I love my veggies. I never thought I would be able to say that but I do! One thing I have really embraced when it comes to this healthy living malarkey is eating lots of veg. I think the trick with really learning to love veggies is experimenting with how you cook them. Don’t like boiled brussel sprouts? Try roasting them instead. Raw peppers don’t float your boat? Try them grilled or in a stir fry…

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I did find that my love of veggies went up a notch when I discovered how well they could be used as a replacement for traditional carbs in meals. I started experimenting with this a few years ago when I was eating more protein and going for a low carb approach, and despite all the changes to my diet since, eating spaghetti made from courgettes (zucchini) and rice from cauliflower has stuck with me. I even prefer mash made with cauliflower over potatoes now!

As I have paid more attention to how my body reacts to different foods, I have found that pasta and rice in particular, leave me feeling rather ‘heavy’, sleepy and bloated. It’s not that I avoid them all together, I certainly love a huge plate of pasta at a good Italian from time to time, I just don’t want to feel like that on a regular basis!

I’ve loved getting more experimental with cauliflower ‘rice’ and wanted to share with you a couple of recent versions I’ve been enjoying. If you are trying to lose weight, replacing rice with this is a useful way of reducing calories. If you are not seeking to lose weight, and perhaps like me, find that heavier carbs make you feel lethargic and heavy, swapping rice for this can work too – just make sure that you add in more calories from either additional fats or proteins to make sure you still feel satisfied.

Making simple cauliflower ‘rice’

To make the cauliflower rice, either grate it, or use a food processor to finely chop it until it resembles rice. Put it in a microwavable bowl and pour over about 1/4 cup of water from a just boiled kettle. Cover the dish with cling film and piece a few wholes in it. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove the cling film and fluff the ‘rice’ with a folk, adding a pinch of salt. The water should have disappeared and steamed the ‘rice’. Add your flavourings or additional veggies.

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Baked Curried Chicken and Cauliflower Rice (serves 2, replace chicken with pressed tofu for a vegan version)

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp of curry paste (I used korma, but any curry paste should work well)
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp of ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp of garam masala (or more depending on how spicy you like it)
  • pinch of salt
  • Optional – 3 – 4 tbsp of desiccated coconut

Pop the chicken breasts into a plastic bag and add the curry paste. Squish it all about a bit so that the chicken is well covered in the paste and leave in the fridge for at least an hour. Pre heat the oven to 190c. Place each chicken breast on a square of foil and gather the edges so that the chicken is in a foil parcel. Bake the chicken for 20 – 30 minutes until it is cooked through and the juices run clear. Make your cauliflower rice as per the instructions above then add your ground almonds, garam masala and coconut if using. Serve with the freshly baked chicken or allow to cool and take to work for a tasty lunch!

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I just loved the flavours in this, as I said in the recipe you could use whatever curry paste you fancy and of course change up the spices in the rice.

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Baked Pesto Chicken and Cauliflower Rice (serves 2, replace chicken with pressed tofu for a vegan version)

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 3 tbsp of pesto, divided (I used Zest pesto which is vegan and would work well with the tofu)
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • pinch of salt
  • veggies of your choice – I used some sliced sugar snap peas

Pop the chicken breasts into a plastic bag and add 2 tbsp of the pesto. Squish it all about a bit so that the chicken is well covered in the pesto and leave in the fridge for at least an hour. Pre heat the oven to 190c. Place each chicken breast on a square of foil and gather the edges so that the chicken is in a foil parcel. Bake the chicken for 20 – 30 minutes until it is cooked through and the juices run clear. Make your cauliflower rice as per the instructions above then add the remaining tbsp of pesto and any chopped veggies. Serve with the freshly baked chicken or allow to cool and take to work for a tasty lunch!

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You could be really experimental with this basic recipe and use different spices to change up the flavours or cuisine. For a Moroccan flavour try adding chopped dried apricots or dates and using ground cumin. For a more Mexican feel add some chopped tomatoes, red kidney beans and jalapenos. Chopped nuts and seeds would also be delicious, whatever takes your fancy!

I’ve enjoyed these for part of my lunch this week and they have been delicious and very satisfying :-)

Have you tried cauliflower rice before? What’s the most creative way you eat your veggies?