I’m officially over winter. After months of eating nothing but soups and stews, I’m ready for something lighter. Something with a little less carb, and little more bite.
But I don’t want to spend the warmer months living on salads. Sure, there are times when nothing beats a big bowl loaded with greens, chicken and grain – however, there are times when you want something a bit more substantial, without the heavy carb factor. That’s when I turn to veggie alternatives.
Vegetables often get a bad rep for being boring. That couldn’t be further from the truth, especially if you know what to do with them. Below, I’ve shared a few of my favourite ways to use vegetables in place of carbs and trust me, there’s no compromising on taste.
You can use either courgettes, squash or carrots to make vegetable spaghetti. My preference is to use courgettes, as when spiralized, they are a very convincing alternative. The best way to make courgetti is with a spiralizer, which is a handy kitchen gadget that does the hard work for you. Don’t worry if you don’t have a spiralizer; a vegetable peeler works just as well.
One of my favourite ways to serve courgetti is with prawns and chilli. Start by spiralizing one courgette. Saute the courgetti in a pan with some olive oil, garlic and chilli, then add a glug of white wine and some prawns, followed by a teaspoon of tomato puree. Saute for a few minutes until the prawns are cooked through and then serve.
Cauliflower rice has become quite the thing over the past few years, where you simply put cauliflower florets into a blender until they resemble rice. It really is that easy and super healthy. But what else can you do with the humble cauliflower? Well, it can also be turned into a pizza base.
To make this, you’ll need a cauliflower, one egg and some seasoning. Blitz the cauliflower in the same way you would do to make rice. Then, put the cauliflower in a microwaveable bowl and cook for roughly five minutes, or until the cauliflower is soft. Leave it to cool and then tip it onto a tea towel.
Wring the tea towel out over the sink, to get the moisture out of the cauliflower - you want to get it as dry as you can. Now, tip it back into a bowl, add the egg and season. Mix well, before pouring onto a lined baking tray. Use your hands to mould the cauliflower into a pizza shape. Add your toppings and cook for 15 minutes at 200c.
Once you have your toppings on the cauliflower base, you’ll be hard pressed to notice the difference between that and a traditional thin-crust pizza.
Sweet potato toast
When I first heard about sweet potato toast, I didn’t believe it. But it’s a thing, and a mighty delicious thing at that. All you need to do is slice down the length of a sweet potato, about 2cm thick. You don’t even need to peel it first if you don’t want to. Then, pop it in the toaster. You want to give it 3-4 minutes in that toaster, until the edges have started to crisp up and the centre is still soft.
I top my sweet potato toast with all sorts of things. At breakfast time, I’ll load it with almond butter and dates. For lunch, I’ll pop some hummus and rocket on the top. Tomato and mozzarella taste pretty good, too. The options are endless!