Cauliflower Sauce Risotto with Herbs + Kale

Going dairy free or even just eating less dairy requires getting comfortable with getting creative in the kitchen and thinking outside the box. Making things creamy isn't easy when you don't eat half and half, milk or cheese. What then? Do you have to give up creamy comfort foods for good? No, not exactly. 

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

My 5 top favorite plants to cream things up:

  1. Cashews
  2. Potatoes
  3. Cauliflower
  4. Tofu
  5. Dairy-free Yogurt and/or Milks combined with nutritional yeast
Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny
Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

Today I'm going to introduce you to a creamy cauliflower sauce that works well for risotto or as a soup base or even a vegan fettuccini. This recipe is adapted from the wonderful Pinch Of Yum blog. I had yet to make one of their recipes before but seriously drool at every photo of their plant-based creations. This recipe is originally not vegan, it's made with chicken stock and real butter. So I adapted it to fit my diet. And it worked very well. The sauce gets an A in my book. 

This risotto is really simple and basic but is garlic-y and really really creamy! The color of the sauce also gives the illusion of dairy, which is nice because comfort foods are all about past memories. Physiology studies show that comfort foods we crave are actually artifacts from our past. Crazy right?

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

What are your comfort foods? I'd love to try and recreate them without dairy or meat. Let me know if you have any suggestions or foods you just can't live without that you'd like to give a makeover. Do you have any other memories associated with food?

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

I personally crave bagels! All throughout high school I was obsessed with bagels. I ate them daily topped with honey, cream cheese, butter with salt, berry jam or even almond butter. I mostly crave cream cheese. I shared a photo on Instagram the other day of my everything bagel (gluten-free) topped with Kite Hill cream cheese (dairy free). It did the trick. Craving cured. 

Back to this recipe (wink) - it was also approved by my kids. That's a big deal. When my kids like something I know it's a winner because it's hard to find something that both kids and parents will eat that is healthy. They truly loved it. Also, If you are still new to being dairy free then add some regular parmesan to this dish after making it. Just fold in the parmesan shreds. You will think the entire dish was made from cheese. Just a little goes a long way. Trust me. My mom tested this out and she loved it. She said she didn't need to add the parmesan at all but even just a little bit did add that cheese flavor she was craving.  Plus it's topped with healthy fibrous toasty kale

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny
Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto Recipe

Yields 4 dinners



  • 1 1/2 cup dry uncooked risotto rice
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 cubes or tsp bouillon 
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 7 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 3 Tbsp vegan butter (I used Myconos)
  • 1/2 cup soaked cashews
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup of lightly dried or fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley and basil  

Garnishes (optional)

Kale Chips:

  • 1/2 head kale, chopped into 1-2 inch strips
  • 1 tsp olive oil or avocado oil
  • sea salt + pepper

Vegan Cashew Parmesan Cheese



  1. Cook the risotto rice in the same way you would cook normal white or brown rice. I used a rice cooker. 
  2. Set the cashews in a bowl covered with water and let them soak. 
  3. Preheat oven to 400 for the kale chips. 
  4. Get out the following: food processor to blend the sauce, blender for the cashew cream, a cookie sheet to make the kale chips, a saucepan for the onion and garlic and large pot for boiling the cauliflower. 

Now Get Cooking:


  1. Cut the large stem off the cauliflower. Chop the rest into big pieces. Set the cauliflower in a large pot on the stove. Cover it with the 6 cups of water and the bouillon cubes/paste. 
  2. Boil the broth. And then turn the head down to medium/low and cook covered with the lid until cauliflower is soft and fully cooked. About 8 or so minutes. Do not discard the water.
  3. Using a slotted spoon you'll want to remove the cauliflower from the hot broth and put it into a food processor for blending. 

Onion, Butter & Garlic: 

  1. Add the butter and onion only to a saucepan on medium heat. Let the onions cook for about 5 minutes until they are translucent and start to caramelize a little on the edges.
  2. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute. Remove from heat. 
  3. Add this mixture to the cauliflower in the food processor bowl. 

Cashew Cream:

  1. Add the soaked cashews to a blender with 1 cup water. Blend this up until creamy. 
  2. Add 1/2 cup this cream to the food processor bowl with the cauliflower and butter mixture. 
Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

The Cauliflower Sauce:

  1. Now that everything is in the food processor you'll want to add the salt and pepper. 
  2. Blend away. And keep adding the cauliflower broth for more liquid if needed. You don't want this sauce to be super duper creamy and thick. But you don't want it to be a soup either. So play around and keep adding broth by a spoonful until you have the perfect texture. No chunks. 


