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Lunch Ideas: Vegan Cauliflower, Peas, and Saffron Risotto

You know how all recipes start with a story. I won’t do that here. Recipe first, stories later!

Note that this is a vegan recipe. You can substitute for non-vegan options if you prefer. Options are given below.


Serving size: Makes for 2 adults (or 2 adults and 1 child)

White sauce:

  • 10 medium sized florets of cauliflower 
  • 15 pieces of cashews
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  • 1 ½ cup Arborio Rice
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (I use stock powder if I don’t have fresh stock handy)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup peas
  • A few strands of Saffron
  • Salt & Pepper to taste



White Sauce:

  • Boil the cauliflower, save half a cup of the water and drain the rest. 
  • Once it cools, grind the cauliflower and the half cup water with the cashews.
  • Season and keep aside.


  • Heat a large pan or skillet on medium heat.
  • Add butter then chopped onions and garlic.
  • Sauté for 5 minutes. 
  • Add the washed rice and sauté for another minute.
  • Add the peas.
  • Slowly add the stock half cup at a time. Keep stirring the rice, adding more stock as it keeps getting absorbed by the rice.
  • With the final ladle of stock, add the saffron strands and seasoning.
  • Pour in the cauliflower sauce and let the rice cook. 


  • Make garlic chips by frying thin garlic slices. Fry till light brown. Remove from oil and keep aside to get it crunchy. Garnish on top just before serving.
  • Nutritional yeast gives a nice cheesy flavour to the risotto.


  • Olive oil can be replaced by butter
  • Vegetable stock can be replaced with chicken stock. Water can also be used although the flavour won’t be as rich.
  • Add cooked prawns or chicken pieces if you prefer.
  • You can add parmesan cheese instead of nutritional yeast

I have never been able to make a great risotto. It either turns out too dry or the flavour doesn’t match my expectations. This however, exceeded my expectations.

My cooking style rarely follows any recipe, even my own. I need things simple, preferably in one pot, and completed ASAP.

I had some cauliflower that I needed to finish, and low motivation to enter the kitchen. So while I contemplated where I can order lunch from, I thought up this recipe to metaphorically kill two birds with one stone; I can use up the cauliflower and muster up some motivation to cook something other than everyday food.

Cauliflower and cashew sauce is a great vegan alternative for white sauce, especially for the lactose intolerant. Even if you’re not vegan, it’s a much healthier option than the regular cheesy version. I don’t like the milk version because it dries up too thick. An added advantage is that you’ll get vegetables into kids (or adults) who are picky eaters.

Note: Some links are part of an affiliate program, which means that if you click on a link and buy something, I might receive a percentage of the sale, at no extra cost to you. 


  1. Wow! Thank you! I constantly needed to write on my blog something like that. Can I include a portion of your post to my website?

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