stir in the remaining ingredients: garlic, coconut oil, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and salt. Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer. Stir occasionally, and add additional lentil broth if needed so it doesn't stick to the bottom. Cover and simmer. Add green onions and season to taste. Simmer until the cauliflower is soft like cooked rice.
  6. Sauteed Mushroom Topping:
  7. Meanwhile, in a shallow skillet, melt 2 tablespoon coconut oil. Add 2 cloves chopped garlic and sauté for 2 minutes over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté 3-4 more minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté until they barely begin to soften. Season with salt and pepper, and add parsley. Cook 1-2 more minutes.
  8. Place rice-lentil mixture into a serving bowl. Spoon mushrooms on top. Enjoy!