Healthy Parmesan Risotto
Sometimes, it’s nice to ‘veg-out’ with nothing but a big bowl of it. The problem for healthy eaters though is that risotto is traditionally made with rice which lends itself to a lot of health problems.
Now, if you just go by what a lot of supposed health food labels term as healthy, you might assume that you could make a healthy parmesan risotto just by substituting brown rice for white rice.
But rice in general (even brown rice) can cause problems, including increased blood sugar levels and metabolic issues.
Fortunately, delicious and healthy substitutions make recipes like a parmesan risotto available once again. It’s one of the most common laments among those who follow a low carb and healthy diet: too many of their favorite foods are not available.
Fortunately, that’s not the case here. It’s just a matter of learning alternative methods of preparing the food.
Healthy Parmesan Risotto:
The Key Substitution for Risotto
Rice might seem to be one of those foods that just can’t be replaced. After all, it serves as a staple in many countries, and mainstream nutritional guidelines erroneously say it’s healthy.
But there’s a rather surprising (and much healthier )substitute: cauliflower (please hang with me here; when I first heard of cauliflower substitute, I wrinkled my nose at the idea).
Cauliflower can be chopped in a food processor until it looks like rice. From there, it can be warmed and prepared in such a way that it tastes quite similar to rice.
If you’re wondering why you should use cauliflower rather than rice, you’ll be pleased to know there’s quite a few reasons. The first is that cauliflower is significantly lower in calories and higher in fiber. The second is that it contains far better nutritional components than rice.
Because it’s a cruciferous vegetable, it contains cancer fighting properties as well as plenty of essential vitamins. Instead of making you constipated, it will help keep you in good health.
Delicious Healthy Parmesan Risotto
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon of butter from grass-fed cows (or coconut oil if you want a slightly sweeter flavor)
- 1 onion
- 2 tablespoons of organic heavy cream
- ½ cup organic vegetable stock or chicken stock (beef stock can be substituted in a pinch, but it will change the flavor substantially)
- ¼ cup fresh grated parmesan (dried parmesan can be used, but you’ll want to add a dash or so more as it is not quite as strong in flavor)
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 1 minced clove of fresh garlic
- 6 strips bacon
- Salt and pepper to taste
Dice the bacon strips into small bits, and fry in one pan until extra crispy (trust me, the crispier you can do it, the better).
Chop the cauliflower roughly or process it in a food processor until it looks like rice. If putting in the food processor, cube it in chunks to make it process easier.
In a separate pan, heat the oil on medium heat. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Saute it in the olive oil. Slowly add the cauliflower and stir until coated. Gradually mix in stock. Keep stirring and cooking over medium heat until cauliflower is slightly tender (only about 3-4 minutes here).
Once cauliflower is warm, add the cream, parmesan, bacon bits, and chopped parsley. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Garnish with parmesan and serve while hot.
This dish serves four. You can easily customize it by adding additional spices and experimenting with the oils. It takes approximately 20 minutes to make, and it should be served while hot. The cauliflower parmesan risotto does not work as well when reheated. It tends to get a little mushier.
The flavor will remain good for up to two days. But most of the time, this dish is such a big hit that you won’t have any leftovers at all.
Looking for some fun variations? Try changing it up! Mushrooms can add a great flavor as well-there are too many variations to mention!!
PS: Did you try it? Thinking of trying it?
Please let me know what you think in the comments below!
Mark Sisson, “Is Rice Unhealthy,” Mark’s Daily Apple, http://www.marksdailyapple.com/is-rice-unhealthy/#axzz2cBizbkN9 (2012).