  1. Add the cauliflower sauce to the warm risotto rice. Blend gently with a large slotted spoon or wooden spoon. Gently fold the sauce into the rice. Add all the fresh or lightly dried herbs. 

Mini Kale Chips (optional):

  1. Chop the kale. Large stems removed. Add the pieces to a cookie sheet. 
  2. Gently massage the olive oil, salt and pepper into the kale. 
  3. Lay the pieces evenly across the cookie sheet. Do not overlap. 
  4. Cook about 6 minutes in the oven. You'll know when they are done. They are very flat and the color changes to a darker brown. They should not be burnt
  5. Garnish the risotto with these little kale chips. 
Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

If you're in the mood to really play around with innovative ways to make creamy foods without dairy, sign up for my newsletter because I am sharing a homemade ricotta recipe that uses macadamia nuts and is to die for. You can use it in so many recipes to add serious creaminess. The texture is similar to goat cheese. 

Magical No-Cook Creamy Marinara

I have shared a variation of this magical tomato sauce a few times on the blog already. But never have I given up my original secret recipe...until now!

No Cook Marinara Ready in Minutes | Weekly Must Make Recipe | Vegan #puremamas Recipe

I have many exciting, delicious and healthy recipes accumulated here on the blog, but some of them I have made only twice ever; which is crazy to think because so many are so good. But I am constantly coming up with new ideas that old ones rarely make a comeback.

However, this recipe is different. I have made it over 200 times - not kidding by the way (!!) We make it every week; sometimes twice a week. I use it on pasta, over zucchini noodles, as a pizza sauce or lasagna sauce. It is a great go-to when I have unexpected guests because I usually always have the ingredients in my pantry and fridge.

Tip: I often make a batch of this for babysitters because then all they have to do is boil up some pasta for the kids and then add this sauce. Super easy. Super healthy. I love to pair it with a green smoothie (try my easy green drinks or try my green milk recipe) that way the kids get loads of veggies, protein and fruit in one meal. Smoothie plus this pasta recipe takes less than 20 minutes to whip up. 

Super Easy, Quick, Healthy, No Cook (raw vegan) Marinara Recipe that the entire family will love! | #vegan #puremamas
Raw Vegan Marinara Pasta Recipe | Easy, Healthy, No Cook Sauce | #puremamas Recipe

But usually, this marinara is made weekly for my kids. There is something about the no-chucks that makes it a win for the whole family. And the fact that it takes such little time to whip up. I will never forget the first time they saw what I put into the blender before making it and they were shocked: "you put all that into the sauce?" 

When baby sitters and friends and family taste this pasta they almost instantly ask for the recipe. Or I get a text the next day "where can I find the marinara recipe from last night?" It’s got a really clean and "magical" feeling because it’s flavorful and it’s raw (meaning, made with fresh raw ingredients, not cooked). 

Fresh Homemade Marinara Recipe - A No Cook Sauce - Raw Vegan - Healthy, Simple and Kid APPROVED! #puremamas

I know people argue that cooking tomatoes is a healthier way of eating them. But I’m still having a hard time accepting these findings - I feel like fresh tomatoes are so amazing and why cook those fresh flavors away? I find the taste of raw tomatoes to be much more desirable and there is something about cooked/stewed/canned tomatoes that is much more acidic tasting.

Fact: my son doesn’t do well with cooked tomatoes and when he was a baby he threw up his spaghetti almost instantaneously - until I created this sauce. Now he eats it all the time and loves spaghetti again. Thank goodness. Is there a connection? Not sure. But I like to think so. 

Kid Friendly Marinara that The Whole Family Will Love! Magical Marinara Recipe #puremamas #vegan #plant-based

Additionally, cooking (roasting, stewing or even using canned tomatoes) tomato sauce takes so much longer. First you heat the oil and soften the garlic and other veggies. Then add the canned tomatoes, blah blah. When you’re in a hurry, you want homemade (as opposed to popping open a jar), but don't have time to cook, this recipe is your savior. 

Raw Vegan Family Friendly Marinara Recipe | Plant-based | Healthy #dairyfree #glutenfree #puremamas

The list of ingredients might seem like a laundry list but in fact once you make this a few times you won’t need to measure anymore. Guessing works well and playing around with your own measurements is fun, too. But stick with the recipe until you have a good grasp on proportions. And then you'll be able to whip it up any night in just minutes. 

