This creamy mushroom cauliflower rice is the perfect low carb side dish. It’s so rich and delicious, you won’t believe it’s grain-free.
Trader Joe’s is a magical land filled with fairy-tale ingredients at astonishingly unfairy-tale like prices. The first time you visit a TJs store, you are quite overcome at the dazzling array of “gourmet” foods that don’t have a gourmet price tag. You stand there, dazed, picking up a wedge of triple cream brie that costs less than 4 dollars and putting it down again, for fear that it isn’t actually real. When you finally dare to believe, you start filling your cart with any number of delights that would cost far more elsewhere. You grab some of this and some of that…oh, might as well get two or three of those, just in case you can’t come back anytime soon. Next thing you know, you’ve spent about twice as much as you intended. But you don’t care, because you are so excited to get into all those tasty treats. It’s the Trader Joe’s Phenomenon. It’s a chronic disease and there is no cure.
At least that was my experience back in grad school, when Trader Joe’s was the mecca of grocery shopping in Tempe, Arizona. To my uninitiated Canadian eyes, that store at the corner of McClintock and Guadalupe was a temple of foodie delight and I worshipped there as often as my budget would allow. And it was Trader Joe’s that introduced me to arborio rice and hence to homemade risotto. Armed with a solid recipe from Mark Bittman, I mastered the creamy, delicate mushroom risotto on the first try. I was immensely pleased with myself and my gourmet cooking abilities. It quickly became a staple in our house.
And now credit once again goes to Trader Joe’s for helping me tackle a low carb mushroom risotto made with cauliflower rice. Ever the innovators, they are leading the charge on the cauli-rice front with not only their frozen organic bags but now with the fresh riced cauliflower in the produce section. Not that cauliflower rice is all that difficult to make at home as it is, but sometimes it’s nice to have someone do a little of the manual labour for you. Plus it’s one less kitchen appliance to wash at the end of the evening.
I decided to put everything I knew about making regular risotto into making the low carb version, replete with the slow addition of liquid which then are allowed to slowly evaporate. I figured this was critical as it was, since cauliflower comes with its own high moisture content, unlike arborio rice. To help the wine and broth evaporate properly, I decided to cook the whole thing in a large sauté pan instead of a deep pot. And then I added a little cream to get a more creamy consistency. Interestingly, I found that the cauliflower did not cook as quickly as I might have thought it would and with this slow, careful cooking, it did not become mushy. I also tried it with both the frozen AND the fresh riced cauliflower from Trader Joe’s and there seemed to be little difference in how they cooked. The frozen simply took a little bit longer. So the good news is that you can use any riced cauliflower here…the frozen pre-made, the fresh pre-made, or some you’ve simply riced yourself at home.