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.
I’m not proud to admit that my first attempt at making pecan pie resulted in some variation of maple syrup flavored eggs…ew. I tried heat up the pecan pie filling in a sauce pan and poured in the eggs too quickly, so that they didn’t blend evenly and ended up being cooked egg on its own. I was disgusted, disappointed, and decided to settle for an easier recipe.
Pecan pie cannot get any easier than this. You simply mix the ingredients all together, pour the mixture into a pre-made crust, and bake. There’s no “pre-baked pie crust” or “heating the pie filling before” business involved. And you’re still magically left with a delicious, ooey-gooey pecan pie.
I made this pie back home in Boston for Thanksgiving. It was definitely a well-needed break and I enjoyed every second of it. I went to the Cape with my family, had tea with them in Boston, did plenty of shopping, got to bake (with a REAL oven finally!), and saw the new Hunger Games movie!
EASY PECAN PIE
2 cups pecans
1 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll refrigerated pie crust into 9-inch pie pan.
Roughly chop pecans and roast for 7 minutes.
In a medium bowl, beat eggs. Stir in maple syrup, butter, and vanilla extract.
Add brown sugar, flour, and the pecans. Mix well.
Optional: Before putting pie into oven, decorate with unchopped pecans on the top of the pie.
Bake for 50-60 minutes so that a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the pie.