Truffled Risotto with Mushrooms, Peas and Spinach (Paleo, Vegan)

When friends first started telling me I should start a blog, it had nothing to do with yoga and everything to do with wanting to steal my recipes.  I’m a wannabe vegan who can’t say no to cupcakes regardless of how they’re baked, or the occasional egg-laden brunch, and am definitely not paleo. How can anyone follow a meal plan that excludes peanut butter? Not this girl.

This recipe uses riced cauliflower in place of rice and cashews for creaminess.  I had seen a post by one of my favourite local vegan-ish bloggers Laura from The First Mess using riced cauliflower and was dying to try it.  I don’t think carbs are the enemy, but if you can replace essentially nutrient-devoid white rice with a vegetable….why not?

First order of business is to turn the cauliflower into “rice”!  You can do this by hand, either finely chopping or with a grater but a food processor makes it quick and effortless. Cut the florets away from the stems, and pulse a few times until your pieces are about the size of a grain of rice.  I found it best to do this in a few small batches to keep from pureeing too much.Image

Veggies

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Fresh peas! I had such a hard time not eating all of these straight out of the pod!

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Writing out recipes is really challenging for me, because my method of cooking is pretty “throw in some of this, equal amount that, a bit of this and cook til it looks right” so bear with me!

Truffled Risotto with Mushrooms, Peas and Spinach

1 large head cauliflower, riced

about 4 cups mixed mushrooms (this batch used white and cremini but oysters are awesome in here too), half chopped, the remaining half sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1 cup vegetable stock

1/2 cup white cooking wine

1/4-1/2 cup nutritional yeast, to taste

1 cup fresh peas (frozen would work too)

2 cups baby spinach

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup cashew cream (see below)

truffle oil for finishing

Add your riced cauliflower to a medium sized pot along with the vegetable stock and wine.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer to cook your cauliflower.  If it looks like it is drying out, add a bit more water as needed.

While the “rice” is cooking, sauté garlic, onions and chopped mushrooms (reserving the larger sliced ones) in a bit of oil or water until garlic and onions are translucent and mushrooms have released their liquid.  Add this mixture to the “rice” mixture and continue simmering.

Saute larger sliced mushrooms in a bit more oil until they have released their liquid.  Most of the liquid should have boiled off your “rice” mixture by now.  You don’t want it to be dry by any means, but there shouldn’t be a puddle of water in the bottom of the pot.  If there is, continue simmering until it evaporates off a bit more.

Add the mushroom slices to the “rice” along with peas, spinach and nutritional yeast.  Cook a few minutes, until spinach has wilted.  Stir in cashew cream and season generously with salt and pepper.

Remove from heat, and allow to thicken for about 10 minutes.  If it looks too dry, you can add a splash of unflavoured, unsweetened almond (or other non-dairy) milk to moisten.

Spoon into dishes and drizzle with truffle oil to taste.

Makes 3-4 servings, depending on how much you eat straight out of the pot during various stages of cooking (This is the best part of vegan food – taste testing every step of the way).

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This is one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day.  Even cold, straight out of the fridge.  Doubling the recipe is recommended!

On cashew cream:

Cashews are amazing.  They are hands down the best way to get a creamy, velvety texture in vegan cooking.

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First, soak RAW cashews for a couple hours, or overnight.  Once soaked, you can drain them and keep them in the fridge for a few days if you’re not ready to use them.  Alternately, if you want to make this RIGHT NOW and don’t want to wait, you can boil cashews for about 15 minutes to get the same results.  I use my Vitamix to get the best texture, but before I had it, I got okay results from extended time in a food processor.  Blend cashews with a bit of water until you get a sour cream-like consistency.  Add water slowly so you don’t end up with a cashew milk instead.  I find a ratio of about 1 cup cashews to a scant 1/2 cup water works nicely.

You can make cashew sour cream by adding 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, a dash of salt, and the juice of one lemon to one cup of cashews and 1/2 cup water.  The cream will thicken a bit in the fridge.

This should keep for up to 10 days in the fridge.

Enjoy!

 

 

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