A few weeks ago, my dietetic internship group had a class field trip to Tolosa Winery in San Luis Obispo. (I know, we are totally suffering). It was a gorgeous day, we had lunch alfresco, and we learned all about the process of winemaking at Tolosa. #fieldtripgoals, right?
One of the cool things about this winery is that they are SIP Certified. SIP stands for “Sustainability in Practice”, which is a certification in the wine industry that focuses on the 3 “P’s” of sustainability- people, planet, and prosperity. Some of the standards of certification include water conservation and clean water usage, energy efficiency ( all about reducing that carbon footprint), and safe pest management (think beneficial insects and cover crops). Can I get an AMEN??? (or should it be cheers?)
If you want to drink some wine (and do some good), you can check out the list of SIP certified wines and vineyards here.
Not a painting, I swear.
Let’s talk wine pairings. I picked up a bottle of Pinot Noir from Tolosa to give to my wonderful mommy, since those cherry notes are her jam, and she was majorly hinting all about her favorite type of wines once she found out I would be at a winery. 😉 I’m not much of a wine drinker ( though I do love a glass of chilled rose like every other basic girl out there), so I did plenty of research to make sure I got today’s food/wine pairing right.
Pinot Noir goes really well with earthy, savory, mushroom flavors. So, *lightbulb*, I threw together an amazing mushroom-cauliflower “risotto”. This “risotto” is completely made from veggies. Yep, that’s right, there’s no rice involved, just good ‘ol cauliflower. Best of all, it is so easy to make creamy cauliflower rice!
Have you ever noticed that cauli is crazy crumbly? If you have ever chopped up cauliflower, you know what I am talking about. Those little bits go flying! (If you are not in the mood for cauliflower’s temperament, word on the street is that Trader Joe’s has started selling “riced” cauliflower. Thank you, Joe for doing all the dirty work.)
But even if you can’t get your hands on pre-riced cauliflower, give the recipe a go! The chopping is worth the end result, promise! One tip that helps is to put your cutting board inside a baking sheet with edges, which helps to catch some of the little rogue cauliflower crumbles. And that’s your weekly Helpful Hint from Heloise.
So let’s discuss this “risotto” a little bit more… It’s rich, creamy, and comforting. Buttt there is no butter or cream involved. In fact, the only dairy that might make an appearance is the cheese you can choose to garnish on top (or omit, if your keeping it vegan).
I love that the richness of the risotto pairs well with the Pinot without actually feeling heavy once it hits your stomach. It’s amazing how mushrooms and cauliflower completely transform into something so luxurious and flavorful while still maintaining their nutrition powers-fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins, to name a few. Now stop drooling on the screen and go make it!
1 head of cauliflower
12 oz assorted mushrooms (I used shiitake and Portobello), chopped
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup veggie broth
1 TBS olive oil
1 heaping TBS oat flour- hear me out on this: the oat flour is my secret ingredient for really thickening up the “risotto” and making it feel rich and creamy. If you don’t have oat flour, just pulse some oats in a blender or food processor to make a flour. So quick!
1/4 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
2 TBS chopped parlsey
Garnish: more parsley, cheese, truffle oil (all optional, but totally divine)
Chop cauliflower to make “rice”, making sure pieces are 1/4 inch or smaller. Set aside. Add oil to a dutch oven, (or other large pot that holds at lest 3.5 quarts) over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and thyme, and sauté until onions are translucent. Deglaze the pot with the veggie broth. Add cauliflower, and cook for 7-8 min. Stir in mushrooms, cover pot, and cook for 7-10 more minutes, until mushrooms and cauliflower are tender. Now is the time to add the oat flour. Simply stir it in, and you will notice the mix start to thicken, and any excess broth will become creamy. Stir in parsley. Taste dish, and add salt and pepper as desired.
To serve, garnish with parsley, cheese, and truffle oil, if you so choose. ( I always do 🙂 ).
Have you tried cauliflower “rice” before? Do you think I hit the mark with my wine pairing choice for this dish? Sommeliers are welcome to provide advice in the comments. Make the “risotto” and let me know how you like it!
As always, have a fabulous week!