Roasted Cauliflower Risotto

This easy cauliflower risotto recipe features roasted cauliflower and hearty chickpeas. Packed with nutrients, it’s a filling weeknight meal! 

Roasted Cauliflower Risotto

Roasted cauliflower is divine, so why not add it to risotto? Turns out lightly charred roasted cauliflower is the perfect addition to this creamy traditional Italian rice dish. Alex and I are big fans of risotto, but always looking to add more nutrients and protein to it to make it a filling main dish. (No way am I making risotto and another main dish!) Adding roasted cauliflower and chickpeas to this dish works like a charm. Here’s how to make it!

Love roasted cauliflower? Try our Roasted Cauliflower Pasta!

Why make cauliflower risotto?

Roasting the cauliflower while the risotto cooks brings out its beautiful flavor. If you’ve never made a risotto and are daunted, never fear: it’s actually quite a simple technique. It takes about 30 minutes of active time at the stove, but it’s absolutely worth it. Shallots + butter + white wine = a bit of heaven!

The basic technique for making homemade risotto? Saute minced shallot in butter, add the rice, and cook it down with a bit of white wine. Then add the warm broth a scoop at a time until the rice soaks up all of the brothy-goodness and becomes creamy and smooth. Add to this the roasted cauliflower, spinach, a bit of chickpeas and some Parmesan cheese, and you’ve got a meal bursting with flavor.

PS It’s worth opening a bottle of wine for this one. Don’t worry, the alcohol cooks down so all that is left is a beautiful flavor, so it’s kid-approved too!

purple cauliflower

Tips on how to make cauliflower risotto

Making risotto is incredibly easy, but it does require a lot of active cooking time. A few key things to keep in mind are:

  • Prep all the ingredients first—before you start sautéing or simmering anything, do yourself a favor and prep all of the ingredients ahead of time. Risotto requires constant attention, so once it begins cooking you won’t be able to step away from the stove to measure anything.
  • Warm the broth—in this roasted cauliflower risotto recipe, you’ll warm the broth in a separate pan while you’re prepping the other ingredients. Adding warm broth to the risotto rice helps everything cook better and ensures that you’ll end up with a perfectly creamy risotto every time.
  • Soften the shallot first—you’ll need to sauté the shallot in a good amount of butter for a few minutes until it’s softened. Although you’ll be adding broth to the risotto, the shallot won’t soften properly if you don’t sauté it first.
  • Don’t overcook the risotto—you can tell when the risotto is done when it’s gone nice and creamy and is softened. The risotto should have a slight bite to it and shouldn’t be completely mushy!

How to serve it

Looking for how to serve this roasted cauliflower risotto to make it a meal? Here are a few ideas:

This cauliflower risotto recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten free.

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Roasted Cauliflower Risotto

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (12 votes, average: 4.17 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This easy cauliflower risotto recipe features roasted cauliflower and hearty chickpeas. It’s packed with nutrients and is a filling weeknight meal.


  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 4 cups spinach leaves
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • Fresh ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Place 6 to 8 cups broth in a medium sauce pan and heat to a simmer; reduce heat and keep warm.
  3. Cut the cauliflower into florets (cut off the bottom, then cut the head in half and remove the florets). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, place the cauliflower in the pan and drizzle on 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Mix to thoroughly coat. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, until tender and browned, stirring once.
  4. Meanwhile, mince 1 shallot. Then, in a large heavy-bottomed skillet, pot, or Dutch oven, heat 2 1/2 tablespoons butter over medium high heat. Add the shallot and ½ teaspoon kosher salt, reduce heat to medium, and cook until translucent, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups rice and stir to combine, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add 3/4 cup white wine. Cook, stirring, until liquid is almost evaporated, a few minutes.
  5. Add 1/2 cup warmed broth to skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until the broth is almost absorbed. Repeat, gradually adding broth 1/2 cup at a time and stirring , until rice is tender but still al dente and sauce is creamy (you may not need all the broth). The process should take about 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. Stir in the roasted cauliflower, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 4 cups spinach leaves, and 1 cup cooked chickpeas. Continue to stir until the spinach is wilted (or turn off the heat and cover the dish for a few minutes). Remove from heat and season to taste with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Serve immediately, garnished with additional Parmesan cheese.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: cauliflower risotto, homemade risotto, vegetarian risotto

Looking for more easy Italian recipes?

Last updated: January 2020

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    October 28, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    I see the chickpeas in the ingredients list, but not mentioned in the instructions. Can you let me know how they get added? Thanks

    • Reply
      October 28, 2012 at 10:57 pm

      Good eye – recipe updated! (Easy to do when you amend your recipe the second time around :) ) Great catch – thank you!!

  • Reply
    October 28, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Oh, that is one gorgeous head of cauliflower! I make risotto quite often, but have never tried it with cauliflower – this will have to be next on the list. I love the idea of roasting it first – it makes cauliflower so wonderfully nutty and sweet.

  • Reply
    Sylvie (A Pot of Tea)
    October 29, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Thanks for another great sounding recipe. Such an inspiration!

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    October 29, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    You said it! Butter and shallots and wine are heavenly together. Love this take on risotto!

  • Reply
    October 29, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Love it! This sounds wonderful. Can’t wait to try it. Beautiful photo, as always.

  • Reply
    Cookie and Kate
    October 29, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Roasted cauliflower is the only cauliflower I really enjoy. This risotto looks fabulous!

