Pumpkin Cauliflower Rice Risotto

Did you have a nice Thanksgiving? Now that it’s officially onto Christmas, everything is all candy canes, gingerbread and Christmas cookies, but I’m still thinking about leftovers from the big feast. If you were the lucky person who made the pumpkin pie, chances are you’ve got half a can of pumpkin puree in your fridge. While I’ve got plenty of sweet treats you can use that on (Pumpkin Swirl Brownies, Pumpkin Oat Breakfast Cookies, Pumpkin Granola), I wanted to give you a savory veggie-filled side dish, featuring the leftover pumpkin puree.

Truth be told, this risotto actually doesn’t contain any rice. Instead, it’s made with cauliflower rice. Why? Well, because I bought a bag of cauliflower rice from Trader Joe’s to make another recipe, and it came out quite terrible. Yes, that happens sometimes, and I’ll spare you the details.

The thing about cauliflower rice is that I don’t actually really know what to do with it. I’ve tried making “bread”, and it never comes out quite right, and I had read that you can use it in risotto. So why not give it a try?

That’s exactly what I did, and turns out that you can absolutely use cauliflower rice as the base for a rice-less risotto, and the final result is super creamy and flavorful. The pumpkin adds a velvety texture to the sauce, and it helps reduce the amount of salty stock and cheese you need. Plus, you don’t need to constantly stir and tend to this risotto, since it’s not a real risotto. Seriously, this dish is a winner. Serve it with some protein and a roasted veg to make a whole meal or just nosh on it for lunch with a salad. Pumpkin Cauliflower Rice risotto is a creamy veggie-licious side dish. And it's completely rice-less! Whip up this creamy and tasty risotto in a flash to accompany any weeknight meal. #cauliflowerrice #pumpkin #healthyside

5 from 6 votes

Pumpkin Cauliflower Rice Risotto

Course Side Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD


  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 4 cups cauliflower rice
  • 1 cup unsweetened canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 16 ounces vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese


  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the butter to pot, then stir in onions. Cook onions until translucent (about 2-3 minutes).

  2. Add the cauliflower rice, pumpkin puree and salt to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes.

  3. Add one quarter (4 ounces) of vegetable stock to the pot and bring to a low low boil. Cook for 5 minutes or until the liquid starts to reduce. Stir frequently.
  4. Repeat this process three more times or until all of the liquid has been added to the pot. The final sauce should be creamy.
  5. Turn off the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese.

Recipe Notes

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  • Reply
    November 27, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    5 stars
    BEST IDEA EVER! Substituting the cauliflower for the rice just made me very happy!

  • Reply
    Tawnie Kroll
    November 28, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    5 stars
    Can I eat this all day every day please?! So good!

  • Reply
    December 2, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    5 stars
    This is so good!!! I need to make more asap!

  • Reply
    Liz Shaw
    December 3, 2018 at 1:19 am

    5 stars
    You are winning at the veggie recipes these days! I am so inspired!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2018 at 9:07 am

    5 stars
    Made this and looooooved it. Making it again this week!

  • Reply
    Emily Kyle
    December 10, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    5 stars
    New favorite side dish, soo good!

  • Reply
    January 8, 2019 at 11:10 am

    Thanks for the recipe. Is this made with pumpkin puree (that is unsweetened) or the kind you use for pie filling?

    • Reply
      Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD
      January 8, 2019 at 11:11 am

      Hi Erin! It’s unsweetened pumpkin puree. I’ll change the recipe to note that. Thanks for your comment!

  • Reply
    May 25, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    Will not adding the cheese change the consistency?

    • Reply
      Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD
      May 28, 2019 at 7:40 am

      Hmm, it might make it a bit more watery. I didn’t try it that way, but let me know if you do!

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