Marks Daily Apple
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4 May

Mushroom and Bacon “Risotto”

RisottoThe rich flavors of bacon and mushrooms dominate this dish, turning riced cauliflower into a super-flavorful side. Cauliflower risotto is fantastic served with a main course of roasted chicken, salmon, or thick, juicy pork chops.

The recipe below is great without any additional ingredients, but if you’re really craving comfort food then fatten the risotto up a bit. Generous amounts of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or butter (or both) will do the trick. A garnish of fresh herbs like basil, parsley and chives add color and flavor.

Like traditional risotto, this dish shouldn’t be overcooked. Stop when the cauliflower is al dente. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a bowl of mush. Still flavorful, mind you, but lacking the crisp-tender texture that makes cauliflower risotto really good.

Servings: 4

Time in the Kitchen: 35 minutes


  • 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, finely chopped or thinly sliced
  • 3/4 pound mushrooms, sliced thinly (340 g)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (120 ml)
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, butter, finely chopped fresh herbs (optional toppings)


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

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.

Sauté for 3 minutes then add the mushrooms. 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.

Saute Mushrooms

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.

Cauliflower Rice

Add the chicken stock. Put a lid on the pot and cook the cauliflower for 5 to 7 minutes until tender but not completely mushy.


Before serving, flavor the risotto with generous amounts of one or more of the following: grated cheese, butter, fresh herbs.


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You want comments? We got comments:

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  1. How does cauliflower “rice” freeze. Does it go mushy or hold some decent consistency?

    minerva wrote on May 4th, 2013
    • I’ve frozen a cauliflower dish with the florets whole and when thawed they broke up pretty easily and got pretty mushy, but it was still a great side. I would think the cauliflower “rice” would get pretty mushy too. By the sounds of the ingredients though, it would still be delicious even if the texture was a bit off!

      Angela wrote on May 4th, 2013
    • Take raw cauliflower and grate it on a box grater. Thats how I do it. YUM this looks awesome!

      Brittney wrote on May 4th, 2013
    • I love cauliflower rice but hate how messy making it is in my tiny kitchen. I recently came across this post,, and gave freezing cauliflower a try. I made one big mess and enough cauliflower rice for 12 dinners. I’ve been pulling out bags for about a month and a half and so far so good! It is light and fluffy after cooking.

      Stef wrote on May 7th, 2013
  2. Sounds good. I never substitute cauliflower “rice” for rice with Asian food, but since risotto isn’t a traditional comfort food for me, I might give it a try.

    Harry Mossman wrote on May 4th, 2013
  3. This looks great! I often make Nom Nom Paleo’s Asian Cauliflower Rice – it’s my favorite paleo comfort food – and this looks to be excellent also. I’m sure my CW friends would like this as well.

    Siobhan wrote on May 4th, 2013
  4. Just finished making this. It’s great! One recommendation – add a boat load of fresh thyme to the celery, shallot, mushroom, garlic mixture while it’s cooking. The dish needs some depth. I also added a little coconut milk (canned) for some creaminess.

    Susab wrote on May 4th, 2013
  5. This another vegetarian dish. More meat please!

    tt wrote on May 4th, 2013
    • Ummm…. bacon? Ok, I get it, it’s not a “main meat” dish. But it looks like it would be good if you threw in some chicken or pork.

      Allison wrote on May 4th, 2013
  6. This may help you mushy problem. I have a recipe for pizza made with cauliflower riced. The trick is to steam your flowerets 24 hours ahead of preparing. By sitting over night in cheese cloth inside a bowl (glass or plastic) I put this in Tuperware and refrigerate. When ready to use rice in a potato ricer or do small amounts in a food processer. It comes out great and can be stored in refrigerator for longer than a week.

    Linda E. wrote on May 4th, 2013
  7. I’ve made this cauliflower rice a couple times and it’s fantastic. But I’d eat anything with bacon in it. Maybe even yogurt.

    Nocona wrote on May 4th, 2013
  8. Hi Mark,

    I’m just new to your website but one of my favorite parts are the recipes! The Risotto looks delic, can’t wait to try it.

    Jono wrote on May 4th, 2013
  9. Seriously contemplating this for dinner. :)

    Helen wrote on May 4th, 2013
  10. Early in the post this dish was suggested as a side to a roasted chicken, salmon or juicy pork chops. I like recipes like this to go along with whatever meats you can find on sale or happen to have in the freezer. It’s a great way to budget meals.

