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Mashed Cauliflower

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I seriously love mashed potatoes but I also love being healthy. If I can seamlessly swap a vegetable into my meal in place of a carbohydrate then I am going to do it!

Mashed Cauliflower 1

When I first heard about mashed cauliflower I was a bit skeptical. I never really liked cauliflower much so I wasn’t sure how it could fill in for something that I reeeeaaallly enjoyed.  Given that cauliflower is nutritionally better than white potatoes I figured I should at least give it a try. I prepared it one night for the first time, probably about a year ago, with some salisbury steak. The mashed cauliflower was sweeter than mashed potatoes, but other than that there was no difference. It was still smooth and creamy, and really, the sweetness was only very slight. Overall, the result was good enough that I have gone back and made mashed cauliflower over and over again in the past year (like in this casserole I posted a few weeks ago).

Making mashed cauliflower is easy. I cut the the cauliflower head into florets and boil them in a large pot until they are soft. Once the cauliflower is cooked and drained I use my immersion blender to make it smooth and and silky. I add in some greek yogurt for consistency, and garlic powder and salt for taste. I serve it topped with sliced green onions or chopped parsley.

Mashed Cauliflower 2

In my year of experimenting with mashed cauliflower I’ve found that the size of a head can really vary. Depending on which grocery stores I go to, whether I get the organic brand or not, just the time of year, I may end up with a larger or smaller head of cauliflower. For this reason, consider the measurements for greek yogurt, garlic powder and salt just a starting point. When you’re trying this recipe, add in the measurements listed, then taste a bit, and add more as necessary. If the consistency isn’t quite as smooth as you’d like add more of the greek yogurt. If you’re not happy with the flavor add more of the garlic powder or salt. If there is anything else that you usually add to your mashed potatoes, go ahead and put that in. Keep in mind that if you are topping the potatoes with gravy those flavors will mask a lot of the cauliflower flavor.

If you haven’t jumped on the mashed cauliflower bandwagon yet, I urge you to give it a try. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how good this veggie can taste!

Mashed Cauliflower 3

Mashed Cauliflower

The measurements listed for greek yogurt, garlic powder, and salt are just a starting point. Add more depending on your tastes.
 
Ingredients
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 3 Tbs greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Directions
  1. Place the cauliflower florets into a large pot and fill with water so that all of the cauliflower is covered. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until the cauliflower is very soft (test with a fork), about 20 – 30 minutes depending on the size of the florets.
  2. Drain the cauliflower and place back in the pan or into a serving bowl. Using an immersion blender (or use a food processor or blender), blend the cauliflower until all lumps are gone.
  3. Add in the greek yogurt, garlic powder, and salt and blend until combined. Taste test, and add more greek yogurt, salt, or garlic powder if  desired.
  4. Serving options: top with chopped parsley or green onions.
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Bangers & Mash Casserole

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This is a healthy casserole. It sounds like it should be unhealthy, it tastes like it should be unhealthy, but it is actually good for you.

Bangers and Mash is a delicious British dish made of sausage and mashed potatoes. Whenever I’ve seen it at restaurants its been very simple; a few sausages on top of a bed of mashed potatoes. There may be some gravy poured over it or a side of veggies, but nothing much different from that.  Bangers and Mash is actually a pretty good meal option for someone on a gluten free diet because most mashed potatoes and sausage are naturally gluten free. I’ve even been surprised at the number of restaurants that make all of their gravies with cornstarch, making that naturally gluten free, too.

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Sausage and mashed potatoes are not exactly the healthiest foods in the world so I made a few swaps to get this casserole up to a more healthy level. For the sausage, I used all natural chicken sausage. Both Al Fresco and Aidells have a full line of flavors in their natural chicken sausages. I’ve tried a few flavor varieties and the best results have been with a cajun flavored sausage. The spicy sausage against the smooth and creamy mash is a great combination. Of course, with all of the sausage flavor options out there I am sure that there are some other great combinations. I just happen to be a fan of spicy foods.

To healthify the mash part of the casserole I swapped the potatoes for cauliflower. Cauliflower is much healthier than potatoes and mashes up to be just as smooth and creamy in texture. There’s a bit of a taste difference between the two, but with all of the other flavors going on in this casserole any flavor from the cauliflower is overpowered.

If the cauliflower wasn’t healthy enough for you, there’s also a quiche layer on the very bottom of the casserole filled with eggs, spinach, and onions. Sure, there’s a little mozzarella cheese in there, too, but what would a casserole be without just a little cheese?!

Surprisingly, with three layers, this casserole won’t take all day to prepare. While the cauliflower is boiling you’ll whip up the quiche layer and brown the sauages. Once those are laid out in the casserole pan you drain and mash the cauliflower, spread it on top, and pop the whole dish in the oven.

Bangers and Mash Casserole

Ingredients
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 Tbs plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 fully cooked, cajun flavored chicken sausage
  • 5 eggs
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbs all purpose GF flour
  • 2 c chopped spinach
  • 3/4 c shredded mozzarella
  • 1/3 c green onions, sliced
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Cut the cauliflower into florets and place in the large pot of water. Bring to a boil, and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until very soft.
  3. While the cauliflower is cooking whisk the eggs together. When the eggs are combined whisk in the baking powder, salt (3/4 tsp), and flour. Stir in the spinach, mozzarella and green onions.
  4. Spray a 2 qt. baking dish with cooking spray and pour the eggs mixture on the bottom.
  5. Cut each of the sausages in half length-wise. If desired, cook the sausages for a few minutes on each side over medium-high heat, until they are lightly browned on each side (Since sausage is already fully cooked, this step isn’t necessary).
  6. Place the sausage in a row on top of the egg mixture. They may sink down into the eggs – this is okay.
  7. When the cauliflower is soft drain it and then return it to the pan. Using an immersion blender or beaters, whip the cauliflower until it is very smooth. Add the greek yogurt and salt and whip again until the yogurt is totally mixed in. Spread the cauliflower on top of the sausages.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the bottom quiche layer is cooked through.
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