My last post on pasta alternatives got me thinking… In a world full of food allergies, special diets and picky eaters, there are now so many different options available for different food alternatives. So I have done some research and some sampling, and found these great options.
Quinoa is a plant and one of the worlds most popular health foods. It contains all 9 of the essential amino acids, is gluten free, high in fibre and protein, low GI and high in antioxidants. So when it comes to health benefits, it doesn’t get much better than quinoa. It is also easy to prepare and can be cooked in either the microwave or stove top, just by adding water. Quinoa doesn’t have much flavour, so its perfect for adding to a variety of dishes as it absorbs the different flavours.
There are a couple of ways to cook cauliflower rice. One is to chop up a whole head of cauliflower and put it into a food processor. You don’t want it to be a paste, instead you want the consistency of rice. You can now cook this in a stir-fry, just sautéing in a pan with veggies and a protein.
I made a beef stroganoff and used cauliflower rice, instead of the traditional white rice. I cut the cauliflower head and boiled it until tender but not soft. Then drain the cauliflower and pat with a paper towel to ensure you have removed all excess moisture, then put it through a ricer, grater or food processor. Now it can be used as a rice alternative. If all of that is to hard, you can now buy the pre-made cauliflower and simply heat in the microwave.
Broccoli can be used exactly the same way as cauliflower. So if your not a cauliflower fan and prefer broccoli, definitely use that instead.
Couscous is actually a pasta made from either durum wheat or semolina flour and water. When you buy it in the store its already been cooked, so all you do is add boiling water to plump it up. Couscous has a light, fluffy texture and generally needs some butter, salt and pepper added to it for flavour. It is low in GI, rich in selenium, is a good source of plant based protein and boosts your immune system. I actually enjoyed eating couscous as a side, with just a nib of butter and salt and pepper.
Farro refers to several different types of wheat and ancient wholegrains, including spelt and emmer. It has many health benefits, including being high in fibre and wholegrains, good source of protein, healthy dose of zinc and magnesium and a wide variety of antioxidants. Farro is a popular ingredient, used in soups and salads, but can also be eaten plain or as a rice substitute.
Many of these alternatives are actually quicker to prepare than rice and add a different texture and taste to your meal. So next time a meal requires rice, try one of these healthy, tasty alternatives.