    KC wrote on May 4th, 2013
  11. Lol! I just made “quinotto” the other day actually –
    Great cave minds think alike! Will definitely try it with cauli too!

    Jax Labyrinth wrote on May 5th, 2013
    • Haha, great! Caulisotto, quinotto,…I still like the risotto once on a while, but these are all tempting options!

      Anne wrote on May 6th, 2013
  12. Wow, wonderful! I will definitely try this “caulisotto”, it smells great!

    Anne wrote on May 6th, 2013
  13. Can vouch for this…just made it not 30 minutes ago. Wouldn’t necessarily call it risotto(obviously) but delicious in its own right. Had it with some salmon. Fantastic suggestion

    DocOne wrote on May 7th, 2013
  14. Fabulous dish! I have it made it twice now.

    Peter wrote on May 10th, 2013
  15. Can I use a blender instead of a food processor or will it not chop as evenly?

    Sarah wrote on May 11th, 2013
  16. does everyone process the cauliflower raw?? I tried doing this with my Magic Bullet and it just barely worked. Lots of florets were left and some wouldn’t process no matter what I tried. Granted it’s not the best blender but it should still work better than that.
    I did try roasting it first and that helped. what am i doing wrong?

    allison wrote on May 13th, 2013
    • I usually grate mine on the coarser side of a cheese grater raw and then fry it from there.

      Jax Labyrinth wrote on May 16th, 2013
  17. Added some fish oil, lime juice, cilantro, shrimp, a fried egg, and some sriracha to this recipe. Bam!

    Adam wrote on May 15th, 2013
  18. This was AWESOME! I used a box grater ’cause the food processor was pissing me off. Delicious and errrrr… *a great source of fiber.* ha

    Ceeb wrote on May 21st, 2013
  19. I just made this for lunch. I reduced the recipe to just make it for 1. I used a bag of Trader Joes caulifower florets, and an 8oz container of mushrooms and 2 slices of bacon. I devoured the entire thing!

    JMmommy wrote on May 24th, 2013
  20. It’s funny to hear others talk about the trials and tribulations of trying to make cauliflower into rice – totally made a mess of my kitchen too! (photos here – I should have read these comments before trying it myself. Delicious, but there’s got to be an easier way.

    Nicole wrote on May 26th, 2013
    • Best way to rice cauliflower: cut into mid-size chunks, place in normal size blender, cover with water, pulse a few times. Strain out water using fine mesh strainer (like you’d sift flour through), pour into mason jar (keep in fridge for up to a few days) for storing or use as desired.

      Veronika wrote on July 7th, 2013
  21. YUM! I made this the other night and it was delicious, my mum and I had it as our main meal and we both were skeptical initially from looking at the ingredient list, but we both ended up loving it. As I didn’t have any chicken stock I had to just use water instead but will continue to do it this way in future as I found there was plenty of flavour from the other ingredients, which I put in generous amounts of. A really wonderful recipe and I’m not one to normally write a review but this recipe is great and deserves one, so others umming and ahhing about whether to try it or not .. you should give it a go :-)

    HumbleBee wrote on July 21st, 2013
  22. Hiya, I’m new to this Paleo diet and just trying to get my head around it. Is butter and cheese allowed? I thought it was no dairy? Recipe looks amazing though, will definitely have to try! Thanks!

    Tash wrote on August 10th, 2013
    • Apparently some Paleo proponents do no eat dairy. On this site, some do, some don’t. If you don’t have a problem with dairy then go for it. It will take awhile to figure out what is best for your particular body. A good place to start is with The Primal Blueprint then tweak it to what works best for you. And welcome, this is a friendly, supportive and good humored site. Enjoy.

      Sharon wrote on August 10th, 2013
  23. YUM! Yet again. Can’t get enough of these recipes. I made this with shiitakes, asiago, thyme and rosemary in addition to listed ingredients.
    Tomorrow morning I’m having it with a poached egg on top and a steaming cup o joe. Just thinking of it, I can’t wait for morning!

    Samantha wrote on January 19th, 2014
    • Ps. I served it with roast chicken and basically skipped eating the chicken… Also a salad of Boston lettuce, roasted beets w/ EVOO, lemon, acv. Perfect range of flavors.

      Samantha wrote on January 19th, 2014
  24. I made this dish tonight and it was fantastic! I didn’t have bacon so I used Italian sausage. I also added spinach. Delicious!

    Stephanie wrote on February 26th, 2014

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