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Cut Calories with These Seriously Satisfying Cauliflower Creations

Sure, you've had boring steamed or raw cauliflower before. But did you know cauliflower is taking the culinary world by storm? Get creative and cut calories with these cauliflower creations.

I’ve always had a crush on the incredible crucifer cauliflower, and I’m delighted that this versatile veggie is finally getting the recognition it deserves! Check out some delicious, lower-calorie, lower-carb cauliflower ideas below.

Fried Cauliflower

You have probably seen “riced” cauliflower in ready-to-use bags at your local grocery store. While these are certainly convenient, they are more costly and less fresh than “ricing” a head of cauliflower yourself. With a large box grater, grate a whole head of rinsed cauliflower. To make it easier to hold, don’t remove the stem or core before you do this — use these as a handle. Then, you simply steam the riced cauliflower for a few minutes, wring out an excess moisture, and use in place of rice in all of your favorite recipes. Stir-fry with a little sesame oil and add a cornucopia of colorful veggies and lean protein such as shrimp, chicken breast, sirloin strips, or tofu. Toss with lite soy sauce or your favorite flavorings.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Pizza is incredibly delicious and a familiar favorite for many, but there are a ton of calories in that crust. Never fear, cauliflower pizza crust is here to save the day (and your waistline). Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grate a medium head of cauliflower on the small hole side of a box grater. Microwave 5-7 minutes or until it is soft. In a fine mesh strainer or through a cheesecloth, squeeze out as much moisture as you can.

Transfer to a large bowl and add whites from 2 large eggs (should be about 1/4 cup), 1/4 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese, 2 tablespoons reduced-fat grated Parmesan cheese, and your favorite Italian herbs and spices — I use about 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning plus a little salt and pepper. Mix well, split into two balls of dough, and form two crusts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Each crust should be about 7 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Bake for 30-35 minutes until browned on top. Remove from oven, top with sauce, cheese, and your favorite veggies. Bake an additional 5-7 minutes. Buon appetito!

Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Steaks

Roasting vegetables introduces you to an entirely new flavor profile, intensifying their sweetness through caramelization. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a rinsed cauliflower stem side down on a cutting board and slice 1/2-inch thick steaks. Place on a baking sheet (do not layer). Drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides. Roast for 20-25 minutes, flipping steaks halfway through. Top with reduced-fat Parmesan cheese and devour.

Mashed Cauliflower

This lower-carb, lower-calorie, more nutrient-dense spud swap is simple, delicious, and much quicker to prepare than mashed potatoes. Simply steam a head of cauliflower (cut into florets) until you can easily cut them with a fork. In a blender or food processor, blend with just a splash of milk (I use unsweetened, unflavored cashew or almond milk), garlic, salt and your favorite herbs and spices. For additional flavor, top with reduced-fat shredded cheese or crumbled turkey bacon.

Cauliflower Tots

You’ll never be tempted by fatty breakfast tater tots again once you make the switch to cauliflower tots, which I’m dubbing “caulitots” — I should copyright that! Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Pulse 2 cups cauliflower florets in a food processor or blender. Microwave riced cauliflower about 4 minutes — until warm and soft. Strain excess liquid and transfer to a large bowl.

Add 2 large egg whites, 1/4 cup whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons reduced-fat parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, some garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon each). Mix well and shape into 28 tots. Bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment for about 10 minutes. Flip tots and bake 10-12 minutes longer — they should be golden and crispy. Happy dipping with these tasty tots!

Creamy Cauliflower Chowder

I love to chow down on some chowder, but the calorie count can really skyrocket once you factor in all the cream, butter, and potatoes. Rather than give you an exact recipe, simply sauté some onions, garlic, celery, and carrots with a little extra-virgin olive oil. Add in some vegetable stock, salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and add several cups of cauliflower florets. Boil about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour half of the soup into a blender and purée. Add purée back to the pot and return to heat. Add in about 1 cup of unsweetened, unflavored almond or cashew milk and 1/4 cup reduced-fat cream cheese. Mix until hot throughout. Garnish with chopped scallions, chives, or crumbled turkey bacon.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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