With some easy advance prep, this is a Whole 30 compliant / Paleo meal that comes together quickly. The cast:
- Nom Nom Paleo’s Asian meatballs (made more multi-cultural by replacing the cilantro with parsley and omitting the fish sauce);
- A homemade or otherwise sugar-free marinara (this is the recipe I use);
- Zucchini noodles made with this nifty spiralizing tool.
One yummy, tasty, Whole30 dinner!
For the side dish: Roasted cauliflower from Simply Recipes – to make it Whole30 compliant, skip the Parm but sprinkle the cauliflower with garlic salt and Italian seasoning mix.
Make sure the seasoning mix is sugar free, corn free, etc. Better yet, make your own. You can find plenty of recipes, but in a pinch, just throw together some dried basil and oregano in generous portions, some garlic powder, and then a little rosemary, thyme, and/or marjoram, if you’ve got ’em.
How to make this an easy, throw-together weeknight meal: Make up a whole batch (or two) of the nom nom meatballs on your day off, and keep them in the freezer in serving-size packs. Four per person works nicely in our house. Make up a batch (or two) of that easy marinara sauce, and freeze it in one- or two-cup units. Cut up the cauliflower the night before, if you want to save that time. Then everything comes together quickly at the last minute!
And — did I mention — yummy?
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And a couple just for fun…
Cauliflower Sheep (I haven’t been able to track down the original post for this. If you know it, let me know and I’ll post it.)
If you’ve done the South Beach Diet or otherwise gone low carb for a while, you’re probably familiar with the “Surprise” Mashed Potatoes that are really pureed cauliflower. We make this dish frequently, and we’ve had our share of hits and misses. Here are a few tips for making them more like the real thing.
Steam, don’t boil. Since cauliflower have many tiny crevices, they tend to act like a sponge when they’re immersed in water. And too much water will make your faux-tatoes runny. Steaming them avoids this problem.
Don’t add milk or cream. You want to keep them as thick as possible; adding any liquid whatsoever will undermine that goal.
Do add some dairy fat. Sorry, South Beach, this is where we part ways! I think that some butter and/or cream cheese is necessary to give this concoction that creamy feel in the mouth that real mashed potatoes have.
Use a stick blender. This isn’t so much for taste as for efficiency. Forget pouring everything out of the pot into a food processor or traditional blender, and then having to wash all the parts. Use a stick blender. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend it! It’s one of those things I wonder how I lived without.
And one secret weapon. Roasted garlic adds an element of earthiness that above-ground plants lack. It also adds a color depth and textural element that mimics potatoes with a little bit of skin included in the mashing. We’re lucky enough to have a nearby grocery that offers roasted garlic among the deli offerings, but if you’re not so lucky, you could always make your own.
Here are the proportions I used for the depicted bowl of “not mashed potatoes.” (With apologies to Monsieur Magritte.)
Roasted Garlic “Mashed Potatoes”
1 head of cauliflower
3 – 6 T. butter,
4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 c. roasted garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the cauliflower head into florets, and the narrower parts of the stem into about 1/8″ slices. Steam it all until very soft; you should be able to cut through a floret with a blunt mixing spoon.
Pour off the water you used for steaming. Make sure the pan is completely dry. Return the pan to the burner over medium-low, and add the butter and/or cream cheese. Stir until it’s mostly melted.
Add the cauliflower and the garlic to the pan, and using a stick blender, puree until the texture is to your liking.
Taste, and add salt, pepper, and/or more butter or cheese to taste. Serve immediately.
|photo by Kalyn’s Kitchen|
Twice-baked cauliflower? — Yes, this is every bit as delicious as a twice-baked potato!
Whether you’re trying to cut down on carbs, or trying to sneak more healthy veggies into your kids’ meals, or just want to play a trick on someone who says they hate cauliflower (perhaps your own taste buds?), this is your ticket.
In Kalyn’s updated version of this dish, she uses reduced fat cream cheese and sour cream, but me, I use the real stuff. Do as your own conscience allows, though.
Kalyn’s recipe calls for completely mashing the cauliflower — which I think would peg the comfort food scale! — but I wanted a chunkier texture than the mixer would get me, so I used a pastry blender. Worked great!
If you try this dish and fool someone into thinking it’s really potatoes, let me know. I bet you can pull it off!
(Note: this recipe is not Paleo, unless you are “primal” and allow dairy.)