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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


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

Description

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


Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 ½ 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

Instructions

  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 ½ 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 ½ cups rice and stir to combine, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add ¾ cup white wine. Cook, stirring, until liquid is almost evaporated, a few minutes.
  5. Add ½ cup warmed broth to skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until the broth is almost absorbed. Repeat, gradually adding broth ½ 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, ¾ 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

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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38 Comments

  1. Really want to make this for someone who doesn’t eat cheese (not a dairy issue they just don’t like cheese). Would it be possible to substitute heavy cream for the parmesan?

    1. Yes! But just a few tablespoons until creamy. I’d also consider a little lemon zest at the end for some zing.

  2. 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?

  3. 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!

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

    1. 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 :)

    2. 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.

  7. 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.

    1. 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!

    1. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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 :)

    1. 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 :)

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

    1. 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!

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

  13. 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!

    1. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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! :)

  16. 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.

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

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

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