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By Bonnie Brost, licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health.
Eating Paleo or Low Carb? Cut Calories and Carbs with Cauliflower Rice
Cauliflower is showing up in new ways. Instead of just fresh florets or a steamed side dish, cauliflower is being riced and mashed. It can even become a pizza crust.
These new presentations have become popular with people who want to eat fewer calories and carbohydrates. A cup of riced cauliflower has only 25 calories and five grams of carbohydrate while white rice has 200 calories and 45 grams of carbohydrate. Cauliflower also packs more vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients than rice.
This white garden gem offers a lot of nutrition. One cup provides 80 percent of our vitamin C for a day and plenty of potassium, folate and fiber. But the real benefit is in its phytonutrients, especially glucosinolates. These tiny compounds have been proven to inhibit cancer cell growth. Cauliflower also binds bile acids, which helps lower cholesterol.
Serving riced or mashed cauliflower can boost the vegetables in our meals. Three-fourths of Americans do not get the recommended two to three cups of vegetables a day. These new presentations may be an invitation for a non-vegetable eater to give cauliflower a try.
You can find riced cauliflower in your grocer’s freezer case or you can easily make it with a fresh head of cauliflower and a food processor. To make your own, remove the cauliflower’s leaves and blemishes. Cut into small florets and place in the food processor’s bowl. Use the pulse button to chop until it looks like rice. Consider this an easy way to preserve the bounty of your garden by simply putting it in plastic bags in your freezer.
Essentia Health Tips:Three recipes to give riced cauliflower a seat of honor at your table.
Fried/Roasted Cauliflower Rice is a great alternative to traditional fried rice. A cup of traditional vegetable fried rice has 280 calories, 48 grams of carbohydrate and more than 500 milligrams of sodium. This cauliflower version has just 125 calories, 14 grams of carbohydrate and only 100 milligrams of sodium.
Cauliflower Fried/Roasted Rice
1 large head of fresh cauliflower, chopped or 1 package of frozen riced cauliflower (4 cups)
1 clove garlic, minced (1/2 teaspoon)
2 green onions, chopped
½ cup frozen peas and carrots
½ cup frozen corn
2 tablespoons sesame oil or olive oil
2 tablespoons low-sodium teriyaki sauce
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Chop fresh cauliflower into small florets and put into food processor bowl. Pulse until it looks like rice.
In a medium bowl, combine riced cauliflower, garlic, green onions, frozen vegetables and oil. Evenly spread vegetables on a large baking sheet or cake pan. Bake 15-20 minutes, until they start to brown. Remove from oven and stir in teriyaki sauce. (You can also saute and brown vegetables in a skillet instead).
Servings: 4; serving size, 1 cup; calories,125; total fat,7 grams; saturated fat,1 gram; cholesterol, 0 milligrams; sodium,100 milligrams; potassium,160 milligrams; carbohydrate,14 grams; fiber, 3 grams; protein 3 grams
Cuban Cauliflower Rice Bowl provides a colorful presentation of healthy vegetables that will wow your dinner guests.
Cuban Cauliflower Rice Bowl
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
¼ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon pepper, divided
¼ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced (1½ teaspoons)
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon dried oregano
6 cups riced cauliflower
15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 firm ripe avocado, sliced
½ cup fresh pico de gallo or fresh salsa
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss sweet potato slices in a medium bowl with 1 tablespoon of oil, 1/8 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Place on a baking sheet. Roast in oven until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Keep warm.
In a small bowl, combine orange juice, lime juice, ¼ cup cilantro, ½ teaspoon minced garlic, cumin and oregano. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon garlic. Add cauliflower, 1/8th teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook and stir until softened, 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in ¼ cup cilantro.
To serve, divide cauliflower rice among four bowls. Top with sweet potato, black beans, sliced avocado and pico de gallo. Drizzle with mojo (orange juice) sauce.
Servings: 4; calories, 300; total fat, 12 grams; saturated fat, 2 grams; cholesterol. 0 milligrams; sodium, 300 milligrams; potassium, 950 milligrams; carbohydrate, 39 grams; fiber, 15 grams; protein, 12 grams; fiber, 12 grams.
Essentia Health Tips: Cauliflower Crust Vegetable Pizza
Cauliflower Crust Vegetable Pizza is much lower in calories, carbohydrates and sodium than a traditional pizza while being loaded with potassium, protein and calcium.
Cauliflower Crust Vegetable Pizza
½ large head of cauliflower, cut into florets; 2 cups fresh or frozen cauliflower florets or riced cauliflower
¼ cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar or Colby cheese
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons basil
½ cup pizza or pasta sauce
Chopped fresh vegetables such as mushrooms, onions, pepper, spinach
¼ cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roast cauliflower for about 20 minutes. Place roasted cauliflower in food processor with egg and shredded cheddar cheese; process until smooth. Spread cauliflower mixture on to a pizza pan. Sprinkle with basil and oregano. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven. Spread on pizza sauce. Top with chopped vegetables of your choice. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Return to oven and bake for 5-10 minutes, until cheese melts.
Servings: 3; calories, 120; total fat 5 grams; saturated fat, 2 grams; cholesterol, 70 milligrams; sodium, 200 milligrams; potassium, 400 milligrams; carbohydrates, 7 grams; fiber, 2 grams; protein, 10 grams; calcium, 140 milligrams.
Bonnie Brost is a licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health