In the past, a low-carb diet meant staying far away from carb-based foods like mashed potatoes, curries, pizza, and pasta. But today it is possible to make just about all of your favourite carb-dishes out of vegetables, particularly cauliflower and zucchini. Lets face it, cauliflower and zucchinis aren’t the most delicious of all the vegetables – but you can use them to trick your taste buds into thinking you’re eating your favourite carbohydrates, without any unnecessary weight gain!
Cauli-pizza or Zucchini- pizza
This is the answer to the prayers of all pizza-lovers out there. Shredded cauliflower or zucchini can be combined with shredded mozzarella, an egg and herbs to make a delicious, carb-free pizza base. It only takes about 15 minutes to cook the base, after which you are free to add whatever pizza toppings you desire. It tastes really similar to normal pizza, but with none of the guilt! Due to the large amounts of cheese used to produce this meal, it provides a large amount of fat and is therefore extremely filling and decreases your appetite for the rest of the day, which is one of the aims of the Banting diet. The only downside is that it is quite expensive to make, and not as crispy as regular pizza crust.
The invention of the spiralizer has revolutionised low-carb cooking. A spiralizer can be bought at any home ware store. It is a small device that turns zucchini (or any cylindrical vegetable) into spaghetti-like strands. You can fry up spiralized zucchini and add any pasta sauce or toppings you enjoy. There are so many different recipes you can try with zucchini pasta, and so your dinner will never be boring or repetitive. Of course, it does not have the exact same texture or taste as regular pasta, but it is just as enjoyable! You’ll forget all about how tired your arm gets from twisting all those zucchinis when you taste the amazing results.
This is by far my favourite “fake carbohydrate”. Cauli-mash is made by mashing cooked cauliflower in a food processer along with some sour cream, cream and spices like garlic or chives, until it is purified into the consistency of mashed potatoes. It not only tastes better than mashed potatoes, but it is extremely simple, quick and cheap to make. It’s great for weight loss because when you look at the bare ingredients you’re virtually eating a bowl of vegetables, but it is just as filling as regular mashed potatoes. You can also use cauli-mash to make a low-carb version of your favourite dishes that usually require mashed potatoes, like Shephard’s pie.
Curry and rice go hand-in-hand, and so a low carb diet usually means omitting curry from your diet completely. But with the discovery of cauli-rice, Banters can enjoy just about any curry the desire! Cauli-rice is made by grating cauliflower and frying it in some butter for about 10 minutes. Let be honest, no one actually enjoys the taste of rice – the taste itself is almost none existent. Rice is used more as a base than for its delicious flavor. Cauli-rice is able to stand as a base just like rice, but without all the unnecessary carbohydrates. It may be a bit laborious to make, but it is so worth it.
Making zucchini fries involves chopping raw zucchini into rectangular cubes, coating them in egg and Parmesan, and baking them in the oven. Unfortunately, they don’t come out as crispy as regular potato fries, and don’t taste remotely close to potato fries. They’re soggy and taste more like roasted vegetables, so unfortunately these aren’t going to fix your potato chip cravings. However, omitting the egg reportedly makes them crispier, so that’s worth a try if you’re dying without your chip fix. Pick ‘n Pay sell packaged pre-cut pumpkin fries, which taste a bit better than zucchini fries but produce the same soggy texture when cooked.
These innovative ways of cooking with vegetables will not only make it easier for Banters to stick to a low carb diet, but it might even help parents encourage their children to eat their vegetables willingly! Click here to hear reviews of the dishes from six of my friends who tasted each meal.