by Olena

Cauliflower Risotto

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Olena Osipov
4.9 from 33 votes

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Vegetarian, low-carb and keto-friendly Cauliflower Risotto recipe combines fresh mushrooms, cauliflower rice, and a flavorful broth that’s ready in under 15 minutes! With only 9 ingredients, it’s perfect for a low-carb dinner and has 1/3rd (or less) the calories of traditional risotto and just 11g net carbs.

Looking for more ways to lower carbs using cauliflower? Why not check out this creamy cauliflower mashed potato, cauliflower potato salad, or cheesy cauliflower breadsticks!

Cauliflower risotto in a skillet with a spoon.

Creamy Low-Carb Cauliflower Risotto

When thinking about risotto, words like creamy, rich, and decadent come to mind thanks to the overload of carb-y rice and dairy like cream and cheese- unfortunately, that means it’s also accompanied by high calories, fat, and tons of carbs. Luckily, for those out there craving a lighter, more nutritious, low-carb risotto, then this cauliflower risotto (aka cauliflower rice risotto) with mushrooms will hit the spot! The same way I use cauliflower in this ‘potato’ salad, to make a pizza crust, or for shepherd’s pie!

With this cauliflower risotto recipe, there is no lingering over a hot pan, stirring carefully (and constantly!), slowly adding in hot stock in increments, etc. In fact, you can pretty much throw out all the ‘rules’ of making regular risotto! Instead, this cauliflower mushroom risotto is ready in just 15 minutes (under ten if you have bought or made pre-riced cauliflower!) and does 90% of its cooking hands-off!

Why This Cauliflower Mushroom Risotto Recipe Works?

  • Creamy, cheesy, and flavorful: Cauliflower risotto recipe makes for a light meal or side!
  • Quick and easy: Cauliflower risotto takes just 15 minutes to prepare from scratch, or 10 minutes with pre-riced cauliflower!
  • Lower calorie + nutritious: Contains just a fraction of the calories, fat, and carbs in regular mushroom risotto! Also, contains a ton more nutrients, thanks to the cauliflower!
  • Easy on the wallet: Pantry staples, fresh mushrooms, cheese and a single small head of cauliflower!
  • Alternative diet friendly: Grain-free, gluten-free, Keto, low-carb, and low-calorie! Plus, it can even be made dairy-free!

Cauliflower rice has become a favorite ‘light’ side dish in this house – including Mexican cauliflower rice and cheesy cauliflower rice– any time I want to make a light weeknight dinner, my
low carb cauliflower rice recipe collection comes to the rescue.

Ingredients for Cauliflower Rice Risotto

  • Cauliflower: You can use either a small cauliflower head or pre-riced cauliflower (fresh or frozen).

Cauliflower is a vegetable that is very versatile! It’s used as rice here, as potatoes in this ‘potato’ salad, as a pizza crust, and even as the ‘crust’ in shepherd’s pie!

  • Mushrooms: I recommend using small brown mushrooms, thinly sliced, which have a more robust flavor over white button mushrooms. However, you could also use wild mushrooms, etc. – based on what you have available.
  • Aromatics: You’ll need onion (or shallots) and garlic; adjust the amount of garlic to personal taste.
  • Broth: I used low-sodium chicken broth. For a vegetarian version, use vegetable broth instead (or even a mushroom/umami broth).
  • Oil: Any neutral cooking oil will work. I use avocado oil.
  • Cheese: This cauliflower mushroom risotto uses a combination of mozzarella and parmesan (a vegetarian one if needed) for that ooey-gooey and salty/tangy combination – just enough to taste decadent without becoming unhealthy.  
  • Salt & pepper: To season, to taste.
  • Parsley: Fresh herbs work wonders at adding extra dimension to a dish and a bit of ‘freshness’ to this cauliflower risotto. Alternatively, chives would work.

Keep reading below (after the recipe how-to) for more information on any cauliflower risotto add-ins and recipe variations!

cauliflower rice risotto with mushrooms ingredients

How to Make Cauliflower Risotto

  • Prepare the ingredients: First, clean and chop the cauliflower (if using a raw cauliflower head) into florets. Then finely dice the onion, thinly slice the mushrooms, and mince the garlic.
  • Rice the cauliflower: Transfer the cauliflower florets to a large food processor and process into a rice consistency (it doesn’t have to be 100% even in size – a few larger chunks are okay). Transfer the cauliflower rice to a large bowl and set it aside.

