I’m back! Did you miss me?! I doubt anyone actually noticed I was away, it was only 2 days off blogging after all, but having got into the habit of posting every day it felt strange not to publish a post for a couple of days…
Most vegans, myself included, go vegetarian for a time before moving to vegan, and in that period, whenever I ate out, the typical restaurant menu offering was risotto (usually “wild mushroom” ! ).
This unfortunately wasn’t to my liking, not just because I would have liked to see a bit more creativity, but what came out of the kitchen was always a plate full of stodge. Pretty much just rice, lots of cream and butter and maybe the odd piece of vegetable if you were lucky. Too rich for my tastes and not heavy enough on the veg!
Maybe I shouldn’t complain, at least there was something vegetarian available, not usually the case with vegan meals….
I’m not against rice in any way and have made pleasant enough vegan risottos at home using it in the past, but wanted to try something a little different this time.
If you’ve been reading a while you may remember my Cauliflower Fried Rice with Grilled Asian Tofu. A dish I really enjoyed, so along the same lines, I decided on cauliflower as the rice component in my risotto!
I used a white bean purée to give the dish some creaminess and studded it with rich sun-dried tomatoes and sautéed leeks for a good punch of flavour.
I loved that this dish was substantial but not heavy and think it would be a great base for all sorts of flavour combinations. A Spanish paella with tomatoes, brightly coloured peppers and olives would be scrummy I’m sure, or how about adding chunks of sweet potato and spinach? You could also add some nutritional yeast for cheesiness.
Oh, and there’s none of that standing over the stove and stirring endlessly that traditional risotto involves here.
Leek, Sundried Tomato & White Bean “Risotto”:
(Adapted from Fork and Beans)
1/2 Medium head of cauliflower (to yield approx 3C when chopped fine)
1/2T Olive oil + 1t (divided)
1/2 Onion, thinly sliced
2 Cloves of garlic, minced
3/4t Dried thyme or 1 sprig fresh thyme
1 1/2C/1 Can Cooked white beans
1C Vegetable broth
1 Large leek, trimmed and sliced into half-moons
1/3C Chopped sun-dried tomatoes (soft or rehydrated)
2T Pine nuts, toasted
Salt + Pepper
Squeeze of lemon (optional)
Place the cauliflower florets in a food processor and pulse until you get a coarse “rice” like texture. Be careful not to overprocess as you want some texture.
Heat 1/2T olive oil in a medium-size pan and sauté onion for a few minutes until soft. Add garlic and thyme and continue to cook for a minute, stirring. Add half the white beans and the vegetable broth. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Blend this mixture using an immersion blender until a smooth purée.
Meanwhile, in another pan, sauté leeks for 10 minutes in remaining oil with a pinch of salt, for 10 minutes, or until soft.
Add the leeks, sun-dried tomatoes, remaining white beans and cauliflower rice to the white bean purée, season well with salt and pepper and stir. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes until everything is warmed through. Add a squeeze of lemon if you like.
Divide between 2 bowls, top with a few grinds of black pepper and toasted pine nuts.
What’s your experience of the typical veg meal on the menu?
Are you a risotto fan?