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Simple substitutes that can lead to a healthier lifestyle

We all know eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and can help you feel your best. But trying to make major changes to your diet can seem overwhelming, especially in a time where we need to get the wok and the apron out and cook meals for ourselves. Luckily, small changes can make a big difference when it comes to diet and we’ve compiled some super simple substitutes you could be making to your meals to help you achieve a healthier lifestyle. Adding a healthy twist to your regular dishes, without compromising on taste!

 Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower is perfect for turning into ‘rice’; substituting a starch that can often leave dishes feeling heavy. Instead, Cauliflower rice is light, fluffy and takes five minutes to make. Plus, the super food is high in fibre and B-vitamins so a great way to get those needed nutrients!

 How to make it

A food processer will give the best results for this tasty dish. First, remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower and cut it into chunks, removing most of the thick core. Then, transfer the cauliflower into the food processor and process the cauliflower in 1-second pulses for about 30 seconds (or until it resembles fine rice granules). Work in batches if necessary and be careful not to over-process or it’ll get mushy.

If you don’t own a food processor, don’t worry, you can grate the raw cauliflower on the coarse side of a normal box grater. You may find you’re left with a few bigger pieces, which will give the ‘rice’ a chunkier texture but will taste just as good.

 How to cook it

There are a few ways to cook your ‘rice’. Microwaving is by far the easiest and as you don’t need to add any fat, the healthiest too. Simply, microwave the fresh cauliflower rice in a heatproof bowl, covered with cling film, for three minutes on High. This method gives the rice a nice, neutral flavour, most like regular rice and so is best for serving with curry and tagines.  

For a lovely, nutty flavour and colour, we recommend stir frying your cauliflower rice in a little olive oil, over medium heat, for 5-8 minutes and stirring occasionally.  

So you’ve made your rice, now what?

There are endless pairings for cauliflower rice from curries, salads, tagines… but for a healthy twist on takeout fried rice and one that you will struggle to tell the difference, why not try this amazing 10-minute recipe? 

Cauliflower ‘Fried Rice’ 

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized head of cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 large carrot, cubed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup frozen edamame
  • 2 beaten eggs (use scrambled tofu for vegan)
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce (use tamari for GF)
  • 6 green onions, minced

Method

1) Make the cauliflower rice: shred cauliflower using the largest side of a grater OR by just pulsing some rough cut pieces in a food processor; the end product should resemble smallish grains of rice.

2) Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add the carrots and garlic and stir fry until fragrant, about 5 minutes.

3) Add the cauliflower, edamame, and remaining sesame oil to the pan; stir fry quickly to cook the cauliflower to a soft (but not mushy) texture.

4) Make a well in the middle, turn the heat down, and add the eggs. Stir gently and continuously until the eggs are fully cooked. 

5) Stir in the soy sauce and green onions just before serving.

Courgetti Spaghetti

Eating bowls of courgette may not protect you from Covid19, but if you are looking to reduce your carb intake whilst boosting your vitamins, courgetti makes a fun, healthy alternative to spaghetti.

How to make it

Make courgetti in seconds using a nifty kitchen gadget, the spiralizer! They are great for creating long spirals of courgette, but if you missed out on the hot spiralizer trend, a vegetable peeler will still work! Simply peel the courgette length ways until the seeds are reached, turn the courgette over, and repeat. Then, slice the courgette into thinner strips resembling spaghetti. Ta’dah.

How to cook it 

Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat; cook and stir the courgette in the hot oil for 1 minute. Add water and cook until courgette is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and its ready to be added to any precooked ingredients and topped with your favourite sauce. Easy!

We love courgetti with pesto and balsamic tomatoes for a simple yet delicious dinner. Give it a go and follow the recipe below:

Courgetti with basalmic vinegar and cherry tomatoes

Ingredients

  • baby plum tomatoes 8, 4 halved and 4 whole
  • olive oil
  • garlic 1/2 clove, crushed
  • balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp
  • courgette- 1 large, spiralised or very thinly shredded into noodles  
  • fresh vegetarian pesto 2 tbsp 
  • pine nuts, 1 tbsp, toasted

Method

  1. Toss the tomatoes with 1 tsp oil, garlic and balsamic vinegar and some seasoning. 
  2.  Tip into a frying pan and cook for 5 minutes until the whole tomatoes start to burst and they are coated in the balsamic.
  3. Pour a kettle of hot water over the courgette spaghetti and blanch for 30 seconds.
  4. Drain really well, toss with the pesto and season well.
  5. Stir, coating the noodles, then add the tomatoes and toasted pine nuts to serve your courgetti.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

We hope you like cauliflower because this versatile vegetable is also great for making pizza bases! Easy to make, grain-free AND so healthyThe crust is made of cauliflower, cheese, and eggs and from there, you can customise the pizza any way you like to make your favourite type of pizza, guilt free.

How to make it

Making cauliflower pizza crust takes a few more steps than the ‘rice’, but it’s well worth the effort.

Begin by processing your cauliflower in a food processor. When the cauliflower has been blended, place it in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it on high for 4 minutes. Allow it to cool for at least 5 minutes, then place the cauliflower in a kitchen towel and squeeze away. (The trick to making a perfect cauliflower crust is to squeeze out as much liquid as possible so keep squeezing until you end up with an amazing ball of cauliflower!)

Now place the cauliflower ball in a bowl and add an egg, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1/4 mozzarella cheese.  Mix it all in with a wooden spatula or your hands until a dough forms.

Line a baking tray with baking parchment and grease with oil. Mound the cauliflower mix into the centre of the tray and use a spoon and your hands to spread it out into a 30cm round, like you would with normal pizza dough. Make it a little thicker at the edges to create a ‘crust’ and bake at 200/180C fan for 15-18 minutes or until you begin to see a nice golden colour around the edges.

Once your base is cooked and cooled a little, it’s ready for you to top with pizza sauce and any toppings you desire! For specific measurements and inspiration, follow this recipe:

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup passata
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup pepperoni minis
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional

For cauliflower crust

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
  2. To make the cauliflower crust, add cauliflower to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground, yielding about 2-3 cups.*
  3. Transfer to a microwave-safe bowl. Cover loosely and place into microwave for 4-5 minutes, or until softened; let cool.
  4. Using a clean dish towel or cheese cloth, drain cauliflower completely, removing as much water as possible.
  5. Transfer cauliflower to a large bowl. Stir in eggs, mozzarella, Parmesan and Italian seasoning; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Spread cauliflower mixture into a 15- by 10-inch rectangle onto the prepared baking sheet. Spray lightly with nonstick spray and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden.
  7. Top with pizza sauce, cheeses and pepperoni minis. Place into oven and bake until the cheese has melted, about 5-6 minutes.
  8. Serve immediately, sprinkled with basil and red pepper flakes, if desired.

If you enjoyed reading, check out another article!

https://flavrfood.com/2020/04/10/high-protein-meat-alternatives/

https://flavrfood.com/2020/04/10/boost-vitamin-d/

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