Frugal Foodie Friday: Cauliflower “Risotto” (Dairy-Free AND Gluten-Free)


Recently, I stumbled across the idea of Cauliflower “Rice” on a Paleo / Primal Diet blog. Smitten by this idea for incorporating even more veggies into my dinner (and sneaking cauliflower in on my husband, hehe), I went with it. My first attempt was this Cauliflower Risottowhich amazingly turned out awesome right out of the shoot! A touch of fresh basil was the perfect touch.

Dairy-Free Cauliflower Risotto

It’s been a recipe on repeat and even got a nod of approval from my usually cauliflower-hating husband! I’ve also made some basic cauliflower “rice” to serve as the base under stir-fries. It has worked out well, but my husband agreed that the risotto is just better. It’s hard to believe that the simple cauliflower can be transformed into such an incredible risotto!

Surprisingly, a large head of cauliflower makes about 3 to 4 healthy servings. To make the cauliflower rice, you can either grate it with a cheese grater (great arm workout!) or throw it in your food processor for instant rice! This  recipe makes 2 hefty sides worth of cauliflower risotto. Pair it with some greens and a protein for a wholesome well rounded meal!

Reader Raves

Erin loved this recipe and gave it her own spin: “This was fabulous!! I added green peas, lemon zest, extra veggie broth and a touch of cornstarch to make it nice and creamy. Oh and I used lightly toasted walnuts instead of the pine nuts. Yum and yum!”

Special Diet Notes: Cauliflower Risotto

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free (despite the name, pine nuts are technically seeds), peanut-free, gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian.


Cauliflower Risotto
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2 sides
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts (about 1 ounce)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons grapeseed, olive, or coconut oil
  • ½ cup minced or diced onion
  • 3 cups grated cauliflower (about ½ medium to large head)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup Broth (chicken or vegetarian)
  • Chiffonade 6 to 10 fresh basil leaves
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste (optional)
  1. Combine the nuts, nutritional yeast, and salt in your spice grinder, and give it a few pulses. The nuts should grind up, and begin to clump. It is best if it stays a bit powdery and doesn’t turn into a paste, but if it does, no loss. Set aside while you cook the cauliflower.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the onion and sauté for about 3 minutes. Or until fragrant, then add the grated cauliflower and continue to sauté / stir-fry for about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute more.
  5. Add the broth, reduce the heat to medium-low, stir, cover and allow it to sit for 2 to 3 minutes. This cooks it to the perfect “al dente” consistency for us, but feel free to cook it to your desired tenderness.
  6. Remove the lid, turn off the heat, and stir in the reserved nut mixture. It may clump a bit, but continuing to stir it in the hot pan will help it to distribute and become creamy. Stir in the basil and fresh ground pepper to taste, if using. Serve.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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