This easy recipe for Keto Cauliflower Risotto makes a creamy low-carb risotto with hints of garlic, lemon, and thyme. This cauliflower risotto makes an excellent side dish for those on ketogenic, Atkins, grain-free, or Banting diets.
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The recipe for Keto Cauliflower Risotto
This recipe for keto-friendly risotto is quick and easy to make. Even so, it makes a satisfying substitute for the carb-laden traditional risotto.
The creaminess in this risotto comes from the heavy whipping cream. Cauliflower doesn’t have the same starchiness as arborio rice. Because of this, we needed to use another ingredient to create the smooth rich texture.
This risotto boasts well-balanced flavors. The garlic goodness provides interest, but doesn’t overwhelm the scent of lemon and thyme.
The nutritional make-up of this recipe is low-carb, but includes a higher level of fat, so it is perfect for those on a keto diet.
This recipe was inspired by my desire to have a fresh new flavor version of risotto. I took my recipe for Low-Carb Cauliflower Risotto with Basil and Sun Dried Tomatoes and altered it into something brand new.
Is risotto keto-friendly?
While the original risotto made with rice is loaded with carbs and not really appropriate for a low-carb diet, riced cauliflower can make an excellent substitute.
You can use this keto-friendly version of risotto the same way you would the grain version. It has a similar texture and flavor profile.
How to make Keto Cauliflower Risotto
Making cauliflower risotto is very different from making the original rice-based dish. I start with cooking the shallot in a bit of avocado oil.
Then, I add in the frozen riced cauliflower, season with salt and pepper, and cook it until crisp tender.
Next, I stir in the garlic and cook it for a minute or so. Don’t overcook the garlic as this will make it bitter.
After the garlic has cooked a bit, I add the lemon juice. This adds a bit of acidity and brightens the flavor of the dish. It also helps bring any of the tasty browned bits off the bottom of the pan and into the dish.
When almost all of the lemon juice has evaporated, I start slowly adding the cream while stirring. I add about half of it, then let it cook down until the cauliflower has a creamy texture, After it’s nice and creamy, I add the rest of the cream and let it cook down until it reaches the desired texture.
Finally, I stir in the lemon zest and the thyme. Once this is done, I taste the risotto and add more salt and/or pepper if desired. This is when you adjust the recipe to suit your own taste. You could even add more thyme or lemon zest if you prefer stronger flavors.
Can I use frozen riced cauliflower to make cauliflower risotto?
I actually prefer using frozen riced cauliflower in many of my cauliflower recipes. For example, I use it in my Easy Low-Carb Cauliflower Fried Rice Recipe and my Cauliflower Rice Pilaf Recipe.
One reason I like using frozen riced cauliflower is the convenience. I always keep a few bags in my freezer so I have it available when the cooking urge strikes.
In addition to convenience, I find that I actually prefer the taste of frozen riced cauliflower. It seems to be a bit milder.
I suspect this milder flavor might have to do with the vegetable being frozen at its peak ripeness, rather than sitting in the produce aisle and my fridge.
If you prefer to use fresh cauliflower, you can sometimes find it pre-riced in the produce department, or you can make it yourself using a food processor.
What do I serve with Cauliflower Risotto?
This keto-friendly risotto pairs well with many foods. Some of my favorite pairings for this include seafood and chicken. It could even work well with pork.
You could serve this recipe with my Haddock with Orange Thyme Sauce, my Pan Seared Scallops with Sauce (Keto-Friendly), or even my Easy Grilled Dijon Mustard Pork Tenderloin Recipe (Low Carb, Keto). It would also be wonderful with this keto pork tenderloin from My Life Cookbook.
This recipe works best with mildly-flavored meats. The mild flavors might be overpower by super-spicy dishes like my Low-Carb Cajun Salmon (Keto-Friendly), or deeply flavored dishes like my Low-Carb Beef Bourguignon Stew.
What substitutions can I make in keto risotto?
The wonderful thing about this recipe is that you can alter it to fit your needs. Instead of using lemon juice, you can use white wine vinegar. Instead of using lemon zest and thyme, you can use rosemary or basil.
