Friday, June 5, 2015

Healthy Subs for Starchy Sides

It's not news:  grains are bad for you.  My family has cut wheat from our diet completely, and cut way back on other grains, such as rice, corn, and even quinoa.  The evidence in favor of this change is, well, evident... around our waists and around the time we go to the doctor and find out how much our blood sugar, serum cholesterol, blood pressure and other metrics of health have improved.

One of my personal challenges, however, has to do with my once-ingrained (ha ha) belief about what constitutes "a healthy, balanced meal."  For me this was a protein, a starch and a vegetable.  And as for the starches, I habitually served my family tasty, convenient, just-add-water side dishes that were a snap to prepare and had a seemingly endless shelf life.  You know what I'm talking about -- that San Francisco-style treat, that rice from everybody's favorite old uncle, that zesty taste of New Orleans in a box... Trouble is, such processed, grain-based, chemical-laden foods were bad for us.  But coming up with something better to serve as THE STARCH in my meals?  That has been a challenge.

First I had to throw out the whole idea that protein-starch-veggie is the ideal makeup of a meal.  The formula has changed in favor of a moderate amount of good-quality protein, lots of vegetables and some healthy fat.  It's good, for instance, to skip the starch and serve some steamed fresh veggies and a green salad -- provided you don't ruin your nice salad with a deluge of fattening, unhealthy dressing.

Instead, try making your own, starting with healthy, homemade olive oil-based mayonnaise.

Then check out my recipes for homemade 

But inevitably we all find ourselves craving warm, starchy comfort foods.  Is life without creamy mashed potatoes and hot, buttery noodles even livable?

Granny says NO!
(Buuuuut... keep an open mind.)

It seems that all over the internet these days, someone is touting a recipe for something that used to be bad for you (but really, really delicious) that can now be made healthily out of cauliflower.  Cauliflower bread, cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower tots, cauliflower tortillas, cauliflower "rice".....  And that's because these things are GOOD!  Not just fewer-calories-lower-glycemic-vitamins-and-fiber good, but TASTY!

My personal favorite is cauliflower puree in place of mashed potatoes.  Half the time my family doesn't even know they're not getting "the real thing."  The rest of the time, they marvel over how yummy this stuff is.

We also really enjoy zucchini noodles made with a spiral slicer.  (Readers tell me an inexpensive Vegetti tool works really well, too.)  There is a trick to keeping these from getting overcooked and soggy, so check out my post to learn how.

I am always looking for delicious grain-free dinner ideas.  What's your favorite?

Also look for more good ideas at these great parties:
Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday
Sincerely, Paula's No-Rules Weekend Blog Party
Share the Wealth Sunday Blog Hop
Fabulous Friday Party
Friday Features Link Party
Creative Ways Link Party
Best Recipes and DIY Projects
Saturday Sparks Link Party
The SITS Girls Saturday Sharefest
Share the Wealth
Share Your Creativity
That DIY Party
Silver Pennies Sunday
Inspire Me Monday
Best of the Weekend
What'd You Do This Weekend?
Inspiration Monday
Delicious Dish Tuesday
The Gathering Spot
Do Tell Tuesday
Tuesday Talk
The Wednesday Roundup
Wow Me Wednesday
Work It Wednesday
Full Plate Thursday


  1. I need to try that cauliflower puree! Oh and making our own mayo - putting it on my "healthy goals" list

  2. Love these! We're a no-potato household, so getting ideas for other (healthy!) sides is always wonderful.

  3. Great ideas and a great post. Thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with Full Plate Thursday and come back real soon.
    Have a great day,
    Miz Helen

  4. Thanks for sharing the healthy subs at my last Fabulous Friday Party, I have been in Italy and just got back and ready to Party again, hope to see you at my party this weekend, starts tonight and goes until next week! Hugs Maria