Pasta alternative: low-carb, healthy and super tasty

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Can cauliflower really work as a pasta alternative? It damn well can.

Pasta isn’t normally high on my cravings list (I’m more of a pizza-everyday-if-I-could kinda gal), but the other night I really wanted pasta, like super bad. However, I had only just gotten back to cutting – that very day in fact (no surprise that I was craving pasta…) – after relocating from the UK to Spain. But since pasta isn’t very supportive of my goals, I got creative and made an awesome pasta alternative. I was thinking about all the elements of pasta that I enjoy, aside from the actual pasta itself. For me, if I eat pasta, it’s all about the flavours, the sauce, the extras (i.e. meat, veg, cheese) that go with it.

According to my partner, who is Spanish (and also, apparently, an officer of the food police), it’s pretty much a sin to put vegetables in pasta, but I’m like, YOLO, ’cause I luhhh dat. There seems to be loads of ‘rules’ when it comes to food and meals and what you can and can’t pair with what. At the end of the day though, what’s the point of sacrificing enjoyment for the sake of simply conforming to these so-called rules? Who made these rules anyways? Will the universe explode if we don’t follow them? Probably not.

So, anyway, I’ve been practicing intuitive eating since I’ve been living here in Spain, as I don’t want to rely on calorie/macro counting and tracking for ever, cos ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat. I’ve also been eating a much higher fat (and therefore much lower carb) diet than I was in the UK; this is because the olive oil here is divine and I can’t get enough of heavily oiled veg, which are packed full of goodness! So I’m focussing on making lots of meals that are heavy on the veg & healthy fats, contain enough protein (obvz) and I’m saving most of my carbs for breakfast, for which I’ve been eating a fair amount of fruit, which is also divine here.

Sooooo, about the actual dish…I have mixed feelings when it comes to cauliflower. On its own, it tastes like punishment food (to me), but add the right* spices, cook it the right* way and pair it with the right* foods and it tastes daaaamn good.

*”Right” = right for you. This may require some trial & error, but see if you like this recipe to help you get started!


I didn’t weigh or measure anything, because I’m trying to practice mindful/intuitive eating, so I have just given you a rough estimate of ingredient amounts for this recipe; the kcal & macro information for which is reflected below.

(ROUGHLY ESTIMATED) TOTAL NUTRIENTS PER SERVING

330 kcal / 20g fat / 20g carbs / 25g protein


(This recipe is for 2 servings)

Ingredients

For the dish:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • salt
  • coarse black pepper
  • garlic/garlic granules
  • paprika powder
  • 200g chicken* breast (multiply this to meet your protein requirement), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup red pepper (preferably pointed pepper), chopped
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • splash of soy sauce or tamari

To serve**:

  • 20g feta
  • 1/2 cup cherry or plum tomatoes, chopped

*You could probably make this dish with Quorn, tofu or tempeh, some types of fish, mushrooms or seafood, but I don’t like any of those things, so I couldn’t say for sure.
**You don’t have to serve with these items, but in my opinion they complete the dish.


Method

  1. After washing & chopping the veg and cutting the meat, heat the oil (medium heat) in a non-stick frying pan, then add the onions, salt, pepper, garlic and paprika, and cook for a few minutes until the onions have softened a little.
  2. Next add in the chicken and continue to cook until it’s almost cooked through, before adding the cauliflower, re-seasoning and continuing to cook. Keep stirring as necessary to maintain even cooking.
  3. Then add in your peppers and cook for a couple minutes more before adding in your baby spinach and stirring it all together.
  4. Finally, add a splash of soy sauce or tamari (just a little bit at a time though). Once your chicken is cooked through, you can taste-test, and if necessary re-season until you have an overwhelming urge to say, “Well dayum.”
  5. Divide onto 2 bowls/plates, top with the chopped tomatoes and sprinkle with feta.
  6. Enjoy – mindfully & intuitively if possible!

NOTE: if you accidentally add too much soy sauce/tamari, just stir in a tiny bit of water and cook it off… then re-season if you’ve added too much water!

Thanks for reading, lovelies! Fancy a fresh & tasty dessert after this meal? Check out my Raw, organic, blueberry-quark cheesecake recipe for just the thing.

 

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