This intensely satisfying and perfectly cheesy dish is not only satiating and scrumptious, but is also low in fat, calories, and carbs! There’s a secret ingredient in here that makes all the magic – COTTAGE CHEESE! You read that correctly. The same curdles that many people dislike for breakfast (what weirdos) is the very thing that makes this dish amazing. Just trust me on this one.
As soon as fall hits, I just want to eat warm and comforting food. There’s just something about this season that makes me crave those types of foods. I’m pretty sure I pack on more pounds than I should because of these food cravings (and the fact that it’s sweater weather, and sweaters do a great job of hiding excess pudge). This bowl delivers on all comfort levels, but is healthy!
There was this big hype about cauliflower a little while ago because of its nutritious quality, low caloric value, creamy texture, and pretty mild flavor that is easily adapted into many dishes. You’ve seen mashed cauliflower, cauliflower mac and cheese, creamy cauliflower, soup, etc. Then there was a riced cauliflower boom because some genius figured out that if you manipulate little pieces of cauliflower correctly, it has an uncanny ability to morph into many things including pizza crust, tater tots, and fried rice. Well, it was in demand enough that most grocery stores began selling this riced cauliflower (either fresh or frozen) so us lazy people don’t have to rice it ourselves. Thank you America for indulging our laziness. Anyways, one of the things you can make out of riced cauliflower is cauliflower “risotto.” Full disclosure, this dish definitely doesn’t have the exact starchy texture that can only be provided by arborio rice, but the flavors and the creamy quality more than make up for it.
So, cottage cheese- why did I put it in here? I’ll be honest and say that I put cottage cheese in many unexpected dishes – scrambled eggs and savory oatmeal to name just a couple. When you heat it up correctly, it becomes this gooey/melty cheese with a lovely flavor that is perfect for dishes like this. Plus, it’s a great source of protein! It’s magical. Just try this dish, and you’ll become a believer too.
First step: sauté your onions in a little oil until translucent. Add your sliced mushrooms and cook until tender. Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and thyme. Remove from heat and set aside. Time to make the magical cheesy sauce. In a large pan, make a simple roux- add butter and flour over medium heat, stir constantly with whisk until butter is melted and flour is cooked off (2-3 mins). Add your milk slowly while mixing. Let it come to a gentle simmer, then add your salt, cottage cheese and some other melty cheese (I used a combo of mozzarella and gruyere). Mix until everything is melted, creamy, cheesy and combined. To your sauce, add your riced cauliflower and onion/mushroom mixture. If your cauliflower is raw, cook it first (a quick sauté in some oil will do). Mix everything together.
When you first add everything, it may seem a little watery. I like it this way- extra saucy! You can definitely eat it like that too, or let it sit for about 15 minutes to let it set (or in the fridge overnight; then re-heat via stovetop or microwave). This makes a big batch, but freezes well. I portioned mine into single serving tupperware containers and stuck it in the freezer. When I’m ready to eat it, I just zap it in the microwave, or heat it up in a little pan or pot until warmed through.
Give this recipe a try. It’s like a big cheesy hug in a bowl, and it’s something that you can eat a lot of because rule #329: you can eat any quantity of healthy things.
- 24 oz crimini or white button mushrooms
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 tbsp oil
- 16 oz riced cauliflower, cooked* (see note)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp fresh thyme** (see note)
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp AP flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded*** (see note)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Slice your mushrooms and dice you onion. In a large pan, place oil and onions over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes until translucent. Add mushrooms. Cook until tender. Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and thyme. Remove from heat and set apart.
- Make the sauce: Make a simple roux by putting flour and butter in large pan over medium heat. Stir constantly with whisk until butter is melted and flour has cooked off a little (2-3 minutes). Slowly add milk to roux, whisking constantly. Let is come to a gentle simmer for a couple minutes. Add cottage cheese, mozzarella and salt. Continue mixing until all cheese is melted and combined.
- Add mushroom/onion mixture and riced cauliflower to cheese sauce. Mix to combine.
- (Eat as is, or if sauce seems too watery, let sit for 15 minutes to let sauce set)
- *You can buy pre-riced cauliflower. If it's raw, follow the instructions on how to cook it. You can also rice your own cauliflower and give it a quick sauté to cook it.
- **You can use 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- ***You can use any kind of melty cheese for this part, or a combination if you want. I used 1/4 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup gruyere.