If you don’t happen to have fresh herbs on hand, you can use dried herbs. Just decrease the amount to about 1/4 teaspoon. Another option is to leave out the herbs all together and let the black pepper and garlic play a bigger role.
If you don’t have a shallot on hand, you can use a bit of minced onion. Red onion would add a touch of color, but yellow or white onion would work as well. You could even use the white part of a green onion.
It really depends on your own taste and your own needs.
This recipe makes a quick and easy side dish for a variety of meals. If you’re missing rice or risotto, you should give it a try.
Keto Cauliflower Risotto
This easy recipe for Keto Cauliflower Risotto makes a creamy herb low-carb risotto with hints of garlic, lemon, and thyme. This risotto makes an excellent side dish for those on ketogenic, Atkins, grain-free, or Banting diets.
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 medium shallot peeled and minced (a tablespoon of minced onion may be substituted)
- 1 10 ounce package frozen riced cauliflower
- sea salt to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon* total)
- black pepper to taste (I used about 1/4 teaspoon*)
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the shallot. Cook the shallot, stirring frequently, untill the edges begin to brown.
Stir the frozen riced cauliflower into the cooked shallots. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook the cauliflower, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower is crisp-tender. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute, while stirring.
Stir in the lemon juice. Cook, stirring frequently, until the lemon juice is almost completely evaporated. While stirring the vegetables, stream in about 1/2 cup of the heavy whipping cream.
When the risotto becomes creamy, stream in the remainder of the cream while continuing to stir. Cook, stirring frequently, until the risotto reaches the desired consisitency. Stir in the thyme and the lemon zest.
Taste and adjust seasoning. Optional: Garnish with additional thyme and/or lemon zest.
*This amount is included in the nutritional information.
Love the idea of making risotto with cauliflower rice! Looks so much faster to make too than the original.
This risotto was so easy to make and love how I was able to use up my leftover cauliflower florets I had. Will be making again!
This is something I’ve been wanting to try. I love the flavors you picked – so light yet really tasty! YUM
This is much easier to make than I thought it would be. Love the lemon and Thyme in it.
This looks so tasty! I never thought of using riced cauliflower as a risotto, which is everyone’s favorite side dish in our house! Your instructions are so well-written. Can’t wait to try it!
Can’t wait to try this. I even have my hubby eating cauliflower and he used to hate it. This is a great version. What I really want to know, is I see you are using the Hex pan in your photos. Do you love it or is it not worth the price? Just curious. I’m interested but have yet to pull the trigger on buying the Hex pans. Thanks for any pros/cons.
This is a pan from Mealthy. I find myself reaching for it more and more often. I first saw it at a food conference and they were scraping the bottom of it with a box cutter and it didn’t harm the pan. I haven’t put it through the box cutter test, but so far have been very happy with it. It heats very evenly and I don’t have to worry about the kids using metal spatulas with it. I also like that it’s oven and dishwasher safe. One downside is that it doesn’t come with a lid. It’s a common size, though, so I have another lid that fits. Here’s a link to the pan. I’m an affiliate, so if you use the code SIMPLYSOHEALTHY you’ll get a $10. discount.
Can’t wait to try it as I’m loving the cauliflower polenta I’ve been eating but need a change. I’m kinda shocked there’s no cheese – isn’t risotto mainly Italian rice with cream and cheese?
There are many varieties of risotto. They do not need to contain cream or cheese. In fact, much of the creaminess in true risotto comes from the starch in the rice combined with broth. You might be interested in this recipe for Low-Carb Cauliflower Risotto with Basil and Sun Dried Tomatoes as well.
it had too much heavy cream for me. otherwise the taste was good.
Could you replace some of the liquid with white wine? I find that to be an important ingredient in risotto. If so would you replace some of the heavy cream?
You could use some white wine in this recipe. Keep in mind that the cream is there to provide the creamy texture that the starch in rice would create as cauliflower rice doesn’t have as high of a starch content.