Following a low-carbohydrate or ultra-low-carbohydrate diet means saying a sad goodbye to pasta, potatoes, and rice. That’s what I did one year ago. Did I miss them? Sure.
Did I take time to figure out carb-worthy workarounds? You betcha.
Over this past year, I’ve shared some recipes that made cauliflower the core instead of pasta, like my no mac & cheese (dailyherald.com/entlife/20200122/no-mac-amp-cheese).
Cauliflower has a neutral flavor profile, except when over cooked. I’ve prepared cauliflower by oven-roasting, stove-top pan roasting with some olive oil and simply steaming, as well as making cauliflower rice for Asian dishes. All worked well, and I loved the flavorful outcome of each.
Twenty years ago, when Dr. Atkins renewed his quest to prove that low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets were a healthy path to losing weight, a friend, following that dietary path, made mashed cauliflower for dinner as a mashed potato substitute. I was not impressed, especially since it had loads of butter and heavy whipping cream, and I was a low-fat food plan enthusiast.
Flash forward nearly 20 years, and I’m following a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. Interesting.
Once in a while, I make what I call “Sunday Supper.” That meal doesn’t necessarily have to be on Sunday, yet often is. Sunday suppers are often defined as a true family meal with an oven-roasted chicken at its center, a veggie (usually green beans), and mashed potatoes and gravy. A special dessert, frequently cake or pie, puts an old-time finish to the meal.
Since I have more time available for cooking on Sundays versus weekdays, I often put together what we still call: “Sunday Supper.” Generally, we define it as a “big” meal with complexly prepared components. Sometimes it’s chicken; other times, not.
Last Sunday, I had two beautiful, thick-cut pastured pork chops just waiting to land on a Sunday dinner plate. Sunday suppers of the past would demand mashed potatoes with green beans on the side. Since potatoes of any kind are now excluded from my food plan, no mashed potatoes.
That’s when I thought that mashed cauliflower could be a great potato substitute.
First, I cooked florets from a cauliflower head in a little water for about 10 minutes, until they were easily pierced with a sharp knife.
After draining, to keep them from being too wet, I let them sit it the drainer for 2 minutes to let off steam.
I got out my food processor, organic heavy whipping cream and butter and seasonings. I transferred the cooked cauliflower to my food processor and added whipping cream, butter, salt, white pepper, and dried parsley and processed for about 30 seconds. After tasting, I added some of everything and processed it again until almost smooth.
After the second taste, I wondered if someone who didn’t know this was cauliflower, would even know since the smooth texture didn’t give it away.
My new mashed cauliflower was served with green beans almondine and pan-seared pork chop. I drizzled some of the pork chop pan drippings over the mashed cauliflower, topping it with a butter pat.
Was it good? OMG, it was better than good.
Using cauliflower as a potato substitute trimmed nearly 17 carbohydrate grams (22 versus 5) and 68 calories (93 versus 25) per 100 grams.
This Can’t Be Cauliflower
1 medium head of cauliflower (about 1½ to 1¾ pounds), stem and leaves removed and chopped
1/3 cup (or more) organic heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons organic unsalted butter
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
¾ teaspoon sea salt
¾ teaspoon ground white pepper
Add ¼-inch of water (bottled preferred) to a 5-quart saucepan. Add cauliflower and cover. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until florets are easily pierced with a sharp knife, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a colander and let drain for 2 minutes.
Transfer to a food processor and add the whipping cream, butter, parsley, salt, and pepper — purée for about 30 seconds. Remove the processor’s cover, taste, and add salt or pepper and puree until smooth.
Nutrition values per serving: 103 calories(78 percent from fat), 8.9 g fat(5.5 g saturated fat), 5.2 g carbohydrates (3.3 net carbs), 1.9 g sugars, 1.9 g fiber, 2.2 g protein, 28 mg cholesterol, 325 mg sodium.
Add-ins: Substitute some full-fat sour cream for some of the whipping cream, or dust with grated Parmesan cheese. Both make solid additions and are keto-friendly.