Plate of Illusion – Cauliflower Couscous [The Mouthful Morsel]

Satisfy your desire for a plate of couscous with this raw, low-calorie replica.

This “Plate of Illusion” is not the first discovery that’s rocked my carb-craving world. Spaghetti Squash, Rutabaga Fries, and Tofu Shirataki Noodles are just a few that I’ve mentioned before. Sometimes, eating is really psychological, and it’s always good to look for foods that will fulfill sinful desires without all of the calories, fat, and sodium that are so often the repercussions.

This recipe, brought to my attention by Giuliana Hazelwood of Lovely Healthy Life, transforms the neutral, versatile cauliflower into a grain-like consistency that I lovingly term Cauliflower Couscous. 

Often labeled as a rice substitute, I find the final product to be more reminiscent of couscous, in texture and in its mild flavor. While one cooked cup of the original grain version has approximately 175 calories, a cup of cauliflower couscous has less than 50, in addition to dietary fiber, vitamin c, and potassium.

In order to transform a head of cauliflower into light and fluffy cauliflower couscous, you’ll need one very important piece of kitchen equipment. The food processor. This was a big step for me and my personal kitchen growth, as I avoid anything with blades or sharp edges whenever possible. (My first instinct was to make Mashed Cauliflower,) but following another tip from Ms. Hazelwood, I decided to conquer the scary-thing and “do the thing you think you cannot do.”

After breaking down a head of cauliflower into individual florets, you’re halfway to a delicious dish with a playful exterior.

A Little Warning: Be careful when doing the thing you think you cannot do. I admit, I have a battle wound to show for my first attempt at this recipe, having struggled – not to assemble or use the food processor – but to disassemble and wash it.

To create your own cauliflower couscous, start with a head of broccoli, cut into mid-sized florets. Microwave them on high for 4-5 minutes in a covered dish, to allow the cauliflower to steam.

Let the cauliflower cool, before loading up the food processor and transforming the florets into a true plate of illusion. Pulsing the cauliflower on low quickly creates a product bearing a remarkable resemblance to the semolina ground pasta.

Another Little Warning: This can be a time-consuming process, depending on the size of your food processor. I found it was better to do many small batches, in order to control the texture of the granules.

The great thing about this raw dish is that it is a perfect base for just about anything else your heart desires. I enjoy it with fresh chopped garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and a spritz of spray butter. The next time you’re entertaining for a group of paleo, gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian friends, whip this out and please everyone with one simple bite.

Tomorrow, I’m continuing my exploration of the best Plates of Illusion with a completely raw fettuccine, and on Sunday, I’m celebrating Mother’s Day with a dish my most amazing and wonderful Mom came up with – a no-noodle lasagna packed with flavor and unbelievably low-calorie.

Until then, I’m off to take another little bite!

Melanie

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