There has been a lot of noise recently about substituting veg for carbs in our diets. Personally, I’m a big fan. Despite the fact that I do a lot of training, I find I don’t do so well with a lot of starchy carbs in my diet, they make me feel a bit sluggish and bloated. That’s not to say that I’m carb phobic, I still enjoy porridge for breakfast regularly, and many of these types of foods, particularly the wholegrain varieties, such as brown rice, are an important source of fibre and B vitamins.
However, substituting starchy carbs with veg can be great, they provide bulk and a different dimension to the dish, as well as increasing the amount of nutrients. They are also an important source of fibre. I’ve been eating courgetti with my pasta sauce, grating carrots into my porridge to bulk it up, and eating cauliflower rice with my curries. However, now the weather finally seems to be warming up, I’ve been experimenting with other dishes. I’ve been a big fan of cous cous salads in the past, so I thought I’d try to recreate a salad using cauliflower instead of the cous cous. I’m not saying that you won’t notice the difference, but this is a world away from soggy overcooked winter cauli and I actually prefer it to the cous cous – it’s much lighter and the texture adds a bit of crunch. And bonus: it takes about five minutes to make, and double bonus: for those of you looking to drop a few pounds before holiday, it comes in at less than 200 cals for a massive portion.
I’ve included the combination of ingredients that I like to add, but you could really mix this up – consider adding a few sultanas, some artichoke hearts or different herbs. I’ve been eating this for lunch with some smoked mackerel, but you could add chicken or have it as a side dish with a BBQ. It feeds two VERY generously!
1 small cauliflower
20 green olives
1/4 preserved lemon (see note)
1 tbsp capers
5 pieces sundried tomatoes
1 roasted pepper (from a jar)
2 tsp olive oil
Splash of wine or apple cider vinegar
Handful chopped flat leaf parsley
Break the cauliflower into florets and blitz in a food processor for 30 seconds or so until it resembles cous cous
Drain and chop the tomatoes, pepper and lemon
Add everything to a large bowl, drizzle with the oil and vinegar and give it all a good stir.
This will keep for a couple of days in the fridge (add the oil and vinegar when you’re ready to eat it) so good for a work lunch
Note on preserved lemons
You can buy these in the supermarket or make your own (there are lots of recipes on line, but you’ll have to wait a few weeks at least before you can use them!). The ones you buy in the supermarket tend to be tiny lemons, in which case you’ll need to use half a lemon, as opposed to a quarter of a big one. If you do invest in a jar, they keep in the fridge for ages and you can use a small amount to pep up all kinds of dishes, including salsa or mash.