Low-Carb Cauliflower Risotto alla Milanese with Saffron

When I lived in Venice, Italy, I enjoyed risotto almost every day. Ha Ha! But sadly, it’s loaded with carbs, and I gained a lot of weight. Traditional ingredients for Risotto alla Milanese are arborio rice, aged Parmiggiano Reggiano, and saffron. Oooh! I love saffron! I’ve resolved the carb problem with this Paleo-Vegan adapted recipe, so you won’t gain weight like I did. It’s super-low in carbs and even quicker to make. With Cauliflower Rice, you don’t have to stand over a hot stove stirring for 20 minutes! Ha Ha! It’s an easy non-inflammatory recipe that’s much healthier and easier to digest than traditional risotto. My non-dairy “cheese” sauce is deliciously rich, and tastes just like traditional “Milanese” risotto. Saffron is one of my favorite spices, which is the pistils of a crocus, and must be delicately plucked from the flower by hand. No wonder it’s so precious! Hint: This dish is very easy to make, but you must follow the instructions exactly. Serves 6.

Cauliflower Risotto alla Milanese



  • 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


  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.

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