Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Call of the Cauliflower, Part 2: Counterfeit Carbs

Ok - not won over yet? The roasted cauliflower - was that still a tough sell? Well what if I told you that you could use cauliflower as a stand-in for your favorite starch? Imagine - replace your carb-loaded mashed potatoes or rice with easily-disguised cauliflower.... and not even notice the difference. It's true. And do you know how I know it's true? I snuck the roasted garlic cauliflower puree past my husband (who - quote - "loathes" cauliflower), letting him assume it was whipped taters.... and he asked for seconds. And thirds. Ha!

Tis simple:
  • Steam 1/2 a head of cauliflower florets until fork tender (this will make enough for two adequate portions... or if you're like me, just eat it all and call it dinner)
  • Throw the cooked florets into your food processor with 2-4 tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt (start with less and add as you go - since cauliflower contains so much water, it's easy for the puree to get too thin); puree
  • Season with kosher salt
  • If you want to add roasted garlic to the food processor for the puree, all the better (I use about two whole heads of roasted garlic per 1/2 head of cauliflower)
  • Serve as you would mashed potatoes (I like it with a little bit of butter, chives and salt)
Now faking rice - also easy. The trick is to grate the cauliflower. Grating is an awesome ploy. It renders the cauliflower into completely unrecognizable nibs, which you can then use in dozens of ways (a couple more are coming up... like here and here!). But this fake rice is just that - grated cauliflower that has simply been nuked in the microwave for 2 minutes. You don't even add anything to it before nuking - there's enough water in the cauliflower that it basically steams itself.

So let me repeat the very complicated steps:
  • Grate
  • Nuke
  • Eat
Or get fancy like I did in the pictures - toss in some herbs (in this case, parsley). Voila - herbed rice. No matter the case, it's a five-minute side dish, and it really is amazing. The next time I make this, I'm going to try an Asian-style fried rice version, and I predict great things. But for now, I'm grooving on this plain Jane variety.

So if you're watching your carb intake, or are simply looking for innovative ways to get more veggies in your diet (or to sneak them in your S.O.'s diet - or your kids' diets) - you can't beat these sneaky cauliflower maneuvers. Just try it out for kicks and giggles - it's fun to fool the ones you love.


  1. This is a very innovative idea. I've actually heard about substituting cauliflower for mashed potatoes before because I was looking for ways to get my boyfriend to eat more veggies with me, but I know it has a distinct smell, flavor, and texture. You have the solution: food processor and greek yoguart to fix consistency. He'll never know the diff. I'm going to try this this weekend! Thanks.

  2. I've done this too, and it worked! My husband had no idea he was eating cauliflower, and I was saved the carbs.