Cauliflower Risotto with Seared Scallops

Instead of starchy refined carbs, this risotto uses cauliflower transformed into rice-size pieces in the food processor. Parmesan cheese and butter help give it the creamy texture of a classic risotto.

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FEWER CARBS, MORE FLAVOR: One 1/4-cup serving of cooked cauliflower contains 4 grams of fiber, 18 milligrams of calcium, 176 milligrams of potassium and only 28 calories! Try boiling and mashing the florets for an easy, flavorful side dish. Or toss with your favorite spice blend and a little olive oil then roast until tender-crisp.

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Prep Time
30 min
40 min


  • 7 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 head)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil, divided 

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced  

  • 1 tsp ground black pepper, divided (TRY: Simply Organic Ground Black Pepper)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, divided    

  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth   

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

  • 3 tbsp whole milk 

  • 1 1-lb bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)   

  • 1 tbsp organic unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled 

  • 1 tbsp lemon zest  

  • 2 tbsp unsalted pine nuts, optional 

  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives    

  • 1 lb sea scallops (12 large), patted dry  


1. Working in batches if necessary, place cauliflower florets in a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse until they resemble rice, 5 to 6 pulses. Set aside.

2. In a deep 12-inch skillet (see note below), heat 1½ tsp oil on medium-high, using a silicone brush to spread oil all over skillet. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add cauliflower, ½ tsp pepper and ¼ tsp salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add broth and cook for 2 minutes. Remove 1 cup of mixture and place in a food processor, add Parmesan and milk and purée until smooth. Return to skillet and mix well; add asparagus and cover with lid. Cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in butter. Transfer to a bowl and stir in lemon zest, pine nuts (if using) and 1½ tbsp chives. Cover to keep warm.

3. Wipe out skillet. Add remaining 1½ tsp oil and heat on medium-high, using silicone brush to spread oil all over skillet. Sprinkle scallops with remaining ½ tsp pepper and ¼ tsp salt. Add scallops to skillet, leaving space in between, and cook until bottoms are browned, 2 to 3 minutes. (To check doneness, try lifting scallops with a thin spatula; if they stick to the skillet, cook 30 seconds longer.) Flip and cook until bottoms are browned and scallops are slightly firm but still tender when pressed, 1½ to 2 minutes more.

4. To serve, divide risotto among plates then top with scallops. Garnish with remaining 1½ tsp chives.

NOTE: A cast iron skillet works best for this recipe, but since these pans aren’t usually sold with lids, you can improvise by covering it with a baking sheet.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories 262
  • Carbohydrate Content 21 g
  • Cholesterol Content 45 mg
  • Fat Content 11 g
  • Fiber Content 5 g
  • Protein Content 23 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 4.5 g
  • Sodium Content 687 mg
  • Sugar Content 6 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat Content 4 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat Content 1 g