This week The Living Food Kitchen gives you five delicious and super-healthy alternatives to pasta, rice and bread.
Often we revert to cooking pasta or rice, or eating bread because we think it’s easy or fast. But every now and then – even if you are not gluten intolerant – it’s good to mix it up a little. You’ll be surprised how easy these super-nutritious alternatives are. What’s more they are so delicious, before you know it you’ll have them incorporated into your cooking regime.
1) Cauliflower rice
Who would have thought you could make a good rice substitute with the boring-looking brassica, which always gets left behind in the veg drawer, because let’s face it, broccoli will always win out? Certainly not us before we tried it. But this 100% vegetable alternative to rice is utterly delicious, just as versatile as rice but with a much lower carb count. What’s more it is full of beneficial phytochemicals and high in vitamin C.
- Blitz a cauliflower head in a food processor, or grate it on the coarse side of your grater.
- Once grated, you don’t have to stick to the plain old ‘boiled rice’ approach. You can cook it in coconut milk, or make pilaf-style rice, using raisins, turmeric and almonds.
- The cooking is much faster than rice, as the cauliflower just needs to steam for 3-6 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like it.
Check out Hemsley and Hemsley’s cookbook, The Art of Eating Well for some great cauliflower recipes.
2) Cauliflower mash
Now that we’ve shown you a whole new side to this vegetable, which has to date only been championed in the 1970s classic “cauliflower cheese”, you can go crazy and prepare it in a variety of different ways. At The Living Food Kitchen, we particularly love cauliflower mash. It’s comforting, lo-carb, goes well with everything and is so easy to make. And best of all – you don’t even need to get the peeler out.
- Just steam the florets for 8 minutes and mash them up.
- Just as you would with traditional mash, you can mix your favourite flavours through it, be it garlic, mustard and leek sauce, wasabi paste… Basically, the world is your cauliflower.
Good news, you no longer have to feel bloated and full after eating spaghetti. All you need to do is replace the heavy, glutenous durum wheat-based strands with ribbons of “courgetti” or courgettes. It will look the same on your plate, taste only marginally different, but make you feel much lighter and healthier. You may want to buy yourself a spiralizer – a clever little cutting device, which helps shape your vegetables into spaghetti-shaped ribbons – or you can just use a standard peeler to create wider pappardelle-style shapes. You can spiralize all sorts of vegetables: butternut squash, carrots etc. Once “pasta-rized” and cooked al dente just add your favourite sauce.
- Just spiralize a courgette using a peeler or spiralizer. The courgettes will soften once stirred into your sauce.
4) Cauliflower toastie
The London-based chef Tess Ward, who is a fan of mindful indulgence, has been making headlines with her cauliflower bread toasties. You might be thinking, surely you can’t replace a toastie with mushed up veg? But we’re telling you, you can. And it will taste just as luxurious and naughty.
- Simply mix cooked cauliflower rice with a beaten egg, 25gr of grated Parmesan and 25gr of grated Comté, Appenzeller or mature cheddar and a pinch of salt.
- Spread the mixture onto a lined baking tray and create 4 toast-shaped squares.
- Bake the “bread” at 220 degrees for 10-12mins or until golden, then let cool down.
- Finally, fill your toastie with whatever floats your boat.
For more inspiring recipes by Tess Ward, check out her book The Naked Diet, which focuses on stripping diets down to their bare ingredients.
5) The “not bread” bread loaf
You might as well start dancing now because we are about to introduce you to a gluten-free, nutrient dense bread, which looks and smells so delicious it can easily be mistaken for your traditional rustic loaf. Well, in truth we have the Hemsley sisters to thank, they call this recipe one of their triumphs and we are inclined to agree. At the core of this “not bread” loaf is 1 large sweet potato, 110g buckwheat flour, ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1tbsp ground flaxseed, 2 tbsp lemon juice and ½ teaspoon salt.
- Slice sweet potato in half and bake until tender, remove skin, weigh out 200gr and blend in food processor.
- Mix in rest of ingredients until smooth, knead in seeds (60g pumpkin seeds, 60gr sunflower seeds, 60gr sesame seeds).
- Shape into a loaf using floured hands and make shallow slices along top. Bake for 40mins at 180° until golden.
For more gluten-free ideas, check out Hemsley and Hemsley’s cookbook, The Art of Eating Well.