Vegan Cauliflower Risotto alla Milanese

Paleo – Vegan cauliflower risotto? I have a huge passion for Italian food, and I LOVE saffron. This risotto tastes almost exactly like the authentic Risotto alla Milanese I love in Italy, except it’s much quicker to make. You don’t have to stand over a hot stove stirring for 20 minutes. Cauliflower rice is an easy low-carb dish that’s easier to digest than traditional risotto. This non-dairy “cheese” sauce is deliciously rich, and tastes much like traditional “Milanese” risotto. Saffron is one of my favorite spices. I’ve cooked with it for years, but recently learned it comes from the pistils of a crocus, and has to be delicately plucked from the flower by hand. No wonder it’s so precious! Serves 6.

Cauliflower Risotto alla Milanese

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Ingredients

    Sauté:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced (optional) I used low-carb shiitake mushrooms. Porcini or wild mushrooms are traditional.
  • 1 medium to large head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1/2 cup homemade vegetable broth, bone broth, or filtered water
  • Milanese Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup warm homemade broth or warm filtered water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter, or 3/4 cup raw cashews soaked 2-6 hours.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 envelope or 3 pinches saffron strands
  • 6 tablespoons nutritional yeast (for a cheese flavor)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons unprocessed salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Italian parsley to garnish

Instructions

    Sauté:
  1. Pour olive oil into a large skillet. Add onion and sauté over medium heat until it begins to soften. Add mushrooms, if using, and sauté until they begin to soften.
  2. “Rice” the cauliflower:
  3. Place small florets into a large food processor and process until they are rice-sized pieces. Mine is an 11-cup and I had to do this in 3 parts. Place the “riced” cauliflower into the skillet and add 1/2 cup broth or water. Cover and cook over medium heat until soft, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick. Meanwhile prepare the sauce.
  4. Blend the Milanese Sauce:
  5. Add all ingredients to any blender (I used my little 2-cup Twister). Add warm broth, lemon juice, coconut butter (or soaked cashews), olive oil, saffron, nutritional yeast, salt, and garlic, if using. Blend well until smooth and creamy.
  6. Cook and Serve:
  7. Pour sauce over the cauliflower in the skillet. Stir it in and cook over medium heat until cauliflower is al-dente, about the texture of rice. Do not overcook or it will be mushy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley, and serve.