8 Ways Cauliflower Can Satisfy Your Carb-Free Comfort Food Cravings
When you’re trying to cut carbs from your diet, things can get a little stressful with all of the temptations out there. Instead of going all out in the gluten-free aisle, you can look to cauliflower as the shining star for all of your carb substitution needs. It’s ridiculous how flexible cauliflower can be for just about any meal. You can still make all of your favorite foods, from pizza to grilled cheese, all you really need is a food processor. The dishes below are ridiculously satisfying.
1. Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks
Here’s a substitute for that cheesy bread you love so much. Buy a large head of cauliflower, separate it into flourettes and place in the food processor. Pulse until it becomes a rice-like texture. Place the riced cauliflower into an oven-proof baking dish at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes. Once the cauliflower is cooked, wrap it in a cheesecloth or kitchen towel and squeeze out all of the moisture. Squeeze until you have about a cup of liquid. Now you can go wild with other ingredients. Mix in eggs, spices, a little bit of shredded mozzarella and make sure everything is fully incorporated. Spread out the mixture on a piece of parchment paper, covering a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes. Top with all of the cheese and bake again for another 10 minutes. You can serve these “cheesy” breadsticks with all kinds of dipping sauces, but a hearty tomato sauce will do the trick.
2. Cauliflower Bagels
You don’t have to say goodbye to bagels forever if you’re staying away from grains or gluten. This recipe by The Kitchen suggests combining the riced cauliflower (see above) with almond meal, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt and eggs in order to form the “dough” for the bagels. You could also form bun shapes for carb-free sandwiches. Top your bagels with sesame seeds, sea salt, poppy seeds, cheese or all of the makings of an everything bagel. Bake the cauliflower bagels for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
3. Cauliflower Fried Rice
Treat cauliflower like you would any fried rice recipe. When it’s cut into tiny pieces, cauliflower has a similar texture to rice and will absorb all of the sauce and seasonings the same way. Sauté some onion and garlic and then add in your cauliflower to the pan. Make sure it doesn’t get too mushy and add in any vegetables you want. If you’re aiming for a classic fried rice, go with peas and carrots. Add in an egg (beaten), sesame oil, soy sauce, crushed ginger, black pepper and stir until everything is combined and the egg becomes cooked. You can top the cauliflower fried rice with scallions or anything else you’re into.
4. Cauliflower Pizza
You can use the same process as the bread sticks, but instead of forming your cauliflower into a rectangle shape, make it a circle. The trick to holding the dough together is getting out all of the moisture and adding a healthy portion of eggs and cheese. Bake the crust first and then add other toppings like sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, fresh tomatoes, peppers, basil, whichever exotic cheese you’re in the mood for and bake for another 10 minutes.
5. Cauliflower Mash
Rice the cauliflower in the food processor, cook it and drain it. In a saucepan, mix the cooked cauliflower with milk or cream, butter, salt and pepper. Combine everything with a masher until it reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes and then top the mash with chives, scallions or any other herb you’d want on your potatoes. This is the perfect way to get your comfort food fix without the extra carbs.
6. Cauliflower Benedict
Form little cauliflower patties with the same mixture you’d use for the pizza. Bake for about 20 minutes or until they look slightly golden brown. Cook some spinach or bacon, make a hollandaise sauce, poach a few eggs and you’ve got yourself the ingredients for a carb-free eggs Benedict.
7. Cauliflower Grilled Cheese
Dreams really do come true. Make the cauliflower crust and form it into bread-like slices. Get crafty with your spices here. Maybe use a little thyme, oregano, rosemary or garlic powder. You can either bake the “slices” or fry them until golden brown, depending on what kind of mood you’re in. Maybe add a little mozzarella to the mixture to help all of the ingredients stick together. If you bake the cauliflower, you might need to spread a little butter on each slice to help it crisp up in the pan. Top one cauliflower slice with cheese and then place the other slice on top until all of the cheese is melted. Repeat the process with all of the slices. You can put a lid over the sandwich to help the cheese melt. You could even add slices of tomato if you’re feeling fancy.
8. Cauliflower And Quinoa Meatless Meatballs
Here’s a creative way to get your protein fix. Combine cauliflower rice, cold cooked quinoa, parsley, flour (coconut or almond flour works), eggs, EVOO, salt, pepper and any other spices you want. Mix all of these ingredients together, refrigerate for a half hour and then form the “meatballs.” In one pan make whatever sauce you’re craving. In another, heat up enough coconut oil to coat the bottom of a pan and then brown the balls as much as you can. When they’re done cooking simmer the balls in the sauce for about 10 minutes before serving.