You’ll need to process the cauliflower in 3-4 batches; otherwise, the cauliflower nearest to the blades will practically become a paste. You can also do this with a box grater, but it’ll take longer and more effort.

  • Sauté the mushrooms and aromatics: Pre-heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add the sliced mushrooms and cook until golden brown with no liquid left- around 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Then add an extra swirl of oil and the onion and garlic. Sauté the ingredients for several minutes until translucent, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the cauliflower: Add the cauliflower rice to the pan along with the cooked mushrooms, broth, and salt and pepper. Stir it well, then cover and cook for 4 minutes, or until the cauliflower is ‘just’ tender.

Be careful not to overcook the cauliflower, or it will start to release excess liquid, and the risotto can become ‘mushy.’

  • Add the cheese: Remove the cauliflower rice risotto from the heat and stir in the cheese until melted. Then add the parsley and stir once more!

Optional Add-In’s and Variations

Below are a few optional ‘add-ins’ and seasoning variations for this healthy risotto featuring rice cauliflower and mushrooms.

  • Alcohol: You can substitute half of the stock for white wine or vermouth if preferred. Allow it to cook off for extra depth of flavor.
  • Dairy-free: Feel free to use your favorite melty dairy-free versions of mozzarella and parmesan. You can ramp up the cheesy flavor with the addition of nutritional yeast, too (to taste).
  • Vegetables: I’ve found quick-cooking green vegetables work particularly well in this cauliflower risotto recipe. Peas, steamed asparagus or broccoli, and spinach are my favorite add-ins! Tomatoes that are pan-fried until lightly ‘bursting’ will also pair wonderfully with this cauliflower risotto recipe.
  • Herbs: Add extra flavor with the addition of additional fresh herbs cooked into the mushroom risotto recipe. Mushrooms pair well with thyme, tarragon, or rosemary.
  • Protein: While this makes for a great meat-free main, you can bump up the protein with the addition of shrimp (which cook very quickly) or stick to a plant-based source like white beans/chickpeas. You could also use leftover cooked chicken/turkey (adding with the cauliflower) or even bacon (sauteed first until crispy, then removed and added back in at the end).
  • Cream: Since this cauliflower rice risotto is so low-calorie, you can get away with adding a little extra richness to the recipe. Cauliflower rice risotto won’t get as naturally creamy as regular risotto due to the lack of starch, so a little cream can help add creaminess without overwhelming with fat. Add it at the same time as the cauliflower or as a ‘finisher.’  
  • Pesto: Just a little pesto (red or green) mixed into the cauliflower mushroom risotto will add tons of depth of flavor.
  • Truffle oil: A tiny drizzle over the served cauliflower mushroom risotto tastes delicious and transforms this into ‘gourmet’ fare!
  • Spice: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat.

Tips for Best Cauliflower Mushroom Risotto Results

  • Using frozen cauliflower rice: If you use a bag of pre-riced cauliflower or pre-made and frozen cauli rice, there’s no need to thaw. Instead, just add a few extra minutes to the cooking time! (If you love frozen cauliflower rice as much as I do, here are 14 other frozen cauliflower recipes to use it in!)
  • Feel free to increase the mushrooms: We all know mushrooms practically disappear once cooked, so feel free to increase the amount of mushrooms to as much as you’d like – they’re almost zero calories and packed with nutrients; it’s a win-win!
  • For creamier mushroom risotto: You can remove some of the cooked cauliflower rice risotto to puree into a creamy consistency, then fold it back into the risotto for super creamy results.
  • To avoid mushy cauliflower risotto: Ensure you don’t overcook the cauliflower rice! Just 3-4 minutes is more than enough.
  • For crispier/less ‘soggy’ mushrooms: Rather than adding them in at the same time as the cauliflower, fold the mushrooms into the mixture before serving. Though the dish won’t be as flavorful when not cooking the mushrooms with the rest.

FAQs

Can I use frozen cauliflower rice?

You sure can – in fact, I love to meal-prep cauliflower rice (it lasts 3 months in the freezer!) exactly for this reason. If using frozen, don’t thaw and add a few minutes to the cooking time.

How does risotto get creamy?

Traditional risotto is made creamy thanks to the starchy nature of the arborio rice that leeches out into the sauce and gives it a thick, creamy consistency. In this case, cauliflower rice risotto obviously won’t react the same way. However, there are several ways you can make this version creamier, including blending a small portion of the cooked risotto into a creamy sauce to fold back into the mixture or with the addition of a little cream.

