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Re-imagining Your Vegetables : Starring the lovely Cauliflower

When your brain is flexing its memory muscle and giving you a hankering for carbs as your side to your protein, fool it by recreating one of your carb favorites substituting the carb with a vegetable.

One of the star vegetables in fooling the brain and satisfying your appetite and taste buds is the cauliflower. Substantial, white like a potato and rice, this vegetable is a master at disguises!

Grate it and sauté it with a little butter or coconut oil, a quarter cup to half cup of vegetable or chicken broth, a little salt, maybe some chopped up herbs, onions, or with pesto sauce, or other vegetables, just until it is al dente, and top it with a stew, curry or just beside your roast chicken, and voila – your brain can be fooled into thinking its eating rice and the cauliflower absorbs the sauce nicely just like rice.  Visually it certainly can look like rice…can you tell it’s not rice from the photo below?


Mashed cauliflower, is also very reminiscent of mashed potatoes, and goes very well with roast chicken, roast beef, turkey or steak.

Recipe: Twice Cooked Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower (serves 6 to 8 as a side)


1 head of cauliflower, pulled apart into little florets or cut into pieces

4 ounces creamed cheese

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (plus more for greasing a casserole dish)

1/3 cup of sour cream

Optional: 4 strips of bacon fried crisp and crumbled.

1/4 cup of grated Parmesan

1/4 cup grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese


Fill a large pot halfway with water, add in the tablespoon of salt and bring to a rolling boil over high heat.  Add in cauliflower, the boiling will subside, when it starts bubbling again, turn heat down to medium.  Boil the cauliflower until it is tender (15 – 20 minutes).

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Once the cauliflower is tender, turn off the stove and throw the cauliflower in a colander in your sink to drain off the water.  Return the drained cauliflower to the pot.

Add in the creamed cheese, butter, sour cream, teaspoon of salt, black pepper and mash with a potato masher, until the cauliflower pieces are pretty small and the mixture looks like lumpy mashed potatoes.  Stir in bacon crumbles if using. Taste to see if you would like to add more salt or pepper.

Grease an oven-safe casserole dish with some butter or spray with a non-stick spray.  Spoon in your mashed cauliflower mixture and evenly spread it in the dish.  Sprinkle top with the Parmesan and Cheddar.  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the top is bubbling and slightly browned, check it at the 10 minute mark to see if it needs to cook longer.

Remove from oven, allow to cool 5 minutes, then serve and enjoy!


Risotto anyone? Grated cauliflower steps in again as the hero to make this comfort food low-carb or carb-free, depending on what you put in it.

Recipe: Basil Pesto Cauliflower “Risotto” (serves 6 as a side)


3 cloves of garlic chopped

3 cups basil leaves chopped

3/4 cup of olive oil

1 teaspoon of lemon zest

1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to to sprinkle on top when serving

1 head of cauliflower grated (fast and easy in a food processor)

1/4 – 1/2 cup of chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

fresh basil leaves for garnish


In a food processor (with the blade attachment) or blender, combine the basil leaves, garlic, olive oil, half cup of Parmesan, lemon zest, salt and pepper, blend until all combined and all the leaves are finely chopped.

Put basil mixture in  a medium to large size pot over medium-high heat.  When the mixture starts to bubble add in the grated cauliflower and turn heat to medium.  Do not cover with a lid, as you do not want the cauliflower to steam and get mushy.  Stir and add in 1/4 cup of the stock and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan.   The liquid should not be more than half way up the side of the cauliflower, but if liquid does not cover the surface of the pan, add more stock. Keep stirring every 5 to 10 minutes, and when the cauliflower becomes al dente (just tender), taste to see if it needs more salt, pepper or Parmesan, and add in if it does.  Remove from heat. Put in a bowl, sprinkle with more Parmesan and garnish with basil leaves.  Serve along side your protein of choice or eat on its own.  Buon appetito!