This cheesy cauliflower risotto with caramelized leeks is so satisfying – you’re going to reach for seconds. This will become your favorite cauliflower side dish.
Riced cauliflower is sauteed with caramelized leeks, and cheddar cheese is added to make this dish rich and creamy – and even MORE delicious than rice risotto.
If you’re looking for more healthier, low-carb or keto dinner ideas, give this cauliflower risotto a try!
Is there anything cauliflower can’t do??
Cauliflower is definitely the most satisfying and versatile vegetable out there. There’s so much you can do with it to really recreate the flavors and textures of traditional carb-heavy foods.
I’ve previously shared my Cauliflower Grits recipe, and now I am using cauliflower in a similar way to make a creamy cauliflower risotto.
Check it out:
Risotto is typically made from rice – it is a rich and creamy-tasting rice dish, with the rice being almost “overcooked” to give it a porridge-like texture.
In this recipe, I recreate that same creaminess using “cauliflower rice,” cheese, and a bit of vegetable (or chicken) stock. I also add caramelized leeks for lots of flavor (more on that later).
This recipe uses cauliflower rice (aka riced cauliflower). All that means is it’s cauliflower that has been grated into small rice-like pieces. Cauliflower rice can also be made by pulsing cauliflower florets in a food processor.
Luckily you can buy riced cauliflower in most large grocery stores now, which saves you about 10 minutes of prep time and you can start cooking immediately!
The ingredient that gives this cauliflower risotto lots of flavor is leeks. Leeks have such a nice slightly sweet flavor when they are cooked and allowed to brown a little, they are one of my favorite ingredients!
Cooking with leeks
Here are my top tips for cooking with leeks:
1. Slice the leeks first, then wash them. Leeks have lots of little layers to them, and dirt often gets trapped in between. If you wash before chopping, you might find lots of dirt as you start slicing.
2. Dry the leeks thoroughly. This allows them to get nicely caramelized and browned instead of steamed in the extra water. Use a salad spinner to dry the leeks. You’ll be SHOCKED at how much water comes out of rinsed and drained sliced leeks (or chopped lettuce, for that matter). I LOVE my salad spinner.
3. Allow leeks to brown a little. That’s where all the flavor is. 🙂
How to make cauliflower risotto
This recipe starts by sauteing leeks in olive oil until they are caramelized (see above for tips!).
Then you add the riced cauliflower and vegetable stock (or chicken stock)… or water if you don’t feel like opening a container of stock! Just a little liquid to help steam the cauliflower and make it creamier.
Then you add the cheese. Lots of cheese. I love plain old cheddar for this recipe, but feel free to add your favorite cheese. Gouda would be fantastic!
Garnish with some fresh herbs, and serve!
Psst! Love cauliflower? ME TOO! Check out my other cauliflower recipes:
- Cauliflower fritters
- Roasted cauliflower with parsley pesto
- Pan-fried cauliflower
- And see ALL my cauliflower recipes
Did you enjoy this recipe?? Share a photo on Instagram and tag me in it! @babaganoshblog. And don’t forget to share this recipe on Facebook and save it for later on Pinterest:
- 1/2 lb leeks (2 small or 1 large leek, about 3 cups diced leeks) - see notes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 lb riced cauliflower (from 1 medium-large cauliflower, see notes)
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth or water, see notes)
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice (from 1/2 lime or lemon)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
- Black pepper, to taste
- Optional garnish, such as diced scallion or cilantro leaves
- Thinly slice the leeks and thoroughly clean them. Dry them well, in a salad spinner, if you have one.
- In a large 12-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over low-medium heat and add the sliced leeks. Saute for 10-15 minutes, or until the leeks are nicely caramelized and reduced in size by about half, stirring often. (Rice the cauliflower during this time if you are starting with a whole head of cauliflower).
- Add the riced cauliflower and 1/2 cup vegetable broth, and stir well. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the shredded cheese, lime or lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Stir well, then cover. Cook for another 5-10 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked to your liking, stirring every few minutes. Serve warm, with additional freshly ground black pepper and scallions or cilantro for garnish.
- I recommend rinsing the sliced leek in a large bowl to make sure you get all the dirt out, then drying the sliced leek thoroughly using a salad spinner. Drying the leeks thoroughly ensures they get caramelized nicely instead of just steaming in the residual water
- If you are starting with a whole cauliflower head, cut it into quarters and "rice" it by grating it on a large grater. Do this while the leeks are caramelizing so you can save some prep time (but don't forget to stir the leeks so they don't burn!)
- Vegetable broth or chicken broth give this recipe even more flavor, but I have made it with water before too and it's still really good!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 368Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 792mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 6gSugar: 6gProtein: 18g
The nutritional information displayed is just an estimate and will vary depending on the actual ingredients and brands used and the exact amounts used. Please consult with a dietitian or nutritionist if you are actually tracking nutritional information for health reasons.