This post has been sponsored by Cans Get You Cooking. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
A quick Whole30 cauliflower risotto with chicken and asparagus, inspired by the best ever traditional risotto recipe. Easy and so creamy, this cauliflower risotto is super versatile! It’s also paleo, dairy free, and low carb.
You know a recipe is damn good, or at least well loved, when it’s referred to as your recipe. As in,
“Mom, what do you want for your birthday dinner?”
“Ooh, your chicken thighs and definitely your risotto.”
As in Your Risotto. No other qualification needed.
So when I was creating a super simple Whole30 cauliflower risotto, I had to start with my beloved, tried-and-true risotto recipe.
And why is it so dang easy? Two things:
- I made really good use of canned foods I had on hand in my pantry. Fact: a well-stocked pantry can help you get through the week with creative meals you can feel good about serving your family and friends! for this recipe, I used flavorful chicken stock from Swanson, organic chicken breast from Valley Fresh, and picked-at-peak-freshness asparagus from Green Giant.
- Cauliflower rice, hello! Cauliflower rice cuts down the time to make a rich and creamy risotto by like 500%. Since it doesn’t need constant stirring and watering with warm stock like a regular risotto, it’s way easier.
First, let’s talk about canned foods. I have people ask me all the time what I keep on hand, and the answer is pretty simple: a lot. Not only do canned foods help cut down prep time, meaning less time in the kitchen and more time with family friends (that’s important!), but kids and adults who use six or more canned foods per week are more likely to have diets higher in 17 essential nutrients, including potassium, calcium and fiber.
Oh, and hey, it’s #NationalCannedFoodMonth, so there’s no better time to get in on the action. I’d suggest taking a peek at CansGetYouCooking.com if you’re looking for more recipes and tips on using canned goods creatively. Use hashtag #CansGetYouCooking in any food photos you share!
Over the years, I’ve really identified my favorite canned foods and majorly stocked up on those. Examples are:
- top-notch chicken stock, like this from Swanson
- canned meat and seafood, like organic chicken breast, tuna, and wild-caught salmon
- organic tomatoes in almost every form
- legumes for those meatless meals
- coconut milk and cream
- veggies like mushrooms or asparagus.
Canned foods = more creative meals, less food waste
What this allows me to do is whip up a delish meal with zero notice. Whether I’m just not craving what’s on the meal plan, we’re coming in from some travel and haven’t been to the store yet, or just don’t feel like doing the shopping on a lazy Sunday, it makes feeding my fam easier and I know the quality is there.
Not only that but this year, we’re focusing heavily on reducing our own food waste, and canned foods help us reduce the amount of perishable fruits and vegetables we purchase and then throw away! We throw away way too many giant plastic tubs of greens with brownish liquid pooling on the bottom, you know what I mean? That makes canned foods a major player as part of our efforts to eat in a way that’s healthier for the planet, including reducing our food waste and integrating more meatless meals. Because of their long shelf life, you’re more likely to use only what you need, when you need it, and not only that, but cans are endlessly recyclable too!
Why this Whole30 cauliflower risotto is so good:
- It’s rich and creamy, inspired by my traditional risotto recipe, with gorgeous flavor from the saffron, cashew cream, and sautéd aromatics.
- This Whole30 cauliflower risotto is super quick and easy, thanks to quick-cooking cauliflower rice and smart canned goods usage.
- The recipe is dairy-free, Whole30-compliant, and paleo, making it suitable for just about anybody.
- It’s low carb and even keto friendly, with only 8 net carbs.
Keys to this Whole30 recipe:
- I use fresh cauliflower rice in this cauliflower risotto for one big reason: it absorbs liquid more than it produces. If you’ve ever made risotto, you know it’s all about enriching the rice with stock. And being able to do that to the cauliflower rice boosts the flavor and richness. Use fresh! You can find pre-riced fresh cauliflower in the produce section.
- The saffron steeped in warm stock is a major part of the recipe, so I don’t really consider it optional. It adds a major element of richness and flavor!