Magical Tomato Sauce

Yields approx 18oz sauce


  • 2 cups chopped raw tomatoes or cherry/baby tomatoes (not chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • ¼ cup miso paste
  • ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp agave nectar or 2 heaping Tbsp cane sugar or honey
  • 2 large cloves raw garlic (or preferably a heaping tsp of Majestic Garlic spread)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 squirt (1 Tbsp) sriracha (optional)


  1. In a high speed blender jar add all of the ingredients. Blend on medium and then high until everything is creamy and no chunks remain.
  2. Top your favorite noodles with the wonderful sauce and garnish with cashew parmesan cheese and tons of fresh basil.

  3. Enjoy!

Variations: You can add fresh basil and/or oregano to the sauce before blending for added flavors and nutrients. If you do not have issues with dairy, feel free to add parmesan cheese. Trying to eat less dairy but can't give up parmesan cheese - I recommend starting with this Go Veggie parm, it's AMAZING! 

Also, try this sauce in your next lasagna. It's a game changer. 

no cook marinara sauce #vegan #gluten-free #familyfriendly | ready in minutes | recipe via #puremamas

Thanks in advance for trying any of my recipes. I would love to see what your final dishes look like - please tag me on social or leave me a comment. I so appreciate all the feedback. Good or bad. Questions or thoughts! Everything is welcome. @julinovotny on Instagram or tag #puremamas 

Crumbled Tempeh Salad with Herbed Ricotta (vegan) Cheese

Guys this salad is really really good. And it's so simple and easy to make. The peppers are just quickly roasted in the oven while you're prepping everything else. And the rice can be made in a rice cooker or F it, just microwave the frozen stuff - done in just 3 minutes. And the tempeh is quick quick quick. 

Recipe: Crumbled Tempeh Salad with arugula rice topped with herbed vegan ricotta cheese | #plantbased #glutenfree #puremamas | @JuliNovotny
Recipe: Crumbled Tempeh Salad with arugula rice topped with herbed vegan ricotta cheese | #plantbased #glutenfree #puremamas | @JuliNovotny
Recipe: Crumbled Tempeh Salad with arugula rice topped with herbed vegan ricotta cheese | #plantbased #glutenfree #puremamas | @JuliNovotny

All you need is a frying pan, a cookie sheet and big ol' bowl to toss it all up in. The ricotta cheese takes some time but if you're in a hurry just use the store bought stuff. Kite Hill - if you have access to it - is the bomb! 

herbed vegan ricotta cheese | #plantbased #glutenfree #puremamas | @JuliNovotny

But, I do have to say that I'm totally obsessed with making my own ricotta cheese. I don't do dairy, of course, so mine is made from almonds or macadamia nuts. I have a recipe for homemade ricotta coming in March but if you would like the recipe early, subscribe to my newsletter and the recipe will come directly to your inbox. Woohoo! Trust me you'll love making; It's so easy. 

herbed vegan ricotta cheese | #plantbased #glutenfree #puremamas | @JuliNovotny

You can eat it with a drizzle of honey or add some sea salt and herbs. Try smoked paprika or garlic for a funky flair. Anyways, enough about ricotta. Sorry for that daydream. Back to this super awesome salad that will impress anybody and you'll be so happy you made it because it's uber healthy! 

Many of my friends are on a no rice post-holiday diet. If that's you, just omit the rice and add tons of arugula instead. Or if you have time whip up some cauliflower rice. Mmmmm!

Arugula Rice Recipe | #plantbased #glutenfree #puremamas | @JuliNovotny

There's nothing better than rice, sea salt, olive oil and HERBS. I adore chopped herbs. If you follow any of my recipes you'll know they are pretty much in or on top of everything I make. That and chopped nuts. Not only do they make things look pretty but they add an enormous amount of flavor and a little vitamin boost.  

Recipe: Crumbled Tempeh Salad with arugula rice topped with herbed vegan ricotta cheese | #plantbased #glutenfree #puremamas | @JuliNovotny

This salad serves about 3 people. My husband, babysitter and I devoured this dish for lunch today. It doesn't taste like diet food at all, but it really does check all diet boxes:

no gluten

no dairy

no meat

no fried foods

no packaged foods

loads of vegetables

clean protein

And so on...

Feel free to have fun with personalizing this dish. You can use mushrooms and also brussels sprouts. Use spinach in place of arugula, etc. But I like it just the way it is. 