  • Reply
    Courtney Jones
    October 30, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Love the idea of roasting cauliflower to add into a creamy risotto. The chickpeas are a nice touch too! Beautiful photo. Love the purple cauliflower! :)

  • Reply
    Katie (The Muffin Myth)
    October 30, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    I love roasted cauliflower! I just make a fantastic roasted cauliflower pasta dish the other day, and I can see how the sweet caramel flavour would go well with a risotto. I also love that you’ve added chickpeas into the risotto, making it a complete protein. Such a great recipe! Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Reply
    October 30, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Matt made this tonight and it was just as wonderful with regular rice. Delicious and we have leftovers!!

    • Reply
      November 18, 2012 at 9:08 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it! :)

  • Reply
    October 31, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Mmmmm, this sounds really good and I actually don’t love cauliflower! So I’m going to give it a chance. Who had the gorgeous purple cauliflower at the market? I must have missed it, though I’m not sure how!

    • Reply
      October 31, 2012 at 10:47 pm

      The Amish growers towards the north end of the market had purple cauliflower for the past couple weeks – but I think they went fast :) Let us know if you try out the recipe!

  • Reply
    Heidi @ Food Doodles
    November 2, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    This looks wonderful. I love risotto but I haven’t experimented with it too much. Can’t wait to try something similar to this!

  • Reply
    November 5, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Hi! The risotto looks delicious! I’m wondering, did the purple cauliflower affect the colour of the final dish at all?

    • Reply
      November 5, 2012 at 8:32 pm

      Hi! Yes, the dish looked a bit different with purple cauliflower! We boiled the cauliflower in that version, which ended up with a lighter purple for our dish. I’ve seen some photos of roasted purple cauliflower that make it look much darker. So it would definitely have a different (and much more colorful) look!

  • Reply
    November 7, 2012 at 2:23 am

    I cooked this for dinner last night and it was lovely. it was the first time i cooked risotto so i was so glad it turned out nicely. thanks for the recipe :)

    • Reply
      November 11, 2012 at 4:45 pm

      Oh, I’m so glad to hear that this worked out for you, and on the first try nonetheless! So happy to hear you enjoyed it :)

  • Reply
    Megan | EatsDaily
    November 14, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Great recipe! I just made it tonight and it was a big hit. I did leave out the chickpeas because I’m not a fan ;)
    You can read about it on my site if you’d like! Thanks again!

  • Reply
    November 21, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    I made this tonight and loved it! It was my first time making risotto, and your directions were great and easy to follow. Thanks for sharing it!

  • Reply
    December 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Just curious – why no garlic? Seems like garlic would be a great addition!

    • Reply
      December 25, 2012 at 10:19 am

      Yes, garlic is a great addition in any dish! We actually found the taste to be quite delicious without it in this risotto; the wine, shallots, and butter were just enough. You’re welcome to add it and I’m sure you’d have great results!

  • Reply
    Tim Winn
    January 1, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    This is one of my favorite recipes (I’m sure I say that about all of the recipes). This dish takes a little time but is well worth the wait. I don’t know that I have ever liked cauliflower as much as I do in this dish.

    • Reply
      January 1, 2013 at 7:22 pm

      Haha, thanks! You are so fun — I love your enthusiasm for cooking! This is one of our favorites too :) Let us know what else you try!

  • Reply
    January 22, 2013 at 11:27 am

    This sounds absolutely delicious! What, if anything, do you typically serve to accompany risotto? Perhaps a light green salad? I plan to prepare this dish for a small dinner party and would like to add a side or starter. Many thanks!

    • Reply
      January 22, 2013 at 12:43 pm

      Yes, a green salad and some crusty bread would be an excellent accompaniment to make this a meal! I suppose you could also start with an appetizer like a creamy soup, bruschetta or fancy plated salad, and then move to the risotto course. I’d probably go for the simple salad and bread myself :)

    • Reply
      February 3, 2013 at 7:40 pm

      We mad a simple baked chicken to go with this risotto.You can coat chicken breast with breadcrumbs and some parmesan cheese and bake in the oven (time varies depending on thickness of chicken breasts). We roasted the cauliflower first and set it aside, then put the chicken in the oven about halfway through the risotto. The timing worked out great.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    We made this tonight and it is delicious! It was great to find a recipe for risotto with veggies incorporated. We included 4 cups of spinach and omitted the garbanzo beans. I highly recommend using 4 cups (or maybe 6) of spinach; since it cooks down so much it is not overwhelming at all. Also taste before you add more salt at the end. Our veggie broth was not reduced sodium and between that and the Parmesan cheese, it did not need any extra salt.

    • Reply
      February 7, 2013 at 8:59 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it! We’re always for more spinach too :)

  • Reply
    August 30, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    We made this for dinner tonight, and it was AWESOME! We used sherry instead of white wine (that’s what was on hand). Seriously delicious. Will definitely be making again.

  • Reply
    January 23, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    I made this tonight for dinner. I had an orange cauliflower, and I must say this was one of the prettiest risottos I have ever made. It was delicious too. I think next time (and maybe with the leftovers) I will add a little lemon juice. Thanks for a great recipe!

    • Reply
      January 31, 2016 at 8:58 pm

      That sounds gorgeous! Next time we’re definitely using colorful cauliflower. And good idea with the lemon juice. Thank you for letting us know!

  • Reply
    February 5, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    This worked a treat for us- we followed the instructions, and enjoyed it immensely. Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2016 at 5:47 am

    Wow what a amazing recipes…

  • Reply
    July 17, 2020 at 11:34 am

    Hi, I’ve never made this recipe before, but it sounds good! Do I need to rehydrate my dried rice first, or does it do that in the process of cooking?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      July 20, 2020 at 2:29 pm

      Hi! The rice cooks as part of the recipe.

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