Why is my cauliflower rice risotto mushy?

If your cauliflower rice risotto is watery or mushy then it’s likely that you’ve cooked the cauliflower rice for too long and it has started to release its’ excess liquid.

If you’ve overcooked it so much that you don’t want to enjoy it as a risotto, you can still pop it in a food processor for a deliciously creamy cheesy cauliflower mash topped with sauteed mushrooms.

Why is my cauliflower rice crunchy?

If you haven’t cooked it enough it may be a little crunchy. Alternatively, if you cook it too much it can become soft and mushy. I’ve found the cooking sweet spot is between 3-4 minutes.

What mushrooms can I use for cauliflower mushroom risotto?

This mushroom risotto is fairly versatile. I like to use small brown mushrooms, which I find have more flavor than white mushrooms. However, you can use white, cremini, chestnut, oyster, enoki, chanterelle, or even a mixed ‘wild mushroom’ combination. Just chop them down to nice sizes to sauté well.

cauliflower risotto close up in pan

Serving Recommendations for Cauliflower Risotto

This cauliflower risotto recipe is hearty enough to enjoy as a main but also light enough to enjoy as a side or alongside other sides. I like to serve this cauliflower mushroom risotto with:

This meat-free dish can be eaten alone as a light meat-free meal or served as a side for all sorts of mains, including chicken, pork, fish, and more! Looking for more vegetarian meal inspiration? You might like this zucchini tomato pasta, crustless zucchini quiche, a vegetable frittata, or one-pot chili mac n’ cheese! Alternatively, browse through my entire collection of meat-free recipes!

Let me know in the comments what your favorite way to enjoy this cauliflower risotto is!

How to Store Cauliflower Risotto (& Make Ahead)

Make ahead: You can prepare the cauliflower rice in advance and store it for up to 3 months in the freezer (or 5 days in the fridge). Then, when ready, cook it from frozen, adding a few extra minutes to the cooking time.

Storing: Keep any leftover cauliflower rice risotto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.   

Freeze: Since this cauliflower mushroom risotto is so quick to prepare and tastes best when freshly made, I prefer to do so. However, you should be able to freeze leftovers too for up to 2 months—thaw in the fridge before reheating with additional broth.

Reheat: Reheat the cauliflower risotto on the stovetop (or in a microwave) gently until warmed through. Add an extra splash (or more) of broth (or milk).

More Low Carb Cauliflower Recipes

cauliflower risotto recipe with chicken
Cauliflower Risotto

Cauliflower Risotto {Low Carb}

Vegetarian, low-carb and keto-friendly Cauliflower Risotto recipe combines fresh mushrooms, cauliflower rice, and a flavorful broth that’s ready in under 15 minutes! With only 9 ingredients, it’s perfect for a low carb dinner and has 1/3rd (or less) the calories of traditional risotto and just 11g net carbs.
4.94 from 33 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 12 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 24 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 108kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs cauliflower 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into large florets*
  • 1.5 lbs brown mushrooms sliced
  • 1 tsp avocado oil
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth low sodium**
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 3 tbsp parsley finely chopped

Instructions

  • In a food processor, add cauliflower florets in 3-4 batches and process until “rice” forms. The key to proper coarse rice texture is not to overcrowd the bowl of food processor. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
    Cauliflower Risotto
  • Preheat large non-stick skillet on medium – high heat and add mushrooms. Cook until golden brown or about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
    Cauliflower Risotto
  • Return skillet to medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add onion and garlic, sauté until translucent or about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    Cauliflower Risotto
  • Add cooked mushrooms, cauliflower “rice”, broth, salt and pepper. Stir, cover and cook for 4 minutes.
    Cauliflower Risotto
  • Turn off heat, add Parmesan and mozzarella cheese and parsley; stir until cheese is melted.
    Cauliflower Risotto
  • Serve warm with chicken of choice (I like almond crusted chicken or baked chicken thighs).
    Cauliflower Risotto

Make ahead: Prepare the cauliflower rice in advance and store it for up to 3 months in the freezer (or 5 days in the fridge). Then, when ready, cook it from frozen, adding a few extra minutes to the cooking time.

    Store: Keep refrigerated in a glass airtight container for up to 2 days.

