Four Carb-Cutting Veggie Swaps
October 13, 2017
There are a lot of creative food swaps out there right now. Rice, pizza crusts, pasta, and tortillas are being questioned, reinvented, and hacked by the nutritionally-savvy in efforts to cut down on white flour and starch. Whether you’re being mindful of your carb intake or just want to sneak more veggies into your day, we’ve got some swaps that will pump up the nutritional value of your meals.
Collard Green Wraps
Forget about the steamed collards you ate in your youth. In addition to being low calorie and nutrient dense, collard greens are one of the most versatile vegetables to swap for carbs. Blanched or eaten raw, they can be used as a wrap for a hand-held salad or sandwich. They can also be used as a substitute for tortillas and baked in enchiladas.
To prepare a collard wrap, wash the leaves, then use a sharp paring knife to shave the tough stem down so it’s more flush with the surface of the leaf. This makes it easier to bend and wrap the collard leaf around the fillings of your choice.
Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Gluten-free pizza hackers have tried everything from almond meal to tapioca starch to make a wheat-free pie. Our favorite of them all is cauliflower pizza crust because it’s versatile enough to pair with almost any topping.
Here’s how to make it: pulse cauliflower in a food processor until it reaches a rice-like consistency, then boil the “rice” for 4-5 minutes. The next step is key: drain the cauliflower and use a dish towel or cheesecloth to squeeze out as much moisture as possible. The cauli-rice is now ready to mix with binders like eggs and ground flaxseed and flavorings like goat cheese and spices. Spread out the mixture on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, then bake until golden and dry. Now add your favorite pizza toppings and bake until done.
We’re big fans of cauliflower rice, but did you know broccoli stems can also be turned into rice? Same concept as cauliflower: pulse the broccoli stems in the food processor until they reach a rice-like consistency. You can boil the “rice” and drain it, or toss with some olive oil and roast on a baking sheet until tender.
We love using it in a lightened-up version of beef and broccoli. Top the broccoli rice with slices of barbecued flank steak (or sautéed mushrooms for a vegetarian version), a few steamed broccoli florets, and drizzle everything with your favorite stir-fry sauce.
Spiralized Squash and Zucchini Noodles
You’re trying to be good, but that eggplant and lamb bolognese craving just isn’t going away… If you’re going to indulge in a favorite comfort food, you may as well boost the nutrition factor by swapping out bucatini for zucchini.
Spiralizing squash into noodle-like shapes is a trick that wheat-intolerant cooks have brought into the spotlight in recent years. Now there are a multitude of spiralizers available at all price points. If you’ve got a Kitchen-Aid™ mixer, the spiralizing attachment is a worthy, quality investment if you’re trying to cut carbs. You can use it for pretty much any squash, from butternut to summer, so get creative! — Sarah Bossenbroek