I had this beautiful head of cauliflower to use up and wanted to change it up from the usual seasoned roasting side dish. Although my kids will gobble it down when I use my Seasoned Roasted Cauliflower recipe, I was looking to make a main dish. I had saved Creamy Cauliflower Sauce – Pinch of Yum a long time ago and figured I would give it a try. I used her inspiration to create my variation and make my dish into a vegetable risotto like dish.
I couldn’t believe how creamy the cauliflower got when blending, and in my recipe I did not add milk or cream. When I got to the point of adding milk, I realized it was completely unnecessary because the cauliflower was amazing on its own. My mother has always made cauliflower cheese soup and used an immersion blender but not to the point of completely smooth texture. If I didn’t already say it, amazing idea and way to incorporate vegetables so no one knows.
After making my sauce I had to decide what to do with it. I had brown rice in the cupboard, lots of vegetables in the fridge, and a bit of frozen chopped prosciutto in freezer. I figured this would create something wonderful and it did. We ate this two nights in a row and plan on making regularly. Both kids had seconds of this vegetable loaded dinner.
Easily remove the prosciutto and make it vegetarian. The sauce made about double what I needed for the rice but I used the rest later in another dinner. I imagine that you could use all the sauce or it would probably freeze fine for a quick dinner in the future.
Cheesy Prosciutto and Vegetables Rice with Cauliflower Cream Sauce:
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets or about 2″ pieces
- 2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 tsp salt, or to taste (I required more)
- 1/2 tsp pepper, or to taste
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 6 cloves of roasted garlic, I keep mine frozen but raw could be steamed with the cauliflower
- 1 cup brown rice
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup carrots, chopped (I used rainbow carrots)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 3-4 cloves crushed garlic
- 1/4-1/2 cup prosciutto, finely diced
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 1/4 cup sweet peppers (yellow,red or orange), finely diced
- 2 Tbs fresh parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese blend, grated
- 2 green onions, chopped (optional)
Place the rice and water in a pot with salt and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover to cook for 45-50 minutes. About 20 minutes into cooking I tossed in my frozen peas and carrots, to the rice gave it a stir and allowed it to finish cooking. If using white rice use the recommended amount of water for 1 cup rice, and put the vegetable in when you turn down to simmer because white rice cooks faster.
While the rice is on, place cut up cauliflower in a pot with a steamer basket with about 2 cups of stock. If you do not have roasted garlic, simple peel 4-6 garlic cloves and pop them in the pot to steam with the cauliflower. Cover the pot and steam the cauliflower until tender.
No diary added
Remove the cauliflower, reserving the liquid separately and place cauliflower in a blender or food processor. A blender is going to get your sauce smoother, but make do with what you have.
Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and roasted garlic to cauliflower with about 1/2 cup of liquid and begin to blend. Add liquid as needed and to the desired consistency. Taste and add any additional salt or pepper.
Once your sauce is done and the rice it cooked, it is time to put it all together.
In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat place olive oil and additional 3-4 cloves of crushed garlic. Toss in onion and sweet peppers, cook until onions become tender.
Dump in the pot of rice and vegetables mixing until all is combined and then add the desired amount of cauliflower sauce. I used about half my sauce mixture. Stir until all is hot and well mixed together.
Mix in cheeses and green onions if desired.
*Any vegetable would work in this recipe. Mushrooms and zucchini would taste great, added at the point the onions are added. Mix it up and add what vegetables your family will eat.