Crumbled Tempeh Salad with herbed vegan ricotta cheese | #plantbased #glutenfree #puremamas | @JuliNovotny
Crumbled Tempeh Salad with herbed vegan ricotta cheese | #plantbased #glutenfree #puremamas | @JuliNovotny

Crumbled Tempeh Recipe


  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 package tempeh, cut and then crumbled
  • 2 tsp harissa spice paste
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 3 Tbsp tamari


  1. In a warm skillet add 1 Tbsp olive oil and chopped shallots. Cook until they are translucent and starting to brown. (about 3-4 minutes). Stirring occasionally so that some do not burn. 
  2. Once they brown add the rest of the olive oil. Add the crumbled tempeh, garlic, tamari and harissa spice. 
  3. Cook on medium heat stirring once with a metal spatula. Let it cook for a few minutes and brown on the bottom (about 2-3 minutes). Then stir again. And scrape with a spatula. Keep doing this until the moisture and oils are all soaked in and tempeh looks nicely browned, dry and cooked. 
  4. Turn off heat. Set aside. 

Roasted Pepper Recipe


  • 1/2 lb Small Sweet Peppers (or just regular bell peppers)
  • oil for greasing the pan
  • salt + pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 420 Degrees F. 
  2. Grease the pan with olive or coconut oil. 
  3. Cut the peppers into little strips. 
  4. Lay them flat, not overlapping each other. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. 
  5. Cook until they soften and maybe get a tad brown on the edges. About 10-12 minutes. 

Arugula Rice Recipe


  • 3-4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup wild arugula, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • pinch of salt + pepper

Herbed Ricotta Cheese


  • 1/2 cup homemade almond or macadamia nut ricotta cheese* (or store bought Kite Hill ricotta or other vegan ricotta style cheese. Or you can use regular feta or goat milk)
  • 3 Tbsp chopped herbs like chives and parsley
  • pinch sea salt


  1. In a bowl combine cheese, herbs and sea salt. 
  2. Gently fold until thoroughly mixed.


  1. Combine the baked peppers, cooked tempeh and arugula rice.
  2.  Toss with vegan herbed ricotta cheese* or regular goat or feta cheese. 
  3. Garnish with herbs and more toasted sesame seeds. 
  4. Serve warm. 

*For my macadamia nut ricotta cheese recipe please sign up for my newsletter. I have a great recipe free when you subscribe.  



Easy Peasy Garlic & Parsley PeeWee Potatoes

These garlic potatoes are one of my favorite recipes. I think it's the raw garlic and the sea salt that really do the trick. Or maybe it's the parsley? These little potatoes are so easy to make - they make a perfect pot luck favorite. Or as a side dish to any protein.  

Garlic & Parsley PeeWee Potatoes Recipe | #puremamas | #vegan

No baking or frying. Just boiled potatoes. 

Boiled Garlic + Parsley PeeWee Potato Recipe | #puremamas | @julinovotny
Garlic & Parsley PeeWee Potatoes Recipe | #puremamas | #vegan

I first had something similar years ago at my mom's house. I was hooked. I couldn't stop eating them and scooping the dressing into my mouth by the spoonful. I love potatoes baked though and we eat those a lot. So every once in awhile I whip this recipe out with a side salad. But beware - much like a bag of potato chips or popcorn - you might devour the entire bowl full if you don't pay attention. Luckily this recipe is full of really healthy ingredients. 

Garlic & Parsley PeeWee Potatoes Recipe | #puremamas | #vegan

Garlic & Parsley PeeWee Potato Recipe

Yields 4 side dishes


  • 1 1/2 lbs peewee (baby) potatoes (I like to slice some of the larger ones but leave little ones whole)
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt 
  • 5-6 large cloves raw garlic


  1. Put potatoes into a pot. Completely cover the potatoes with water. 
  2. Boil the potatoes for about 15-20 minutes. They will be soft but still firm (not falling apart). - until soft.
  3. Strain out the boiling water. 
  4. Then mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl with potatoes. Toss them in the mixture over and over again while getting the rest of dinner ready. 
  5. Salt and pepper to taste and serve warm or room temp. 
Easy Peasy Garlic Parsley Peewee Potatoes | #puremamas | #vegan #glutenfree

Mind Blowing Roasted Root Vegetable + Radish Salad

Sometimes the simplest of salads are packed with the most flavor. We often spend too much time in the kitchen trying to make the perfect sauce; throwing one ingredient in after the other; trying crazy innovative ingredient combinations; only to be disappointed. Does this sound familiar?

