Hands up who loves a good carb… yep, both my hands shot up into the air too. I used to be one of those people who pooh-poohed the Atkins school of thought, until more and more articles appeared justifying why it’s not fat that makes you fat, it’s all those beloved carbs (check the link for a fascinating infographic). This is very sad, because there’s just nothing yummier than a simple carb with saturated fat and lots of salt or sugar – think cupcakes, donuts, potato chips, buttery mash, toast, couscous, spaghetti alla carbonara…. *eyes glaze over while drooling*.
I had been reading about quinoa being this amazing high-protein grain so I thought it might be a good couscous alternative… but when I compared their nutritional profiles, turns out that although the quinoa protein content is marginally higher, the carb content is higher too! Fail.
Then I checked the nutritional profile of cauliflower and it was much better than both couscous and quinoa. Lightbulb! People have been using cauliflower to make faux couscous for a while but clearly not in my neck of the woods. I googled a few recipes, tried a few techniques, and this is by far my favourite.
For 2 generous portions of faux couscous:
300g raw cauliflower
Salt and pepper
Heat a teeny tiny dribble of oil in a frying pan; while that’s happening, separate cauliflower into florets. These are the little bunchy bits – cut off the tough stalky bits if there are any. It’s quite important to remember the part about heating the frying pan – if you forget and then keep holding your hand out over the pan to check how hot it is, and only realise 20 minutes later that it is in fact still ice cold, you will feel very silly. Just saying. Could happen to anyone. Chuh.
Put the florets into a food processor and pulse, until it resembles couscous (you may need to do this in batches). Don’t just press Play on the processor and then stop paying attention. Nobody likes a cauliflower smoothie.
Now some people (those skinny raw-food-movement people) would eat this as is, but I find it a bit too squeaky on the teeth and that peppery sharp note in the cauliflower is too strong. Stir-fry the cauliflower grains in a hot pan for just a few minutes to keep some texture – cook just enough to get the squeaks out but not enough to turn it into mush. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Dish up an enormous helping (it’s so good for you! go on, add another spoonful!) and pile up whatever you like on top (stir-fry, roast veggies, whatever). Shovel carb-free goodness into your face with a pious expression on your face.
If anyone can think of a way to make a similarly low-carb faux donut I would be extremely interested to hear about it :-).