People who still include animal products in their diet have this pre-conceived notion that either all Vegans are “fat vegans” meaning they eat unhealthy…or that my eating whole food plant based (WFPB) must leave me starving or eating salad all the time.
Well what if I told you that the photos you saw above are examples of a way of cooking and eat that have helped me eat healthy. Do you see any salads? I never go hungry. My husband and son both help with meal prep which is great. But it’s simple for even one person to pull off. I am disabled so sometimes I do need assistance by them doing the cooking for me.
First of all, Everything about how I eat is satiating because of all of the fiber in the food. My meals are never sparse, they are filled with delicious, colorful and enjoyable options.
Not all vegan food especially in restaurants is healthy though, so I prefer our family make our food at home. It’s not difficult to make our favorites in a way that is healthy without losing the textures and tastes we love.
Recently for our anniversary we ate at a vegan restaurant in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cauliflower sounded delicious but it was coated with white flour and not at all crisp. It was soggy from both the oil it was cooked in and the oil based buffalo sauce it was doused in. I did not enjoy it. The endothelial cells of my lymphatic and cardiac system didn’t need all that fat and overly processed grain.
So we came up with this way of making the dish so that it is low glycemic index, oil free, low sodium, low fat Whole Food Plant Based. All it takes it takes is typical, homemade or store bought oil-free salsa is used to coat the cauliflower . Then coat it with 100% whole grain crumbs. Bake on parchment paper lined cookie sheet or use an air fryer.
Because I try to keep it low glycemic index, I prefer using authentic, European style whole rye bread or crisps. I use a hard dark version and a light softer version. I keep it no oils or sugars white flours in the ingredients, lower sodium. Whole rye breads down in our system slower, giving a slow steady stream of energy without spiking blood sugars.
Dipping sauce is easy and can also be used as a sauce for macaroni and un cheese or as a hummus like dip.
Healthy “Fried” Cauliflower
1 smallish head of cauliflower or 12 oz bag of fresh cauliflower florets
1/2 cup salsa or hot sauce of your choice
2/3 cup whole rye/pumpernickel bread or crackers/crips crumbs(oil free, sugar free, no white flour)
optional to taste :garlic powder, onion powder, low sodium curry powder, turmeric, dried crushed red pepper
Step 1: If using traditional or toaster oven, preheat at 425 degrees.
Step 2: Divide the clean cauliflower into reasonably small pieces. (make sure pieces are not wet)
Step 3: With your clean hands, toss together the cauliflower and salsa until thoroughly but lightly coated.
Step 4: Sprinkle crumbs over the coated cauliflower, and toss with your hands until thoroughly but lightly coated.
IF BAKING: Place cauliflower pieces on parchment paper lined cookie sheet, bake for 15-20, turn each piece over and rotate pan at the 10 minute mark. Each oven varies, keep an eye on it the first time so you don’t over bake.
IF USING Air Fryer: We have owned two different air fryers. My first one was a basket style air fryer and the one we use now is like a small toaster oven but it is an air fryer as well (Black N Decker).
-Air Fryer that looks like oven style 10-15 minutes, no flipping needed. One single layer, the pieces can be close together.
-Basket style air fryer may be better to keep it one layer, but experiment.
Play with this. You can create whatever suits you.
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup unsweetened plant based milk
2/3 cup salsa or 4Tbl or more or less hot sauce (depending on your preference)
1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast (I like B-12 Fortified and Trader Joes is very tasty)
Garlic Powder to taste plus others you may like to add (suggestions would be same as the cauliflower coating)
optional: add 1/8th cup ground cashews with a splash of lemon (cashew cheese base for added creaminess)
Also a splash of apple cider can make it tangy.
We use a high power blender (Vitamix) to blend all ingredients until smooth. Feel free to add enough liquids to make it blend smoother.
The Dipping sauce can be added directly to the cauliflower or used on the side just for dipping. Great on pasta or for dipping fresh veggies, or used in burritos.