I’ve been reading Michael Pollan’s books lately and one of his main messages is to integrate more plant based foods into our diet. Although a little bit of everything shouldn’t harm us, I do feel better and more energized when I eat salads, fruits, etc. I was thinking about risotto and recalled a memory from the 1990’s. I got creamy “mashed potatoes” on the side…but the waiter told me it was actually mashed cauliflower. I was never into cauliflower in the past, but it was seasoned so well and very tasty!
I was in the mood for risotto and remembered my past memory. Of course, this is not a novel concept and there are recipes throughout google, but I began to think of two ingredients that were “old school” and making a comeback in our cuisine: cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. I thought, why not make a colorful dish out of both of them?
First, I went through a simplified amount of steps to make the golden, cauliflower risotto…adding all of the flavorful, stretchy cheese, salt and pepper and tasting in between for quality control. Then…I took the outside leaves of some Brussels sprouts to retain that emerald green color, and gently fried them in some olive oil, salt and pepper, then added them in the food processor with salt, pepper, olive oil, almonds and lemon juice. I slid the remainder of the Brussels sprouts across the mandolin along with a 1/4 of a red onion and let it sit in some apple cider vinegar and maple syrup. It turns into this simple, savory, sweet salad that balances perfectly with the richness of the risotto. The almonds also add a kick of protein in this dish as well. It’s healthy, yet indulgent and was the perfect lunch for me on this lovely, sunny weekend!
Cauliflower Risotto w/Brussels Sprouts Two Ways
1 head of cauliflower broken into florets
1 shallot (chopped)
1 garlic clove (chopped)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup organic chicken broth
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
1/4 cup mozzarella (chopped)
1/4 cup pecorino cheese (chopped)
zest of one lemon
salt & pepper to taste
Brussels Sprouts Simple Salad
15 Brussels Sprouts
3 tbsp olive oil (more if needed)
1/4 large red onion
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp real maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste
Brussels Sprouts & Almond Sauce
15 Brussels sprouts (greenest outside leaves only)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp almonds
juice of 1/2 lemon
In a food processor, in batches, process each of the florets until it is a rice consistency, and place aside.
Place olive oil in a hot pan (medium to high heat) and the chopped shallots and a chopped garlic clove. Once they start to turn brown, add in the cauliflower mixture and mix it until it is golden brown. Add the chicken broth, mix thoroughly, then add the cheeses. Salt and pepper to taste, then set aside.
Peel the greenest, outside leaves of the Brussels sprouts and place them in a hot pan with olive oil. Add a little salt and pepper and cook while they are still dark green. Add them into the food processor with the almonds, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
In a bowl, use the mandolin to slice the Brussels sprouts thinly and also the red onion. Place the maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste in the bowl and mix it together. Leave it for 10-15 minutes.
Plate the cauliflower risotto, place a spoonful of the pesto on the side and cover the top of the risotto with the Brussels sprouts salad! Enjoy!!!