cauliflower risotto on a plate with a spoon HERO

cauliflower risotto {keto + gluten-free}

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This cauliflower risotto is a “spring meets comfort food” side dish situation, with crisp asparagus pieces and savory bits of bacon mixed into a creamy, cauliflower rice base. It’s rich and cozy but somehow feels light and fresh. And, yep- there’s not a single grain of actual risotto in this dish- versatile cauliflower for the win again.

cauliflower risotto with a spoon and napkin

I’ve been making this keto cauliflower risotto a lot lately, not just for recipe testing reasons either. It’s super quick and is made with frozen cauliflower for even more ease and convenience (another go-to for frozen cauli is my Spanish cauliflower rice!). This is a low-carb side dish that goes with almost anything, and the soft and creamy texture is irresistible; my six-year-old son goes back for seconds.

This springtime cauliflower risotto is:

  • low-carb and keto-friendly
  • grain-free and gluten-free
  • ready in 20 minutes
  • creamy and delicious!
  • kid-friendly
  • easily adapted to be dairy-free or vegan

the ingredients

This keto cauliflower risotto is an amazing low-carb swap for the classic, creamy and cozy risotto side dish. The recipe is also versatile and you can change up the flavors with different veggie add-ins and seasonings (i.e. add mushrooms or a little chopped rosemary or chives).

For this cauliflower risotto with asparagus, you will need:

  • butter (or olive oil)
  • bacon, cut into small pieces
  • small shallot, chopped (or substitute red onion)
  • garlic, minced
  • asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • frozen riced cauliflower
  • chicken stock or broth
  • whipping cream
  • salt and pepper
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • half a lemon and lemon zest (optional)

The cream and parmesan make this cheesy and creamy, while the shallot, bacon and garlic combine for all the savory goodness! For dairy-free or vegan versions, see the substitution section below.

the process

Cauliflower risotto comes together easily! It is also a great way to use leftover bacon and it cuts down on the prep time by a few minutes, too!

  1. Sauté. In a large skillet (I use a cast iron), cook the bacon pieces until they’re almost crisp. Add the chopped shallot (or onion), sauté a few minutes, then add in the garlic.
  2. Add the cauliflower rice. Add the asparagus to the mixture, then pour in the frozen cauliflower rice. Cook for 3-4 minutes to soften the rice. Pour the chicken stock and cream into the pan and bump the heat up to medium-high. Stir in the salt and pepper.
  3. Simmer and stir. Cook the cauliflower “risotto” for about 5-8 minutes over the higher temperature. The liquid will reduce and the mixture should become creamy. Stir it often. Remove from heat, then sprinkle in the grated Parmesan and mix until it is well combined. Squeeze half the lemon over the dish and sprinkle lemon zest on top. Serve and enjoy!
closeup of keto cauliflower risotto in cast iron skillet

ingredient substitutions

For a dairy-free cauliflower risotto:

  • Substitute the cream for coconut cream (the thick part at the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk).
  • Omit the Parmesan cheese and use your favorite vegan cheese (make sure it melts as not all varieties do!) or sprinkle in 1-2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast at the end for a light cheesy flavor.

For a vegan cauliflower risotto:

  • Omit the bacon and make sure to use olive oil or avocado oil instead of butter.
  • Substitute vegetable broth or stock for the chicken stock.
  • Use coconut cream instead of whipping cream.
  • Choose your favorite vegan cheese or 1-2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast to replace the Parmesan.

cauliflower risotto notes

  • I prefer using frozen cauliflower rice for convenience, but you can make this with fresh riced cauliflower, too. Note that you will not end up with as much liquid to cook out, so the cooking time may be less.
  • The squeeze of lemon and the lemon zest are optional, but add a nice light flavor to the risotto.
  • If there seems to be too much liquid in the cauliflower risotto, bump the burner temperature up to high to let it reduce, but make sure to stir it frequently so it doesn’t burn.
overhead of cauliflower risotto on a plate with lemon

I hope you enjoy this low-carb cauliflower risotto! It’s incredibly simple and a deliciously savory way to use riced cauliflower. Bacon and parmesan and asparagus are amazing add-ins, and come together for a light and low-carb cauliflower risotto that is full of flavor.

p.s. Find more low-carb sides here!

you might also love…

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links. I earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) when you purchase something from one of those links. I will always recommend brands and products that I use and love. Thank you for supporting Stem and Spoon! -Abby

cauliflower risotto on a plate with a spoon HERO

cauliflower risotto {keto + gluten-free}

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This keto cauliflower risotto is studded with crisp pieces of asparagus and salty bacon for a deliciously creamy, flavorful, and low-carb side!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter (or olive oil)
  • 3 pieces thick-cut bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 small shallot, chopped (or substitute 1/4 cup chopped red onion)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 8 ounces asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 14-16 ounces frozen riced cauliflower
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock or broth
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • half a lemon (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place a large skillet over medium heat and warm the oil or butter for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the bacon pieces and cook them until they are almost crisp (about 3-5 minutes).
  3. Stir in the chopped shallot and cook another 2 minutes or so, just until the shallot softens a little bit. Add the minced garlic and sauté another 30 seconds, then stir in the asparagus.
  4. Pour in the frozen cauliflower rice and stir to combine the mixture.
  5. Add the chicken stock and whipping cream, then bump the stovetop heat up to medium-high. Stir and cook the mixture for about 5-8 minutes, cooking the cauliflower and allowing the liquid to reduce.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated parmesan. The mixture should be creamy and cheesy. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
  7. Squeeze half the lemon over the top of the cauliflower risotto, then stir. Serve with a little lemon zest sprinkled on top (optional).

Notes

If using fresh riced cauliflower, note that there will not be as much liquid, so the cooking time may be less.

If there seems to be too much liquid in the cauliflower risotto, bump the burner temperature up to high to let it reduce, but stir frequently to prevent it from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan.

For a dairy-free cauliflower risotto:

  • Substitute the cream for coconut cream (the thick part at the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk).
  • Omit the Parmesan cheese and use your favorite vegan cheese (make sure it melts as not all varieties do!) or sprinkle in 1-2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast at the end for a light cheesy flavor. 

For a vegan cauliflower risotto:

  • Omit the bacon and make sure to use olive oil or avocado oil instead of butter.
  • Substitute vegetable broth or stock for the chicken stock.
  • Use coconut cream instead of whipping cream.
  • Choose your favorite vegan cheese or 1-2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast to replace the Parmesan.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 215Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7.2gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 355mgCarbohydrates: 7gNet Carbohydrates: 5gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 7g

This nutritional information is approximate and is provided for convenience as a courtesy.

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