      Reheat: On the stovetop (or in a microwave) gently until warmed through. Add an extra splash (or more) of broth (or milk).

        Notes

        • Or use a bag of store bought cauliflower rice. If using frozen, don’t thaw and add a few minutes to cooking time.
        • Sub half of the stock with white wine if you wish.
        See recipe post for more tips and FAQs.

        Nutrition

        Serving: 1.25cups | Calories: 108kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 344mg | Potassium: 997mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 224IU | Vitamin C: 77mg | Calcium: 133mg | Iron: 1mg
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        74 comments on “Cauliflower Risotto

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        1. 5 stars
          I was looking for a low carb risotto recipe and found this, so I cheated and made half and half arborio/cauliflower rice risotto, saving the cauliflower & fried mushrooms for the last 4 minutes of cooking the rice. It received rave reviews, and an encore request. Thanks for the inspiration.

        2. 5 stars
          That was so easy + amazingly delicious. I did sub the mozz with goat because I don’t eat dairy (not a vegan!). I can’t thank you enough for your creativity, what a wonderful addition to my life.

        3. 5 stars
          I made this tonight as written but for using a bag of cauliflower rice, a shallot (which offered up a nice contrast of color), white mushrooms as I had no brown and only Parmesan cheese as I had no mozzarella. I used the broth / white wine mix and also added red pepper flakes. I served it to myself in a bowl and at the last minute a topped it with an over-easy egg. (It was better before the egg.) It was still delicious and really satisfying. I will make this again. I will eat my leftovers tomorrow alone, sans egg. I think it would be great with a little diced bacon added into it too. Thanks for sharing!

        4. 5 stars
          This dish made me so happy! It was delicious!
          I didn’t have parsley so I used several handsful of baby spinach, coarsely chiffonaded. White wine is a MUST. Used the whole onion and 3 cloves garlic. Used only button mushrooms, but in the future will splash out for bellas, oysters, and Shiitakes.
          I tried the mozz but didn’t like it. Next time I’ll stir in 3-4 tbs Neufchatel at the end to try to get a creamier product & mouthfeel. AlsoI will try using 1/2 tsp of chicken Better Than Bouilion (without water) for more robust flavor.
          Thank you for sharing your terrific recipe! It’s now a permanent part of my meal rotation.

        5. 5 stars
          Excellent…..I just made it added some Italian chicken sausage …..Perfect! I cut it into thirds since it was only me….and had leftovers.

        6. 4 stars
          Just made this tonight and it was delicious..but mine was very watery 🙁 Not sure where I went wrong. I used fresh bagged cauliflower rice.

          1. Sounds like cauliflower cooked a bit too long. It consist of like 90% water so once you cook past certain point it starts “leaking”. It needs only quick warm through almost.

        7. 5 stars
          Very tasty. Lots of compliments from family. I used the chef knife method for the cauliflower. No problem, easy, no complaints about slight differences in cauliflower rice sizes. I look forward to exploring more of your site.

          1. So happy that you liked the cauliflower risotto. Please don’t be shy to leave a review when you try some of my other recipes!

        8. 5 stars
          Thank you for putting out recipes that are healthy, low in carbs and low in fat. This is a great recipe and you are doing a great service to us all. Thanks

        9. 5 stars
          Delicious rice and easy to make. However I add a little bit of truffle white oil at the end and it was even delicious !

        10. 5 stars
          OMG This was delicious! I’m going Keto and thinking this will definately be in the rotation. In the nutritional information though, it says there is 3.4 grams of Sugar in it. Wondering where this sugar is coming from? Thanks!

        11. 5 stars
          Wonderful. But, do you cook the sliced brown mushrooms DRY? Or in oil?

          I made this a couple of years ago and loved it but I can’t remember how the mushrooms should be cooked. Somehow it doesn’t seen right to cook them in a dry pan. PLEASE ADVISE!! Thanks!

          1. I cook them dry in hot ceramic non-stick skillet. Mushrooms are 95% water so they release moisture right away in a non-stick skillet. You can add a bit of oil or spray, no problem.

            1. Aha! That is very helpful! I thought it might be a mistake, but I’m glad to know it’s intentional. That means this year’s batch will be even better than the first! Thanks!

        12. 5 stars
          Delicious! I make this all the time now! I loved a store bought version of this but it’s not at the store I usually go to. So I thought I’d make it myself and it’s great.

