Cauliflower Risotto with Caramelized Pears, Blue Cheese and Walnuts: A healthy and gluten-free makeover of a traditional risotto packed with flavor! Easy 30-minute step-by-step recipe.
Meatless Monday today and I’m sharing a recipe of Cauliflower risotto with caramelized pears, blue cheese and walnuts with you. This dish takes some classic ingredients and puts them together in a fantastic way.
Making healthier versions of all-time favorites is so much fun I made it my everyday practice. The most rewarding part is my husband’s excitement, when I tell him that a certain dish is vegan, dairy-free, etc. He has always enjoyed my risotto with caramelized pears and blue cheese, when I made it with rice. And he enjoyed this cauliflower version just as much! Besides, it’s so much healthier!
Here are some easy and accessible ideas on how to give your dishes a healthy spin:
- Use less packaged ingredients. Make your own broth, tomato sauce, salad dressings, jam, condiments, etc. It’s way healthier and tastes much better.
- Use whole-wheat pasta. It tastes just as good and contains more fiber and less calories than regular pasta.
- Roast instead of deep-frying. It’s kind of obvious but I will still write it here. Use healthier techniques, such as sautéing, steaming, braising, roasting, poaching and grilling.
- Use non-stick pans for the stove top and cooking spray for baking. Make it yourself by combining olive oil and water 1:5 in a spray bottle.
- When making casseroles or stir-fries, scale back on meat and increase the amount of vegetables.
- Substitute white flour for gluten-free blend. Use whole-grain flour. Discover new types of flour: rice, buckwheat, coconut, quinoa, ground nuts, etc. It will give your dishes new flavors while making them healthier and rich in fiber.
- Use honey or agave syrup instead of white sugar.
- Replace cow milk with coconut milk or homemade nut milk. Soak nuts overnight, combine with water, blend and strain. For 1 cup of any nuts you’ll need 4 cups of water. Yes, it’s that easy.
- Reduce butter and use mashed banana, avocado, pumpkin puree, flaxseed meal or applesauce for binding. Read more about healthy desserts makeover here.
- And the last one: eat mindfully and keep your portions reasonable. Here is my favorite quote about healthy eating from Michael Pollan: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”.
If you want to learn more about improvising in the kitchen, download my free e-book “How To Cook Without A Recipe”. It’s about combining and harmonizing flavors, making your dishes creative and delicious without strict recipe guidelines. My hope is to help you improvise and improve your everyday cooking. And again, it’s completely FREE.
How to Make Cauliflower Risotto with Caramelized Pears, Blue Cheese and Walnuts
So, back to the recipe. Cauliflower was far from being my favorite vegetable up until I made this and this. It might work for you and your family as well. In this recipe I used Romanesco cauliflower but the regular one would be great here, too.
Speaking of health benefits of cauliflower, you don’t want to miss it this season because it’s one of the most amazing superfoods out there!
Pears and blue cheese taste soooo good together. This pairing always works excellently. You can eat them raw, like in this easy appetizer or caramelize them with honey and put them on pizza or risotto. Walnuts add a little crunch and give a rich umami taste, intensified by the blue cheese and Parmesan. This cauliflower risotto is packed with flavor! You’ll need 30 minutes and 10 ingredients to make it. Here you go:
Cauliflower Risotto with Caramelized Pears, Blue Cheese and Walnuts
- 2 pears
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 medium-sized Romanesco cauliflower or regular
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 shallot
- 1 glass white wine optional
- 450 ml or 1/2 qt vegetable broth
- 50 grams or 1.8 oz Parmesan (or any other hard cheese for vegetarians)
- 70 grams or 2.5 oz blue cheese
- a handful walnuts
- black pepper
- parsley to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180° C or 350° F. Cut each pear into 8 wedges and remove the seeds. Place the wedges on a backing dish covered with parchment paper in a single layer. Coat them in honey from all sides. If your honey is no liquid enough, microwave it for 20 seconds. Put the pears in the oven for 20 minutes. 5 minutes before the end, add walnuts to the backing dish or microwave them for 30 seconds to release the flavor.
- Meanwhile, cut the cauliflower into florets. Pulse them in a food processor until they resemble small grains of rice. Set a pot with the vegetable broth on medium-low heat.
- Finely chop garlic cloves and a shallot. Set a skillet with a lug of olive oil over medium heat. Sauté for about 2 minutes or until translucent. Add the cauliflower rice and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add white wine (if using, if not - use a bit more vegetable stock). Let the wine evaporate and add the broth. Cook until the liquid is mostly absorbed, stirring occasionally, for around 15-20 minutes until soft but not mushy.
- Dice the blue cheese, grate Parmesan and roughly chop the toasted walnuts. Add to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with honey-glazed pears and chopped parsley. Enjoy!
Here are some more amazing cauliflower rice recipes you would surely enjoy!
What is your favorite risotto? Leave a comment below!