Recently, we discovered how healthy cauliflower is for you. Not only is it low in calories, but cauliflower is packed with healthy nutrients and loaded with antioxidants that can help fight illnesses. So, it can keep you healthier and help you to lose weight in a healthy way!
But perhaps our favorite strength of cauliflower is just how versatile it is. The adaptable texture and light flavor of this vegetable allows it to be used seamlessly in a multitude of dishes without you ever really noticing. What this means for dieters is that it can be used as a mimic for otherwise unhealthy or fattening dishes without even missing the ingredient that it’s replacing. You can simply roast cauliflower and it’ll be delicious, or you can get a little more creative with it!
Cauliflower Fried Rice
Fried rice is a classic dish in Chinese cuisine that is also pretty simple to make at home without compromising on the quality or taste. It’s also perfect for leftovers, since the rice doesn’t have to be freshly made that day. Traditionally, fried rice is cooked with a lot of fats and oils that, while not specifically unhealthy in the right contexts, aren’t great for our bodies. The average portion of fried rice also tends to be high in sodium and calories.
A big part of why fried rice can be so fattening is the white rice that tends to be used, since it’s high in calories and carbs while being low in fiber. Luckily, riced cauliflower is a simple alternative to white rice that is lower in calories and carbohydrates, but high in fiber. Check out the recipe below to learn how to make both riced cauliflower and fried cauliflower rice!
Riced Cauliflower Recipe
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- Wash the cauliflower under running water before drying with a paper towel.
- Clean the cauliflower head with a sharp knife, removing any green leaves or stalks.
- Cut the cauliflower head into large quarters.
- Using a food processor or grater, break down the cauliflower quarters into small, rice-sized pieces. (If you use a food processor, you may need to cut the cauliflower head into eighths instead of quarters.)
- Line a large bowl with paper towels and pour the riced cauliflower into the bowl.
- Lay a paper towel overtop the cauliflower and press the rice to absorb any extra water that’s in the riced cauliflower.
- Use in a dish or freeze in a freezer-safe bag.
Healthy Cauliflower Fried Rice Recipe
- 2 cups of riced cauliflower
- 2 tbsp of toasted sesame oil
- 2 egg whites
- ½ cup of frozen peas
- ½ cup of frozen carrots
- ¼ cup of frozen corn
- ¼ cup of chopped onions
- 2 cloves of garlic, diced
- 3 tbsp of low sodium soy sauce, more to taste
- Heat a large skillet over medium low heat, and add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil.
- Sauté the onions, garlic, carrots, peas, and corn until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant, but not burned.
- Add the remaining sesame oil, the soy sauce, and cauliflower. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring regularly, until the cauliflower rice is tender-crisp (lightly crunchy on the outside, but still soft inside).
- Make a well in the center of the skillet, and add the egg whites, scrambling as they cook, before combining with the rest of the ingredients.
- Serve immediately with optional additional soy sauce to taste.
Cauliflower “Chicken” Wings
Chicken wings are delicious. They are a quintessential “game day” food, or even just a night out food. But, they’re also incredibly fattening, where a single wing can be 250 calories. We’ve listed a few ways that you can improve your traditional chicken wings, like removing the skin or baking the wings. But you can take this a step further by making the wings vegetarian and cutting the calorie count even more.
By taking cauliflower florets, lightly battering them, and baking them in the oven, you can achieve a similar flavor and texture without all those calories. To top it off, this is a dish that your vegetarian and vegan friends can even enjoy (depending on your sauce of choice, of course)!
Spicy Cauliflower Wings Recipe
- ¾ cup of flour
- 2 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of pepper
- 3 tsp of garlic powder
- 2 tsp of dried parsley
- 1 tsp of onion powder
- 1 ¼ cup of water
- 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into 1 to 2-inch florets
- ½ cup of hot sauce or sauce of your choice
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Add the flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried parsley, and onion powder to a large bowl.
- Slowly stir in the water until the dry mix has reached the consistency of pancake batter.
- Add the cauliflower florets and lightly coat in the batter.
- Place the battered florets on a baking sheet lined with tin foil.
- Bake in the oven until the cauliflower is crispy and golden-brown on the outside, roughly 20 minutes (flipping after 10 minutes).
- Remove from the oven a toss in a sauce of your choice before serving hot.
Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is one of those classic comfort dishes that is tasty and simple to make. Whoever you are, there’s likely one version of it that will bring a smile to your face. Unfortunately, it’s also pretty fattening. The two main ingredients, macaroni and cheese, pack in the calories. Similar to chicken wings, we’ve covered ways to make it a bit healthier, too.
But, if you’re looking to improve your mac and cheese game even further, adding in another superfood like cauliflower is your answer. Not only can cauliflower mimic the crunch of al dente pasta, but it’ll pair well with the cheese. At the same time, it’ll offer all the health benefits of cauliflower.
Cauliflower Mac & Cheese Recipe
- 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into ½-inch florets
- 1 tbsp of butter
- 3 tbsp of flour
- 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- ½ cup of mild cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 cups of 2 percent milk
- 1 tbsp of onion powder
- 1 cup of breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Bring roughly 1 ½ cups of salted water to a boil in a large pot.
- Add the cauliflower florets, and boil for 4 to 6 minutes, until they are softened, but still crisp (al dente if they were pasta).
- Drain the florets, and set aside.
- At the same time, melt the butter over medium-low heat in a saucepan.
- Stir in the flour, reducing the heat to low.
- While stirring, heat on low for 3 to 5 minutes, ensuring that the roux (the butter and flour mix) is smooth and lump-free.
- Stir in the milk and onion powder, and bring to a light simmer.
- Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add the ¾ cup of the sharp cheddar and ¼ cup of mild cheddar, stirring until the cheese has melted.
- In a large, greased baking dish, spread the cauliflower florets before pouring the cheese sauce overtop the florets, stirring to ensure they’re completely coted and mixed
- Sprinkle remaining cheese and breadcrumbs over the cauliflower and cheese mixture.
- Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is browned.
- Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.