We love whole grains and healthy Italian cuisine, but often find carbs can be the cause of bloating, and even prompt those pesky sugar cravings. If you’re fancying a bit of a carbo-load cleanse, trying to introduce more fruits and vegetables into your daily meal plan, or simply enjoy the idea of making something totally new, then these recipes are especially for you!
Here at The School of Natural Health Sciences we’ve been entirely inspired by the varying processes, colour infusions, textures and tastes of these clever alternatives to bread and pasta. We’ve selected our top 5 favourite meal-swap creations, and urge you to experiment with your own ideas.
Nº1 Bread and Pasta alternatives
Better bun: Guacamole Burgers on Portobello Mushroom “Buns”
- 8 large Portobello mushrooms (2 mushrooms per patty), stems removed and wiped clean with a damp cloth or paper towel
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb / 453 g grass-fed organic ground beef
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon mayo
- Juice of half lime
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 large tomato, seeded and diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
- 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup alfalfa sprouts
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and place a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and set aside.
- Brush the mushroom caps (top and bottom) with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place them onto the lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven, gills side up first, for 10 minutes. Then flip them over and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- If you have it, use the convection mode on your oven, so that the circulating hot air takes out even more of the moisture from the mushrooms. When the mushrooms are ready remove them from the trays (and the juices they released) and place them on a plate to dry off a bit.
- In the meantime, place half avocado in a medium bowl and mash with a fork until smooth. Add Greek yogurt, mayo, lime juice and cumin and stir to combine. Dice remaining half avocado and add it to avocado mixture along with diced tomatoes, jalapeno (if using) and ⅛ teaspoon of salt. Stir gently to combine. Take a taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Set aside.
- In another bowl, season ground beef with remaining ⅜ teaspoon of salt and ground black pepper. Mix well using your hands. Divide beef mixture into 4 equal parts and shape into patties.
- Heat a grill (or a grill pan) and grill patties 3 minutes on each side (or until desired degree of doneness).
- To assemble burgers, place about ¼ cup of alfalfa sprouts on 4 mushroom caps, top each with 1 patty, 3 tablespoon of guacamole and top with remaining 4 caps.
Nº2 Bread and Pasta alternatives
Better dough: Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Roasted Beet Pesto
Makes: 2 Pizzas
- 1 cup red beets (5.3 oz, about 1 medium beet), chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- ½ cup (2.2 oz) walnuts
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese (1.8 oz), grated
- ½ cup olive oil (12 cl) + 1 tbsp
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
- Wash and scrub the beet, and pat it dry. Peel and cut roughly into cubes, then place the pieces onto a large sheet of foil. Wrap the chopped beet in foil, making a foil packet.
- Place the packet on a baking sheet place onto a baking tray and roast in the oven for 40-50 minutes, or until beets are soft. Allow to cool completely. In the meantime, roast the walnuts on all sides in a frying pan with one tablespoon of olive oil.
- Add all the ingredients except the oil in a food processor or blender, and pulse several times. Leaving the food processor (or blender) running, slowly add the olive oil until all ingredients are well combined. If the pesto is a little bit too thick, add some extra olive oil or water until desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper and blend well.
Ingredients for Pizza Topping:
- 5 oz (150g) feta cheese, diced
- Arugula (or spinach)
- ½ cup walnuts
Ingredients for Cauliflower Crust:
- 4½ cups (18 oz) cauliflower, cut into florets
- ½ cup chickpea flour
- 1 large clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC) and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
- Put the cauliflower florets into a food processor in 2 batches, and pulse until cauliflower “rice” forms.
- Transfer the cauliflower “rice” into a medium-sized bowl, and place in the microwave on high, about 3-4 minutes. Set aside and cool.
- Add the chickpea flour, crushed garlic, salt and one tablespoon of olive oil. Add the eggs and stir until well combined.
- Spread half of the dough onto the baking sheet with a spatula, and form a large circle. Repeat with the other half and the second baking sheet.
- Bake until cooked through and golden-brown, about 30-40 minutes depending on the oven. Transfer carefully the baking sheets with the cauliflower crust on a rack and let cool. In the meantime, prepare the roasted beet pesto.
- Toast the walnuts with one tablespoon of oil in a frying pan, until golden brown.
- Spread the beet pesto onto each pizza crust, top with feta cheese, and bake for 10 more minutes (cover with foil to prevent the sides from burning). Top with toasted walnuts and arugula, and drizzle some extra olive oil.
Nº3 Bread and Pasta alternatives
Better flatbread: Hummus Collard Wraps
By Brittany Mullins
Makes: 2 wraps
- 2 collard leaves
- 1/2 cup basil pesto hummus
- 10 asparagus spears, roasted or raw
- 1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and sliced into short thin strips
- 1-2 carrots, peeled and sliced into short thin strips
- 1/2 cup zucchini, sliced into short thin strips
- 1/2 cup radish, sliced into short thin strips
- 1/2 cup red cabbage, sliced thin
- 1/2 avocado
- Micro greens, sprouts or baby greens
- Wash and dry collard leaves and then use a paring knife to shave down the stems. This will make them much easier to fold.
- Place collard leaves on a flat surface, spread ¼ cup of hummus near the top/middle of each leaf, fill each leaf with the remaining veggies, splitting each amount between the two wraps. Wrap the leaves as you would a burrito. Cut each wrap in half and enjoy.
Nº4 Bread and Pasta alternatives
Better Pasta: Eggplant Lasagna
By Courtney O’Dell
- 2 eggplants, sliced into long thin noodles with a mandoline
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup of cottage cheese
- 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese, with 1 oz set aside
- 1 jar pasta sauce- gluten free
- In a slow cooker dish, lay eggplant noodles down flat.
- Layer a little sauce, peppers and onions, cottage cheese and mozzarella. Repeat to make 3 layers with sauce, veggies, cottage cheese and mozzarella.
- Add a final fourth layer of eggplant, top with sauce.
- Cover and cook on high 2½ hours, or until eggplant is softened.
- Add 1 oz of cheese that was set aside to top, cover. Let cook additional 10 minutes, until cheese is melted.
- Garnish with red pepper flakes and parsley if desired. Serve hot- makes fabulous leftovers.
Nº5 Bread and Pasta alternatives
Better Tortilla: Jicama Tortillas
Makes: Approx. 18 tortillas
- Jicama, peeled and sliced with a mandoline.
- Peel jicama using a ‘y’ peeler
- Trim the edges off the jicama till it will fit into a mandoline. Usually 4″.
- Place mandoline on the thinnest setting and carefully slice jicama. (Different mandolines have different settings. If yours is too thin use the second thinnest setting)
- Top with fillings and eat!
- One jicama makes approximately 18 tortillas
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