Roast Root Vegetable + Radish Salad | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas

This recipe is one of the most flavorful dishes I have ever made and the dressing is just a simple vinaigrette. No honey mustard or tahini or hard to find expensive spices. Just oil, vinegar and garlic. The radishes add a spicy crunch and the sprouts are even spicier. Roasted brussels sprout skins add a light toasty crunch. The sweetness of the herbed root veggies gives a caramel flavor. That combined with raw lettuces and fresh herbs is what gives this salad so much pizazz. 

Butter lettuce with roasted root veggies and almond ricotta cheese. #puremamas | vegan gluten free recipe

I'm just such a huge fan of raw and roasted vegetable salads. Combing these two textures is addicting. I added almond ricotta to this salad but you can use no cheese or real goat cheese if you're not vegan. Almond or macadamia nut ricotta cheese are so easy to make. Sign up for my newsletter and get a free recipe for mac nut ricotta next week. It is a subscriber only recipe that I created.  

Roasted Root Veggie Salad | #puremamas
Roasted Brussel Sprouts | #puremamas | vegan gluten free
Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Almond Ricotta and Blood Orange Vinaigrette | #vegan #glutenfree recipe

Mind Blowing Roasted Root Vegetable + Spicy Radish Salad Recipe

Yields 2 large salads or 4 side salads

Roasted Veggie Recipe


Parsnip + Carrots

  • 4-5 Parsnip, sliced into long wedges
  • 4 large carrots, sliced into long wedges
  • resh Marjoram sprigs and leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 tsp Olive oil, drizzled and coated
  • 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup, drizzled
  • 1 tsp Sea salt

Brussels Sprouts

  • 2 cups chopped or shredded brussels sprouts or just the outer leaves
  • 1 tsp tamari
  • 1 tsp olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 420 degrees F. 
  2. Cut all the root veggies into long wedges - they should resemble large french fries.
  3. Place them on a baking tray or cookie sheet (see photo) so that they aren't overlapping each other. They should be touching the cookie sheet.  
  4. Coat them in oil and maple syrup. 
  5. Using a garlic press, you'll want to add fresh raw garlic. 
  6. Sprinkle marjoram leaves and sprigs over the veggies. 
  7. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper (optional) over the tops.
  8. Bake for about 40 minutes - until they are very soft and brow along the edges (see photo above).  
  9. Spread the brussels sprouts on a baking tray as well and combine all the ingredients until brussels sprouts are thoroughly coated. 
  10. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the brussel sprouts are brown. You want them toasty not just softened. They should get almost burned looking. 

Roasted Veggie Salad Recipe


  • Roasted parsnips and carrots (recipe above - or bake them as you please)
  • Roasted brussels sprouts (recipe above - or bake them as you please)
  • 3/4 - 1 head of butter lettuce
  • 1/4 cup chopped rainbow radish
  • 1/2 cup chopped radicchio 
  • 1/4 cup curly radish sprouts 
  • 1/2 cup fresh herbs - like parsley, basil, mint and cilantro (I used all 4 of them)
  • 3 Tbsp red onion, chopped into fine strips 
  • Toasted slivered almonds or hazelnuts (place raw nuts in the oven for 8 minutes - 350 degrees F)
  • almond ricotta cheese (or goat cheese or not cheese)* 
  • 4 Tbsp (approx 1/4 cup) blood orange olive oil + white balsamic vinaigrette dressing (recipe below)


  1. Place all ingredients in a large salad bowl and gently toss! Toss until flavors and ingredients are well mixed. 
  2. Add dressing and lightly mix again. 
  3. Serve in your favorite salad bowl or plate. And get ready to be mind blow. 
Mind Blowing Roasted Root Vegetable + Radish Salad | #glutenfree #vegan | #puremamas

Blood Orange Olive Oil + White Balsamic Vinaigrette


  • 1/4 cup Antica blood orange olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp Antica white balsamic vinegar (pear flavor)
  • 2 Tbsp raw garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt


  1. Using a whisk, mix up all of the above ingredients in a measuring cup. The dressing will thicken once oil and vinegar are thoroughly combined. 
  2. You can double this recipe as well. And use the rest later. 
  3. Enjoy

*please note that this is NOT a paid sponsored post for this company. I got these oils and vinegars as a gift for Christmas from my mother-in-law and fell in love with them. I highly recommend you get some. You will freak out at the flavors. 

Roasted Root Veggie & Spicy Radish Salad with almond ricotta cheese | #vegan #glutenfree | #puremamas

Sign up for my newsletter to get the recipe for almond ricotta cheese. It's ridic. I won't be posting it on the blog until March. So if you want it now, then go ahead and sign up below.