- This Whole30 cauliflower risotto base recipe is so versatile. Try incorporating just about anything into it! Like canned or sautéed mushrooms, sautéed shrimp, artichoke hearts, etc. Or swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth and leave out the chicken: voilà! Vegan cauliflower risotto.
- If you’re on a Whole30, make absolutely sure that your chicken broth is compliant. It’s a common food that sees a lot of tricky, non-compliant ingredients, like caramel color!
How to rice fresh cauliflower:
There are a few ways to make cauliflower rice out of fresh cauliflower.
- Affix your food processor with the grater blade. Put cauliflower florets through the food processor while on. This is the easiest and fastest method in my opinion, and it’s the one I use.
- Chop cauliflower florets with a sharp knife into small pearls.
- Grate fresh cauliflower florets with a grater. It’s easier to use large chunks of cauliflower here.
- Place equally-sized cauliflower florets in the bowl of your food processor fitted with the regular blade. Then pulse until the cauliflower is chopped into small pearls or “rice.”
How to make quick creamy Whole30 cauliflower risotto:
Warm your stock in a small saucepan. Place saffron threads in a small bowl, then ladle 1 tablespoon warm broth over. Set aside.
Heat ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and sauté, stirring constantly, about 30-60 seconds or until fragrant.
Add the fresh cauliflower to the skillet and sauté until it begins to soften. Add 1/4 cup warm stock to the skillet, then let the rice absorb the stock—stirring regularly. Add another small ladle of stock if the mixture looks a bit dry.
Meanwhile, make your creamy cashew sauce. Combine 1 cup warm stock with the raw cashews and nutritional yeast. Blend in a high-speed blender until completely smooth and creamy.
Pour the cashew sauce and saffron-stock mixture over the cauliflower rice and stir until combined. Next, stir in the drained chicken breast and gently fold in the drained asparagus.
Serve immediately, garnishing with fresh chopped parsley if desired.
Other recipes you’ll love:
- Cauliflower Fried Rice with Chicken
- Best Ever Paleo Italian Meatballs with Creamy Tomato Sauce (Whole30)
- Paleo Buffalo Chicken Casserole with Ranch and Cauliflower Rice
Quick Creamy Cauliflower Risotto with Chicken and Asparagus (Whole30, Paleo, Dairy Free)
- 1 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon Swanson Natural Goodness Chicken Broth
- pinch of saffron
- 2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil see Note 1
- 1/2 white or yellow onion chopped, about 1 cup
- 1-2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium head cauliflower grated or riced, about 5-6 cups
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
- 1-1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- A Squeeze of fresh lemon
- 2 cans Valley Fresh Organic Chicken Breast drained
- 1 cup Green Giant Cut Spears Asparagus drained from a 14.5-ounce can
- In a small saucepan, heat chicken broth over medium heat until hot. Do not let boil but keep the broth warm.
- Place a pinch of saffron threads in a small bowl; pour 1 tablespoon hot chicken broth over and set aside.
- Heat ghee or olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring regularly, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, about 30-60 seconds or until fragrant.
- Add cauliflower rice to skillet and cook until softening; ladle 1/4 cup of hot chicken broth over to prevent sticking or drying out. Continue cooking until cauliflower rice is cooked through and tender, adding another 1/4 cup of chicken broth if necessary.
- Meanwhile, combine 1 cup warm chicken broth with cashews and nutritional yeast in a blender. Blend until completely smooth. Pour out any remaining broth in a saucepan then transfer cashew-broth mixture to pan. Place over medium heat and sprinkle tapioca starch over. Whisk until combined, then continue cooking, whisking constantly until just thickened.
- When cauliflower is cooked, add cashew-broth mixture and saffron-broth mixture to cauliflower rice. Stir to coat and season with plenty of salt, to taste, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Stir in drained chicken breast pieces; stir until combined. Fold in asparagus pieces and serve. Garnish with chopped parsley if desired.
Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.