Even though we’re still grilling up a storm in my household, I am starting to crave some of those familiar fall flavors that often come with some heavy ingredients. I’m always looking to maximize the amount of food I get to eat in a day, which means, for the most part, sticking to pretty clean options. Flexible eating allows a person to indulge here and there in foods that are not necessarily “healthy” without the guilt of their entire diet being thrown off. As long as you stay within your allotted macros, then all is good. BUT, the kicker with these types of foods is that a small portion can potentially use up so many macros. So the question then becomes, are all of those macros and calories worth four bites of food? To me, it usually isn’t. And that’s why I’m always looking to create satisfying substitutions for some of my favorite non-macro friendly foods!
The other night at my husband’s and my anniversary dinner, there was a braised brisket and risotto dish that sounded so good. I wasn’t necessarily staying strict to my macro numbers that night because it was a special occasion and I am in a place with my fitness and health that I don’t feel guilty falling off my routine here and there anymore because I know I can easily get back on track with my flexible eating program without any real setbacks. Regardless, as much as I LOVE risotto (I’m Italian, those cravings don’t ever go away), I’m not used to eating such rich foods and figured I might feel overly full and not have room for the dessert I really wanted 🙂 So I opted for a perfectly cooked bone-in half chicken with broccolini and crispy polenta. It was the perfect balance of indulgence for me. The chicken was to die for. The broccolini sautéed so nicely. And, there was just enough crispy polenta to let me feel like I indulged in something “unhealthy” without going overboard.
BUT, the last few days I’ve been thinking about risotto. It’s a comfort food. It’s a food that goes perfectly with the changing weather. Risotto can be a pretty complicated dish, but I figured I could just take some of the basic ingredients and make risotto out of my cauliflower rice. Now that I’ve done this, I realize there are so many different flavors that can be added to this dish. The basic version is so simple, so good and so low calorie. I am going to give you the steps and ingredients of how to make a simple plain cauliflower risotto and you can decide which complimentary veggies to add and take it in any direction you like!
For those on a flexible eating program, the calories and macros for one serving (107g cooked) are:
47 Calories – 6C / 1F / 4P
Basic Cauliflower Risotto
One Package Frozen Riced Cauliflower OR One Head of Cauliflower Riced
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
20 g (2 Tbsp + 2 tsp) Grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt & Pepper
Optional Add-Ins (Pictured): Sautéed Crimini Mushrooms and Chopped Asparagus
Prepare cauliflower as needed (open package or rice a fresh head of cauliflower in a food processor).
Liberally coat a large sauté pan with non-stick Olive Oil Spray. Place riced cauliflower in the pan and sauté on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes. Stir the rice every 45 seconds to a minute so that it does not burn. After cauliflower begins to soften, season with garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.
Continue to stir the cauliflower rice for an additional 7-8 minutes or until it is almost completely cooked through. You do not want your rice to be too mushy so avoid overcooking.
Reduce the heat to low and add 1/2 cup of chicken broth to the rice and stir. The cauliflower rice should absorb the majority of the broth. If you feel that more broth is needed, add an additional tablespoon at a time. Rice should be moist but not sitting in excess liquid. Add the grated parmesan cheese and continue to stir risotto for an additional 2 minutes to allow the cheese to combine thoroughly. Season with a bit more salt and pepper to finish.
Remove from heat and add any sautéed vegetables or eat as is!