Cauliflower Sauce Risotto with Herbs + Kale

Going dairy free or even just eating less dairy requires getting comfortable with getting creative in the kitchen and thinking outside the box. Making things creamy isn't easy when you don't eat half and half, milk or cheese. What then? Do you have to give up creamy comfort foods for good? No, not exactly. 

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

My 5 top favorite plants to cream things up:

  1. Cashews
  2. Potatoes
  3. Cauliflower
  4. Tofu
  5. Dairy-free Yogurt and/or Milks combined with nutritional yeast
Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny
Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

Today I'm going to introduce you to a creamy cauliflower sauce that works well for risotto or as a soup base or even a vegan fettuccini. This recipe is adapted from the wonderful Pinch Of Yum blog. I had yet to make one of their recipes before but seriously drool at every photo of their plant-based creations. This recipe is originally not vegan, it's made with chicken stock and real butter. So I adapted it to fit my diet. And it worked very well. The sauce gets an A in my book. 

This risotto is really simple and basic but is garlic-y and really really creamy! The color of the sauce also gives the illusion of dairy, which is nice because comfort foods are all about past memories. Physiology studies show that comfort foods we crave are actually artifacts from our past. Crazy right?

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

What are your comfort foods? I'd love to try and recreate them without dairy or meat. Let me know if you have any suggestions or foods you just can't live without that you'd like to give a makeover. Do you have any other memories associated with food?

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

I personally crave bagels! All throughout high school I was obsessed with bagels. I ate them daily topped with honey, cream cheese, butter with salt, berry jam or even almond butter. I mostly crave cream cheese. I shared a photo on Instagram the other day of my everything bagel (gluten-free) topped with Kite Hill cream cheese (dairy free). It did the trick. Craving cured. 

Back to this recipe (wink) - it was also approved by my kids. That's a big deal. When my kids like something I know it's a winner because it's hard to find something that both kids and parents will eat that is healthy. They truly loved it. Also, If you are still new to being dairy free then add some regular parmesan to this dish after making it. Just fold in the parmesan shreds. You will think the entire dish was made from cheese. Just a little goes a long way. Trust me. My mom tested this out and she loved it. She said she didn't need to add the parmesan at all but even just a little bit did add that cheese flavor she was craving.  Plus it's topped with healthy fibrous toasty kale

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny
Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto Recipe

Yields 4 dinners



  • 1 1/2 cup dry uncooked risotto rice
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 cubes or tsp bouillon 
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 7 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 3 Tbsp vegan butter (I used Myconos)
  • 1/2 cup soaked cashews
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup of lightly dried or fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley and basil  

Garnishes (optional)

Kale Chips:

  • 1/2 head kale, chopped into 1-2 inch strips
  • 1 tsp olive oil or avocado oil
  • sea salt + pepper

Vegan Cashew Parmesan Cheese



  1. Cook the risotto rice in the same way you would cook normal white or brown rice. I used a rice cooker. 
  2. Set the cashews in a bowl covered with water and let them soak. 
  3. Preheat oven to 400 for the kale chips. 
  4. Get out the following: food processor to blend the sauce, blender for the cashew cream, a cookie sheet to make the kale chips, a saucepan for the onion and garlic and large pot for boiling the cauliflower. 

Now Get Cooking:


  1. Cut the large stem off the cauliflower. Chop the rest into big pieces. Set the cauliflower in a large pot on the stove. Cover it with the 6 cups of water and the bouillon cubes/paste. 
  2. Boil the broth. And then turn the head down to medium/low and cook covered with the lid until cauliflower is soft and fully cooked. About 8 or so minutes. Do not discard the water.
  3. Using a slotted spoon you'll want to remove the cauliflower from the hot broth and put it into a food processor for blending. 

Onion, Butter & Garlic: 

  1. Add the butter and onion only to a saucepan on medium heat. Let the onions cook for about 5 minutes until they are translucent and start to caramelize a little on the edges.
  2. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute. Remove from heat. 
  3. Add this mixture to the cauliflower in the food processor bowl. 

Cashew Cream:

  1. Add the soaked cashews to a blender with 1 cup water. Blend this up until creamy. 
  2. Add 1/2 cup this cream to the food processor bowl with the cauliflower and butter mixture. 
Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

The Cauliflower Sauce:

  1. Now that everything is in the food processor you'll want to add the salt and pepper. 
  2. Blend away. And keep adding the cauliflower broth for more liquid if needed. You don't want this sauce to be super duper creamy and thick. But you don't want it to be a soup either. So play around and keep adding broth by a spoonful until you have the perfect texture. No chunks. 


  1. Add the cauliflower sauce to the warm risotto rice. Blend gently with a large slotted spoon or wooden spoon. Gently fold the sauce into the rice. Add all the fresh or lightly dried herbs. 

Mini Kale Chips (optional):

  1. Chop the kale. Large stems removed. Add the pieces to a cookie sheet. 
  2. Gently massage the olive oil, salt and pepper into the kale. 
  3. Lay the pieces evenly across the cookie sheet. Do not overlap. 
  4. Cook about 6 minutes in the oven. You'll know when they are done. They are very flat and the color changes to a darker brown. They should not be burnt
  5. Garnish the risotto with these little kale chips. 
Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

If you're in the mood to really play around with innovative ways to make creamy foods without dairy, sign up for my newsletter because I am sharing a homemade ricotta recipe that uses macadamia nuts and is to die for. You can use it in so many recipes to add serious creaminess. The texture is similar to goat cheese. 

Balanced Meals On-The-GO!

Need a few snack ideas for a balanced meal on-the-go? Don't have time to worry about packing snacks or making lunch?

