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Mushroom and Bacon "Risotto" - But Not Really

Saturday, May 25, 2013

In the spirit of making recipes my own ( wp.me/p1N36Q-8s ), I found another great one to try on Mark’s Daily Apple for Mushroom and Bacon “Risotto”:


I love turning vegetables into a pasta or grain-like format: spaghetti squash with tomato sauce and chicken sausage is one of my favorite go-to easy meals for dinner, and I hear zucchini can be spiral sliced to make an excellent pasta substitute as well. So transforming cauliflower into rice sounded like a lot of fun! (Little did I know…)

And, of course, anything combined with bacon sounds good to me (although technically bacon is a “Never” food on the Wheat Belly plan - www.wheatbellyblog.com/2

I loathe mushrooms, however. So I just left them out.


2 heads of cauliflower, cut into small chunks (bottom stem and leaves trimmed off)
4 to 6 pieces of bacon, cut into small pieces
1 small yellow onion or large shallot, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed
3/4 pound mushrooms, sliced thinly (Yuck! I left these out.)
1/2 cup chicken stock (Substituted vegetable stock – it’s what I had on hand)
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, butter, finely chopped fresh herbs (optional toppings)

1. In small batches, put the cauliflower chunks into a food processor. Process until the cauliflower has the consistency of rice. Set aside.

Sounds easy enough right? Well, it turns out cauliflower is one of the most annoying vegetables to work with. Cutting it leaves your kitchen counters looking like it snowed cauliflower inside your house. And processing it into “rice” – if, like me, you don’t own a real food processor – is a pain in the rear. I actually started using a Cuisinart Blender stick and accompanying Chopper/Grinder attachment, and quickly realized I could only process about two Cauliflower florets at a time. So I switched over to my Magic Bullet, and that couldn’t do the job either. I thought maybe if I just used the blender stick and put my cauliflower in a bowl, that might be faster, but it sent Cauliflower bits in all directions. So I ended up going back to using the stick with the Chopper/Grinder attachment and patiently (or not so patiently) chopping up two freakin florets at a time. I was invested in the process.

One hour later, I had three heaping bowls of cauliflower rice. And a huge clean-up project on my hands.

2. Cook the bacon in a wide pot or skillet over medium-high heat. After a few minutes add the onion/shallot, celery and garlic. If the bacon hasn’t released enough fat, add a little bit of olive oil or butter to the pot.

3. Sauté for 3 minutes then add the mushrooms (if you like them!). Sauté for 5 minutes more. Again, if the pot seems dry, add more olive oil or butter. Season the mushrooms lightly with salt and pepper.

4. Add 8 cups of cauliflower rice. If you have slightly less than 8 cups, don’t worry about it. If you have more, reserve the extra for another meal. (Is he kidding? Do you SEE how much “rice” is in my photo above? I was certain it was way more than 8 cups, but I used it all anyway. I wasn’t going through this ordeal again.)

5. Add the stock. Put a lid on the pot and cook the cauliflower for 5 to 7 minutes until tender but not completely mushy. (Alright, so at this point I had ALOT of “rice” in the pot, which made it really difficult to mix with all of the other yummy stuff at the bottom, including the stock. I did my best, but I would recommend – if you are going to take this challenge on – gradually adding the rice, then some stock, then mix with the bacon/onion/etc, then add some more rice, then a little more stock, etc.)

6. Before serving, flavor the risotto with generous amounts of one or more of the following: grated cheese, butter, fresh herbs (I went with butter). Serves 4.

Nutrition Info (Made my way, because I will never actually make this with mushrooms)

- Calories: 174
- Carbs: 19g
- Fat: 7g
- Protein: 13g

Preparing this meal ended up taking an hour longer than I thought it would, so I was ravenous by the time it was ready. No time to make it pretty.

This was good, and was certainly filling but NOT worth the effort. Perhaps with a real food processor you might have a better time of it. Thankfully I have enough to eat this every day for the next five years.

Oh, by the way – set a new record on binge free days today
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