        13. 5 stars
          It was yummy and easy to make. I added some broccoli and carrots from our garden,but it would be fine without that. We ate it on it’s own and found it filling.

        14. 5 stars
          My kid’s and I absolutely loved this dish. No leftovers at all! We used birds eye steamable cauliflower rice, and it turned out perfect. We’ll definitely be eating this often.

        15. Going to try this tonight to go with salmon. The only changes I’ll make are to sauté the onions for a bit, then add the garlic, and then after a few minutes add the mushrooms. That way, I won’t have to remove the mushrooms from the pan. I will also be adding a little white wine. Thanks for what looks to be a delicious recipe. 🙂

          1. Just keep in mind that that amount of mushrooms releases a lot of water. The reason I fry them separately is because I want all water to evaporate and mushrooms to brown which takes a while, longer than 3-4 minutes needed for onion and garlic. At that point onion and garlic might burn if you do that. Or you can use not browned mushrooms but your risotto will be more liquidy, especially with wine too. Just keep that in mind. Enjoy!:)

        16. 5 stars
          I liked the base of this recipe but needed to modify it to make it dairy free. I subbed coconut milk for the broth. Also added 1/4 cup of white wine after adding the riced cauliflower and boiled it off. Added nutritional yeast to give it the cheesy flavor. Great recipe

        17. 5 stars
          This is delightful without the cheese for those of us who are lactose intolerant and so quick with ready to use riced cauliflower. Love!

        18. 5 stars
          OMGosh Olena, this was amazing! I consider myself a seasoned cook at 65. I was googling rice cauliflower recipes and yours popped up. I love Risotto, but only made it once with fish, and it was delish! I try to stay away from most carbs as my family is ridden with type 2 diabetis. I decided to try your recipe tonight for dinner, and it wowed me. Of course we always tweak a recipe to our own taste buds, and I did do half white wine with half broth for the liquid. I also did cook it on low longer until our meat was cooked. This will be my new go to recipe for cauliflower from now on. Thank you!

        19. 5 stars
          Great fun! I added some dried wild mushrooms(chanterelles, porcini, etc) to the broth to intensify the flavor and was great. Veggie broth is good, but not as savory as the chicken. Great job!

        20. Thank you for this beautiful recipe! I’m making it tonight, using a variety of shiitake and oyster mushrooms, and I’m excited. Thank you also for the inspiring clean eating blog. I’ve been increasingly committing to this lifestyle myself, and your philosophy on clean yet balanced eating and listening to your body and not judging it is exactly the place I’m at right now 🙂

          1. Glad to hear Liz you are enjoying the blog. Good for you, life is too short to be unhealthy or torture yourself with a diet.

        21. Yay for low carb risotto! Going to try this with frozen cauliflower rice and toasted almonds. Thanks for the recipe!

          1. Hello, If using frozen cauliflower rice, would you just heat it up in skllet first to dethaw or what steps did you take with the frozen rice?

        22. 5 stars
          Made this last night and loved it! I skipped the mozzarella and did half the parm, and it was still amazing! My mother, child and husband all loved it too (and my husband is typically veggie adverse). Keep up the yummy posts, and ignore all of the strange people who spend time nit-picking about such trivial things in your recipe instructions!

          1. Glad you enjoyed it, Susan. I can’t believe how much attention this recipe is getting. Considering, I’m not vegan or vegetarian, I could care less. So true. I will officially ignore any comments about the cheese from now on LOL. Again, glad the youngest and the oldest liked this cauliflower risotto. Those are the hardest to please, sometimes older ones are even pickier than kids haha.

        23. 5 stars
          Made this tonight with some changes, because I can’t leave a recipe alone, lol. Substituted shallots for onions, and added precooked quinoa at the end. Also cut recipe in half since there are just two of us. Left overs are going in veggie stock for lunch tomorrow. Great recipe, was delicious. Thanks.

        24. This was a huge hit in my office holiday party. People could not believe that it was a healthy dish. It was so rich in flavor and the mushrooms gave it an extra zing on flavor. Great job! Thanks for sharing

          1. Wow, Natalie. I would never think to take it to the office party. I’m so happy you did and it worked out for you! Honestly, I’m so hesitant to share many my recipes with big crowd gatherings because many people just don’t get it and their tastebuds are so clogged up by sodium and sugar. You are brave! My husband tells me what people eat in his office and I get goosebumps and they all laugh at him but deep inside are jealous, I’m sure LOL.

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