In case you haven’t noticed by now, I’m constantly looking for clever ways to make foods healthier by using substitutions, for example, using Greek yogurt or avocado in desserts. So when I found out you could make mashed potatoes using a healthy vegetable, I was very intrigued. Mashed potatoes are the ultimate Thanksgiving comfort food. However, even though potatoes are a vegetable, they are very starchy and even less healthy when butter and cream are added.
Cauliflower, on the other hand, is full of vitamins and minerals and has numerous health benefits. Because it doesn’t have much flavor, when it is steamed and blended it’s not that much different from real mashed potatoes. For flavor, add some Parmesan cheese, garlic, and herbs. This magical veggie can also be used to disguise carbs in other dishes such as cauliflower crust and cauliflower fried rice.
The cauliflower version is actually easier than mashing real potatoes since all you need is a blender, saving your arm from a serious work-out. It tastes best when combined with meat, fish, or other protein. If you’re skeptical about cauliflower mashed “potatoes” or think it’s too extreme, you can mix the blended cauliflower with your regular mashed potatoes. For more healthier alternatives to Thanksgiving recipes, check out this article on Spoon University. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- pinch salt and pepper
- Gather ingredients and boil a pot of water.
- Cut cauliflower into florets and place in a steamer. Steam for 10 minutes until tender. (If you don’t have a steamer, place cauliflower in a bowl with just enough water to cover the bottom of the bowl. Cover bowl with a paper towel and microwave for 4-5 minutes.)
- Heat olive oil in a small skillet. Smash garlic and cook for 1 minute on each side on medium heat until browned.
- Put steamed cauliflower in a food processor, along with garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Blend well.
Something I never foresaw when I started this blog was being featured nationally. Shortly after the article from my university, a reporter from NPR contacted me for an interview and published an awesome article about my blog. My mind was blown away as I saw the number of viewers increase exponentially and especially when friends from high school were telling me they stumbled upon the article on NPR’s website.
As more attention has been directed to this blog, I’ve been thinking about the direction that it’s going in. Most people are fascinated by the fact that I strive to create recipes that are healthy, something that many people aim to be and what college meals are not exactly known for. I’ll admit that a lot of the desserts I make are not healthy on their own, but rather are healthier alternatives to what they could have been. As much fun as it can be to make desserts healthier with all kinds of crazy substitutions, I’ve started to try to cook more healthy, quick dishes for lunch and dinner.
I’ve gotten quite a few requests for vegan/vegetarian dishes. Well, here is a dish that is actually downright healthy, requiring few ingredients and can be made in minutes. Vegetable pastas have been becoming very trendy in the foodie world. I first made this “zucchetti” in my dorm when I was studying abroad. Sometimes after traveling and eating my way through Europe, I would feel the urge for a detox/cleansing period where all I wanted to eat was vegetables. This is an excellent way to eat lots of vegetables and for a low-carb diet. I was actually inspired by a small food booth in Copenhagen called PALÆO, which had a delicious vegetable spaghetti with meat sauce.
The easiest tool for making zucchini spaghetti is a spiralizer but I used a julienne peeler, which worked just fine. I sauteed the zucchini in a pan, but you can also eat it raw if you want more crunch. I liked the zucchini spaghetti with just pesto; however, you can add meat or vegetables to it!
- 2 zucchinis
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons pesto sauce
- salt and pepper
- Using a julienne peeler, peel zucchini vertically in strips all around the zucchini until you reach the seeds. (Toss the seed core away).
- Heat olive oil in a pan. Add the strips of zucchini and quickly sautee for about a minute (until just tender).
- Turn off the heat and add pesto. Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.