It seems cauliflower may have hit a high note as we roll into 2019. Honestly, I am surprised to see such chatter about it on social media, even though the growing variety of products in the grocery store featuring cauliflower should have warned me that we have finally reached a tipping point. No matter where you live, it is highly probable you can find some form of this cruciferous vegetable at your favorite grocery store–in the frozen foods section as riced cauliflower, colorful and gorgeous whole heads in the produce department and now as a starring ingredient in pizza crusts and crackers.
Everyone has their day in the sun and I am happy to see cauliflower, which was once considered one of the worst vegetables ever, elevate its reputation to the cool kid in town. It’s always been one of my favorite vegetables and, looking back, it was nine years ago (on May 19, 2010) when I first shared a recipe for mashed cauliflower aka faux taters with you, dear readers.
Since then, I have shared a recipe for cauliflower rice at the beginning of 2011, dirty cauliflower rice with meat (2015), cauliflower mac’n’cheese (2013), dirty cauliflower rice without meat (2013), this spectacular whole roasted cauliflower (2013), paprika and cayenne spicy cauliflower (2012) and now this more contemporary use of cauliflower.
Because we are still fresh into the new year, this is the time of year I like to test new, more rigid recipes that are bordering on extreme but that assist us in keeping some sort of connection with those healthy intentions we wrote down a few weeks ago–or the ones that just float around in our heads.
As if it were meant to be, a super healthy cookbook I requested from the library arrived in time to make it particularly meaningful, mid-January. It’s Gwyneth Paltrow’s newest cookbook, The Clean Plate, and it’s her most progressive and rigid food philosophy to date. The focus is about resetting your palate by eliminating lots of foods and focusing on clean foods that heal your body from the inside-out and I dove right in.
Historically, I haven’t had much luck with recipes from her previous cookbooks, but I decided to give her another chance because we all need to reset, rebalance and refocus what we put in our bodies. The recipes are all free from gluten, dairy, processed foods and added sugars, soy, peanuts, nightshades, alcohol and caffeine.
It might sound over the top, but it’s a great way to embark on a new year or commence a new way of life by literally resetting your palate. This elimination approach steps on the heels of Whole30 which many people start on January 1. But because I have found the recipes in this cookbook to be super easy, definitely tasty and beyond beautiful, it’s time to share.
The acai-blueberry-beet smoothie bowl I made from the cookbook is picture perfect and I proclaimed it a star. I served it to David as a traditional smoothie in a glass and, even though he could tell right away it had a roasted beet in it, he enjoyed every last sip before heading off to the gym.
Clearly, the snow we have been getting (and there’s been plenty with more to come) has not curbed our interest in sipping cold smoothies to jump start our day. It feels virtuous (especially when you add green powder) and requires only a blender to pull breakfast together in a minute. The Clean Plate cookbook includes two smoothie recipes that combines frozen cauliflower with frozen berries and, after seeing this idea tossed around for at least the last year in magazines, blogs and on social media, I decided to finally give in.
I know what you are thinking, cauliflower in a smoothie? But, yes, it’s frozen riced cauliflower and it works as an ideal replacement to the frozen bananas that normally give the smoothie both balanced sweetness and a creamy texture. Replacing the bananas with the frozen riced cauliflower still generates a nice, creamy texture, has absolutely no taste (I promise) and also no sugar.
Though the recipe does call for pitted dates, this single, mineral and nutrient-dense date for each serving offers just enough sweet taste to make it pleasant and serves as a super healthy start to the day. The fruit can easily be switched out to keep the flavors interesting, but sticking with strawberries or cherries will keep it packed with antioxidants and low in sugar.
When I served David the purple smoothie, he tasted it, paused for a few seconds and asked, “What is the different flavor?”
I tightened up a bit knowing his repulsion to cauliflower and said, “There’s a spoonful of almond butter in there for protein.”
And he agreed that, yes, it was almond butter that provided a different taste, which it does. Obviously, I didn’t say anything about the frozen cauliflower and he suspected nothing and then declared, “It’s a great smoothie.”
If I have learned anything over this long-term progression of seeking healthier, more nutritious alternatives to all of the foods we love, I know it’s a winner when David gives the thumbs up to something that veers on the side of uber-healthy. Since this smoothie passed the test, I bet you, too, will think this is good + good for you smoothie is a novel way to use frozen riced cauliflower in 2019, because sauteed cauliflower rice is so 2011.
As we begin a new year, we all want to eliminate certain foods in our diet and sugar is the number one evil, making this smoothie a welcome treat. It's sweetened with one singular date per serving and it replaces the traditional frozen bananas we would normally use in a smoothie with frozen cauliflower. Don't knock it until you've tried it as cauliflower has zero flavor, but eliminates the unwanted sugar from bananas and gives this smoothie a great texture. This recipe can easily be halved or doubled to make fewer or more servings.
- 1 cup frozen organic blueberries strawberries or cherries
- 1 cup frozen riced cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 2 pitted dates roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
- 1 lime juiced
Add all of the ingredients to the blender and let the blender work its magic until it's a smooth purple concoction.
Pour into two glasses, add metal straws and enjoy.