by Melinda D. Maryniuk, MEd, RD, CDE 

Cauliflower is a tasty, low-calorie, low-carb veggie that is a terrific substitute for starchier side dishes such as potatoes or rice. High in fiber and nutrients (such as vitamin C), cauliflower can be steamed, roasted, or stir-fried. It can be enjoyed raw as a snack (with your favorite low-calorie dip) or baked whole, sliced into “steaks”, or cut into smaller chunks called “florets”. Using a food processor, you can turn it into “rice” by pulsing the florets a few times.

Some grocery stores now offer cauliflower convenience products such as fresh riced cauliflower in the produce or frozen sections, cauliflower pizza crusts  and “caulicreme” a pureed blend of cauliflower that serves as a low-carb, low-calorie sauce or topping for veggies or pasta!  As always, check the food label!  Some products may be high in calories if there are additional ingredients such as cheese and oil.

Try some of these low-calorie, low-carb recipes to add more cauliflower into your diet!

Cauliflower Soup

Nutrition Facts: Makes 6 (1 cup) servings. Carbs: 10 grams per serving;  Calories: 115 per serving.

½ -1 cup chopped white onion

1 tsp olive oil

1 medium head cauliflower, separated into florets

5-6 cups chicken broth

Sauté the onion in the olive oil until lightly browned. Add cauliflower and chicken broth (I like to start with less broth and add more as needed). Cook until tender. Puree with an immersion blender or food processor. Add more liquid if thinner soup is desired. Top with chives and more black pepper.

Spicy Cauliflower Poppers

Nutrition Facts: Makes 4 (1 cup) servings Carbs: 5 grams per serving Calories: 25 per serving

1 medium head cauliflower, separated into florets

½ tsp chili (or more to taste)

½ tsp cumin

1/8 tsp red pepper (for more spice!)

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine spices, salt and pepper and sprinkle over cauliflower florets. Place on a baking sheet that has been covered with foil and sprayed with a non-stick oil spray. Bake for 20 minutes until tender but not mushy.

Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes”

Nutrition Facts: Makes 4- (3/4 cup) servings Carbs: 8 grams per serving Calories: 60 per servings

1 medium whole cauliflower

3-4 cloves garlic (if desired)

1/3 cup non-fat buttermilk (or regular low-fat milk works too)

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

1 tsp butter

½ tsp salt and pepper

Optional: parmesan cheese, low-fat sour cream, chives

Steam cauliflower and garlic in a steamer basket. Cover and cook until very tender (15-20 minutes). Place drained mixture in a food processor (or bowl if using an immersion blender), add buttermilk, 2 tsp EVOO, butter, salt and pepper. Pulse several times and then blend until smooth and creamy.  Optional:  Add additional flavorings just as you would with mashed potatoes such as:  a sprinkle of chopped chives, 1-2 Tbsp parmesan cheese or low-fat sour cream and additional salt and pepper to taste.

Cauliflower “Steaks”

 Nutrition Facts: Makes 4- (1) slices servings Carbs: 12 per serving Calories: 175 per serving

1 large head cauliflower, sliced lengthwise through the core into 4 “steaks”

¼ cup olive oil

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

2-3 cloves crushed garlic

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)

1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)

1/4 tsp black pepper (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil (with a light spray of non-stick oil) or parchment paper.  Place cauliflower steaks on the foil.  Whisk together olive oil, garlic, and seasonings in a bowl.  Brush ½ of the mixture over the tops of the steaks. Roast for 15 minutes. Gently turn over each piece using a spatula and brush with remaining oil mixture. Continue roasting about 15 minutes more until tender and golden. Serve right away.  (This is also delicious grilled if you don’t want to heat up the oven.)


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