Ideally you'd grab and apple and maybe a kale salad with some avocado. But we all know that won't go over well with little kiddos. SO, in order to assure that they will EAT this food you're bringing, let's bring some more palatable, enjoyable foods! 

Kids just love kale chips, I'm telling you {especially ones that are used to eating healthy - buy some or make your own} and those fruit squeeze things, are just as easy for them to eat! My son will chug like 3 in about 2 minutes. 

Justin's Peanut Butter to-go packs are also a GREAT idea for any vegetarian/vegan, especially kids. They make chocolate almond butter, honey almond, and plain as well. I don't love peanut butter for health reasons, but almond butter is SUPER healthy and tasty!

Bring a few slices of bread if you think you're kids would be more apt to eat the butter on bread!

If you have the time, make a smoothie, a really yummy one that you can be sure you're kids will eat {pack it with flax oil, too for extra omegas, and maybe some protein powder if you have it}! If you do this, combined with the above snacks, you'll be sure to have healthy, happy kids all day long.  

Off To Costa Rica :: Using Up My Food

I had a great time this morning SPAZZING away in the kitchen as "they" say! {I've been called a spazz many of times and I get that from my mom for SURE}. Took me a good couple hours because I was simultaneously cleaning out my fridge as well leaving only carrot juice, orange juice, almond milk, goats milk, goat yogurt, onions, garlic, already made quinoa, some sprouted bread, and some kookie karma chips and kookies. 

Anyways, I had kale and carrots to use, coconut meat {left over from 5 coconuts of water we drank last week} and lots of other greens. 

So, with that I made kale chips {instead of red bell pepper, I used carrots} and some coconut jerky - not the same recipe that I posted about before {if this recipe comes out good, then I will last minute add it to my eRecipe Book} - and a wonderful green smoothie. 

I also whipped up some maple syrup macaroons so my little boys will have some good treats while I'm gone. I had ordered some from One Lucky Ducky {believe it or not sometimes I get sick of my own creations} thinking that I wouldn't have time to make any and they arrived sour/rotten but that happens with raw food sometimes, esp when you mix coconut with wet ingredients like maple syrup {learned that the hard way}. So I returned them, no problem at all, in exchange for some awesome rosemary quackers. YUM. {Sorry for that random tangent}

It isn't going to be easy being gone for a week. I'm going to be sad leaving my little babies. I haven't been baby-free for two years now. Not one time have I been w/o them except for one SHORT night, {let me tell you} for my birthday I stayed in a hotel with friends while dad took care of the boys. So, this is going to be rough to say the least. But some very needed R&R. 

Next problem - I feel a little bit bad for my sister-in-law who is taking care of them here at our house. I figured the list of meals was going to be overwhelming for sure. So, I premade tons of stuff to have on hand. She is in charge of dinner, but that's it. Dinner will probably be simple I think I wrote something like "brown rice and avocado inside a piece of nori wrap. Or, to make it even simpler, just feed them what you can as long as there is no meat." That's sort of how I left it. 

But breakfast and lunch are super fun - lots of raw crackers and hummus, oatmeal with flax oil, toast with raw almond butter & honey, raw macaroons, larabars, Kookie Karma {my son calls them kookie bars}, kale chips, raw grawnola and almond milk...

I'm know my sis-in-law already thinks I'm half nuts. But she's amazing and her kids are just the best! 

THANKS AUNT KRISTA AND UNCLE PAT! For all you are doing this coming week!

COSTA RICA HERE WE COME! Readers - don't worry there are TONS of great posts {some of my fav so far} in the queue. So you will still have tons of great stuff to read while I'm away! ENJOY! I might even share some great {and not so great} Costa Rica food stuff and lovely photos.  





My Favorite Raw Recipes :: Now For Sale!

Kookie Karma is now producing my favorite recipes to this day! My family eats them everyday. I have given out the general recipes in past posts, but now you can actually save yourself time and BUY themoff my Juli's Favorites web store. 

Kokoa Krunchies are a family favorite {shown above}. Eat plain or add almond milk. They are super crunchyand sweet. Kids and dad alike LOVE this treat in the morning.

That and Kale chips are what my son CRIES over! He would eat two full bags if I let him. I come home from the Kookie Karma kitchen holding trial bags and I say "I have a surprise for you, Pierce" his face lights up, he sits in his eating chair, and doesn't stop until I am forced to take it away. 

He cried the other day when he saw me putting kale chips into the dehydrator. He said "I like that mommy, I like that" and pointed to the chips and then to the table. "I want it, mommy"! 

I had to disappoint him by explaining that they weren't ready yet! Bummer. He cried. 

Anyways, check out these new flavors today! 

Kale Chips

I've been busy lately eating kale chips. I'm so in love with dehydrated kale these days. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE just plain old raw kale marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt. But, dehydrated kale chips are great for crunch and of course a quick salt fix.


2 heads of kale, washed and dried (remove middle hard stem if desire)
3 Tbls olive oil
1 tsp sea salt


1.5 red bell pepper
1 Tbls nutritional yeast
2 lemons, juiced
1/2 jalapeno
1 cups soaked cashews
1 Tbls sea salt {or less or to taste}

First, coat the kale olive oil and sea salt {you can skip this step if you'd like, it's not necessary} 

Second, mix the "sauce" ingredients in a vitamix until SUPER creamy.

Third, pour the sauce over the kale {coat the kale, but leave some of it in blobs}.

Last, dehydrate for 12-18 hours on a mesh tray {you can double the mesh trays if you think that the mixture is too watery/messy. Or until SUPER duper crunch {not soft}

ENJOY - the chips should look like the photo when finished.