Healthy food hacks are a hot topic these days. With people using coconut to make dairy-based alternatives like yogurt, kefir and milk, or gluten-free eaters using quinoa to replace typical gluten-filled cereals. Then you’ve got grain-free eaters using root vegetables and even hemp seeds to replace grain-based dishes. And then let’s not forget that homemade veggie burgers are something most every plant-based eater has at least attempted by now to replace meat. We’ve gotten so smart and healthy in attempts to replace unhealthy dishes in the traditional American diet, and things aren’t slowing down in the least little bit.

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Another hot replacement food in the diet today isn’t just being taken advantage of by vegans or even health nuts, but people everywhere trying to eat healthier foods overall. The trend of the year is to use cauliflower to replace nearly anything and guess what? That’s not such a bad idea! Cauliflower is a fantastic white vegetable to add to your diet. It’s the perfect example that some white foods are amazing for your body and packed with nutrition such as fiber and B vitamins. (Take that white bread!)

Cauliflower isn’t just meant to be enjoyed raw either. It’s a sneaky inexpensive veggie you can use to make a variety of lower carb, healthier, whole-food based dishes than the traditional options you’re accustomed to. Check out these five unhealthy foods found in many people’s diets that can easily be replace with cauliflower!

 

Typical Buffalo Wings

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Buffalo wings aren’t just unhealthy because they’re made from animal-based protein. They’re also packed with sugar and fried oils that wreak havoc on your blood sugar, arteries, weight and overall health. You can easily use cauliflower to replace Buffalo Wings by roasting your cauliflower in the oven with a healthy, homemade Buffalo sauce. Try our Buffalo Cauliflower with Sweet Potato Noodles for a tasty option!

 

White Rice

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White rice contains almost no nutrition because it’s purposely stripped of the whole grain benefits (the bran and germ) and then polished and possibly bleached to give it that white, pearly glow. While it might be pretty, it causes a spike in your blood sugar and is generally just not very filling. Instead, try making “cauli-rice”, which is so easy to make. Just chop a head of cauliflower into quarters and then place them in the food processor to shred into rice. You then steam it lightly and season it however you want. Try our Spicy Curry Cauliflower Rice with Kale  or Unfried Cauliflower Rice in Ginger Miso Sauce as your first recipe!

 

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Pizza Crust

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Typical pizza crust is packed with not just highly refined grains and gluten, but also yeasts that can lead to digestive upset and an imbalance in good gut bacteria. Most are also packed with sodium that leaves you bloated, but again, cauliflower comes to the rescue here! Cauliflower has been used to make pizza crusts for several years now, though most recipes call for dairy-based cheeses and eggs as a binder. Instead of going that route, just make yours with cauliflower and vegan egg alternatives like chia and flax. Try out this recipe or try our delicious Cauliflower Crust Pizza recipe!

 

Steak

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Red meat causes heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. It’s also expensive! Let’s take the cheap, healthy and tasty option instead (no animal involved) by making cauli-steak instead. It’s actually really good, you have to try it! You slice a head of cauliflower into long strips and then roast them (much like Portabello mushrooms) in the oven for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees to brown them to make a steak. Try coating them with some olives, mushrooms and perhaps your favorite veg-friendly steak sauce.

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Traditional Mashed Potatoes

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Though white potatoes actually have some health benefits like fiber, Vitamin C and potassium, they’re less nutritional than sweet potatoes and much higher in carbs than cauliflower that makes a great alternative. Once cooked, cauliflower develops a creamy, rich texture that makes a great mashed potato stand-in. And let’s not forget that most mashed potato recipes involve butter and cream – two plant-based “I don’t think so” ingredients that clog your arteries and lead to weight gain and inflammation. Let’s go with some almond, soy, or even rice and coconut milk instead. If you really need a butter stand-in, then go for clean organic options like Earth Balance spread or unprocessed, cold-virgin coconut oil or coconut butter. To make cauli-mashed potatoes, you just boil a chopped head of cauliflower and puree into a mash while warm with some non-dairy milk (or even plain non-dairy yogurt) and your choice of non-dairy fat if using. Don’t forget a little pepper and a pinch of sea salt if you need it too!

For more tasty cauliflower options, give these recipes a shot too:

Have you ever used cauliflower to replace an unhealthy “bad” food in your diet?

Lead Image Source: Jennifer/Flickr