Early last week, I made one of my favorite pasta dishes and proceeded to eat three bowls of it. Atkins diet supporters would have cringed at the sight of me overdosing on heaping servings of warm, saucy noodles. Though I rarely feel guilty about eating too much of anything that tastes amazing, my stomach compensated for my lack of remorse and felt as if it were expanding like a balloon on a helium tank. The effects of my carbo-binging carried over into the next day when I could barely get out of bed, and wished to hide under the covers at the thought of trying to button my work pants.
Two days later, I was back to normal and felt I could reward myself with a healthy, yet hearty, home cooked meal of good, old-fashioned steak and potatoes. The guilt that failed to set in after my weeknight Italian feast a few nights prior reared its ugly head and scolded me for even thinking a starchy side would be smart. Not willing to sacrifice the flavor I was hoping for, I decided to get creative and trick my tastebuds into thinking I was indulging yet again.
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
¼ cup of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
½ tsp. of salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. butter
¼ cup of heavy cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, Fahrenheit and line a cookie sheet with foil. Whisk together olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss mixture with cauliflower florets. Pour onto the cookie sheet in one layer and roast for about 45 minutes. Toss the mixture every 10 – 15 minutes, allowing the cauliflower to brown, yet being careful it does not burn. When the florets are soft enough to mash with a fork, remove from the oven and add to a food processor. Pulse the florets until they become the size of peas. Add butter and heavy cream, and continue fully processing until smooth. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
There are countless ways to unleash your creativity and substitute ingredients in recipes, especially if the point is to create a more nutritious dish. Mashed cauliflower is a stand in for mashed potatoes, and it is pretty much for anyone who simply appreciates anything edible and delicious; though the cauliflower is a healthy understudy for potatoes, this recipe is not just for the health conscious. In doing research, I found many recipes like this with instructions to steam the cauliflower; however, this step would unleash more liquid, creating a watered down end result. Roasting the cauliflower enhances the natural, earthy flavor the vegetable offers, and creates an appealing caramelized color. Butter and cream help create a creamy texture to the mashed cauliflower and add a rich flavor without compromising the nutritional value.
If the description of the recipe isn’t enough to sell you, cauliflower, like most cruciferous vegetables, is extremely high in Vitamin C, a great source of dietary fiber and includes cancer fighting compounds…which makes it okay to have dessert, right?