Cauliflower has become a trendy low-carb food, and for good reason. The vegetable’s popularity is due to its versatility – it can be steamed, boiled, roasted, grilled, fried, and eaten raw. The health benefits of cauliflower are abundant. It is low in calories – 1 cup of raw cauliflower has only 25 calories – and is very nutritious – 1 cup of raw also has zero fat, low carbohydrates, low sodium, 10% of daily fiber, and is high in vitamin C<1>. Cauliflower can also be substituted for rice by grating it or using a food processor to chop it into rice-sized pieces. You can then substitute this low-carb option in recipes that call for rice. Another appeal is that it can be used as a replacement for one of everyone’s most favorite comfort foods – mashed potatoes!
With the epidemic of diabetes and pre-diabetes in the US, we can all benefit from decreasing our carbohydrate intake and cauliflower is an excellent replacement option. The following recipe mimics a “twice baked potato” and is extremely versatile also. The recipe can be adjusted to be vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. It can be “jazzed” up by the addition of chives, bacon bits and plain low-fat yogurt. Let your creativity flow and your imagination run wild, the options are almost endless.
Cheesy Baked Cauliflower
- 2 heads cauliflower, cut into florets
- ¾ cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 Tbsp. “heart healthy” margarine
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ cup chopped fresh chives
- 4 Tbsp. grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Place cauliflower florets, broth, margarine, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a large stock pot over high heat.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and steam for 10 minutes or until fork tender.
- Place the cauliflower and liquid in a food processor (or use an immersion blender) and puree until smooth.
- Fold in the chopped chives and Romano or Parmesan cheese.
- Place the pureed cauliflower mix into the prepared dish and sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.
- Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the edges have browned slightly.