Cauliflower risotto with cheddar and sage makes the perfect keto side dish recipe. Rich and flavorful, but low in carbs so it won’t weigh you down. Great for a date night meal! This post is sponsored by Cabot Creamery.
Risotto has always been one of my favorite side dishes. It’s easy, it’s elegant, and it pairs well with just about anything. But classic Italian risotto made with arborio rice is no longer on my healthy menu.
Cauliflower risotto to the rescue! You might not believe that cauliflower rice can be a good substitute for real risotto but it actually does a pretty great imitation. You just have to know how to treat it right, with a little wine, a little cream, and plenty of cheese.
And I’ve given this keto cauliflower risotto a little bit of a flavor twist. I have already done the classic mushroom cauliflower risotto, which stands as one of my most popular recipe of all time.
But today’s version is a departure from the classic, and isn’t even made with the standard Parmesan (gasp!). It’s made with some of the World’s Best Cheddar… and it’s amazing!
World’s Best Cheddar!
I can stand here and tell you that Cabot is the world’s best cheddar until I am blue in the face but don’t take my word for it. They’ve won numerous awards for their sharp cheddar varieties, year after year, both nationally and internationally.
It really is some of the best cheddar I’ve ever had. Living in New England for 11 years, I became quite a Cabot devotee and I find myself measuring every other cheddar by that standard. It’s just really, really good, and really, really consistent.
I always know that I am going to enjoy my meal that much more if it includes some Cabot Creamery cheddar.
And it turns out that sharp cheddar is an excellent and delicious substitute for Parmesan in cauliflower risotto. It has a similar tanginess, but with a richer, creamier mouthfeel.
A healthier date night meal
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I wanted to make a delicious side dish that was both easy and elegant enough for “date night”. Something that could pair with steak, chicken, seafood or whatever you love to have for a special celebration.
We paired ours with a good medium rare steak. I figure you know how to cook steak to your liking so I won’t go into those details. Or perhaps you prefer a pork tenderloin or some crispy skinned chicken thighs. All great date night food, in my opinion!
But it’s often hard to come up with new and different keto side dishes to pair them with. I know I have a tendency to fall into a side dish rut, relying on roasted cauliflower or broccoli much of the time.
Risotto is a date night classic and this cheesy cauliflower risotto is so rich and creamy, you might be tempted to eat it as your main course.
Tips for making Cauliflower Risotto
Let’s be honest – making risotto with cauliflower rice is, by necessity, going to be a lot different than making conventional risotto. It has a far higher moisture content and little to no starch compared to arborio rice.
So you have to treat it quite a bit differently when making the classic Italian dish. The cooking time is much shorter and you only need a little bit of liquid, rather than several cups of broth.
Here are a few tips for getting it right.
Crisp up the sage
If you’ve never had crispy sage before, you’re in for a treat. Sage leaves become more fragrant and crisped up when they are lightly fried in a little butter. Remove it after it crisps because it will get soggy again if you cook it with the cauliflower risotto. Use it as a garnish at the end.
Reduce the wine or broth
Wnite wine is a standard addition to risotto and helps to deepen the flavor. Broth is a good substitute if you prefer not to use wine. Add it to the butter in the pan and cook it until it’s reduced by half.
Fresh or frozen cauliflower rice?
Either works but I like to use frozen for the convenience factor. They both take about the same amount of time to cook. Frozen cauliflower will release more liquid so if you’re using fresh, you may need to add a bit more broth or water until the cauliflower is tender.
Adding heavy cream
Conventional risotto does not take cream, but then again, it has quite a bit of starch to create that creamy mouth feel. Adding a little heavy cream will make your cauliflower risotto feel more like the real thing.
Stir in the cheese
Add plenty of grated sharp cheddar and stir in until melted. You’ll be glad you did!
Want more keto cauliflower rice recipes?
- Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice
- Mexican Cauliflower Rice
- Keto Jambalaya
- Garlic Butter Cauliflower Rice
- Shrimp Fried Cauliflower Rice
- Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower Rice
Cauliflower Risotto with Cheddar and Sage
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
- ¼ cup dry white wine can sub chicken broth
- 16 ounces frozen riced cauliflower
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 6 ounces grated sharp white Cheddar such as Cabot Extra Sharp, grated
- ¼ tsp glucomannan optional
- In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, add the sage and saute about 1 minute, until crispy. Remove the sage to a plate for garnish.
- Add the wine to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook until reduced to about 2 tablespoons.
- Add the cauliflower and toss to coat in the liquid. Sauté until the cauliflower is tender crisp, then stir in the cream and continue to cook until tender.
- Push the cauliflower off to one side of the pan so that the liquid runs to the other side. Add the cheese to the liquid and stir until melted. Then stir the liquid back into the cauliflower rice.
- For a thicker sauce, whisk the glucomannan in with the cheese.
- Serve with the crispy sage sprinkled over each serving.