Healthy Fake Out: Zahtar Mashed Cauliflower

cauliflower1Cauliflower is one of my very favorite veggies.  It’s incredibly filling without being at all bad for you, whilst remaining delicate and full of flavor.  It’s also a great fake out carb substitute – go on pinterest and you’ll find eleventy million recipes for cauliflower pizza crust, which is one that I am going to post my own version of very soon.  Anyway, yes: cauliflower is low carb, high in vitamin C, folic acid, fiber, yadda yadda.   The really interesting thing about this recipe (in my own very humble opinion) is the addition of zahtar and apple cider vinegar.

A while ago I made some potato & corn salad that eschewed mayo and all that globby fat stuff for vinegar and olive oil.  This is from the same line of thinking.  I had made some cauliflower mash a few weeks ago and used milk & cheese and they were tasty but sat like a rock in my tummy, which doesn’t make them that much better in the short run than real mashed potatoes.  Here I have lightened it up.  A little acid, a little healthy fat, and voila: you get a well rounded flavor without a well rounded belly. (Har.)

Zahtar, or Za’atar (I’ve seen multiple spellings.  I’m going with the one on my spice jar) is a Middle Eastern spice usually made with savory, thyme, or oregano alongside sesame seeds and sumac.   Dried sumac is made from the dried fruit of the sumac bush, and has a nicely tangy, sour flavor and does not cause allergic reactions the way the sap can.  That sourness here is really great with the creamy cauliflower and the vinegar.

You could substitute white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar and Italian seasoning if that is more up your alley.

Zahtar Mashed Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, washed and cut into medium pieces

2 T apple cider vinegar

4 T olive oil

1 1/2 tsp zahtar

salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.   Boil the cauliflower pieces for about 5 minutes, or until softened.   Drain and let cool slightly.

You can do the next part a couple of ways:

1) Put the cauliflower in a food processor and pulse a couple of times.   Add the vinegar, oil, zahtar, salt and pepper.  Pulse until blended and fluffy.   Serve!

2) Using a masher or a potato ricer, mash the cauliflower.   Then stir all of the other ingredients with a wooden spoon or a spatula.  Make sure it is well blended together.  Serve!

Super easy, no?


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