How will I ever live without potatoes on a LCHF diet?

Once you’ve tasted well prepared potatoes in any form you will undoubtedly want to go for more. It’s a fact, they are addictive – after all they behave the same way sugar does when it enters your body: they elevate your blood glucose, give you a quick energy boost and then make you crash and crave more.

Let’s take potato chips, can you stop at one? No, you can’t. Now, with potato chips there is more at play than just the fact that they are made out of a potato (supposedly – there is more chemistry in a potato chip than there is actual potato) – the companies making potato chips have their own recipe for making you want to go for more than one – but I digress, this is a topic for another post. Potatoes, when prepared correctly seduce you with their deep and savoury starchiness and give you a mouthfeel that is not reproducible by any other food, or is it? You feel like you’re eating fluffy clouds not potatoes… Next the starch content raises your blood glucose and soon your body will release insulin to manage the glucose, turn some of it into liver and muscle glycogen and store the rest where it can – mostly in your buttocks. Because you know damn well that one serving of mashed potatoes will not do, you’ll want some more and some more, and you know that you will douse it with a heavy, creamy coating of gravy.

Living a LCHF lifestyle does not mean you have to forget about ever having mashed potatoes. OK, you have to forget about it, but if you are open-minded you can easily create substitutions to your favorite dishes. And they might actually turn out better than the original! Just give it a try. Here is a step by step instructions on how to go about it and it’s pretty darn easy and won’t take you much more time than preparing “the real thing”.

STEP 1: Steam or boil a head of cauliflower – yes, of all things available you will substitute potatoes with cauliflower! Mostly because it has a mind flavour that will soak up the flavour of anything you decide to add to it.  

STEP 2: Transfer cooked and cooled cauliflower into a food processor and process on high until you reach the consistency of a mashed potato.

I bet you you couldn’t tell it wasn’t a potato in my food processor! Now, you could skip the food processor and mash the cauliflower by hand, but it is so much easier this way and you’ll achieve a silky smooth consistency.

Now that I think of it, I should have done a side by side comparison of potato vs. cauliflower mash to show you that there is no visual difference. However, I would have been stuck with a bunch of mashed potatoes at the end that I would not know what to do with… Do birds eat mashed potatoes?

STEP 3: Melt 1tbs of butter or coconut oil in a large frying pan and add your mashed cauliflower in the frying pan.

I used to be afraid of butter, but I remember very clearly growing up that butter was the primary fat used in my mother’s kitchen. I rarely saw any bottles of vegetable oil kicking around, it was always butter. She’d make her famous boneless pork chops and fry them in butter. Mind you, there is one step in her pork chop recipe that I definitely skip and that’s breading them in breadcrumbs… Instead I’d use spices, nutritional yeast, coconut flour or coconut flakes if I was to coat my meats… I think I just put my creative engine in a drive mode 🙂

STEP 4: Now comes the fun part that you can play with to your heart’s content by adding whatever you have in your spice arsenal. I used salt and pepper, garlic and onion powder, pesto herb blend by Especias des Sol ¹  and a leftover shredded parmesan cheese. You can play with different combinations, though, and make these take on a different flavour every time you make them, there really isn’t a rule to this, well, maybe just one: have fun with it.

I cannot stress it enough how important it is to not shy away from your spice rack – throw away the rules and try new things. Buy a spice you’ve never heard of before and add it to your cauliflower mash, see what it does to it, how it changes its flavour. Cauliflower doesn’t have much flavour on its own so it’s important to add some to it, otherwise it will be bland.

STEP 5: Next add a splash of heavy whipping cream and integrate everything together by mixing with a spoon or a spatula.

In the past, heavy whipping cream used to be an ingredient, just like butter, that would have never graced my grocery list with its presence – simply because it’s a fat. This reminds me, I must update my grocery list to include it permanently on it instead of having to add it to the list every single week. I don’t use a lot of it and you don’t need a lot to make anything taste rich. Also, don’t settle for the less fatty alternatives or worse yet the fake creamers – those all come with carbs and additives, this one has 0g of carbs and 0 additives.

 

Stir everything until well integrated together.

STEP 6: Let cook for another 5-10 minutes for the mixture to thicken a bit.

Doesn’t this look like the best mashed potatoes cauliflower you’ve ever seen?

STEP 7: Transfer into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with thyme or more pesto mix. 

Cauliflower is an excellent substitution for the starchy potato in that it is packed with nutrition at only a fraction of caloric density. 100g of boiled cauliflower will cost you 23 calories of which only 4g is carbohydrates, 100g of boiled potato is about 4 times as calorically dense at 87 calories and a whooping 20g of carbs. And the flavour and mouthfeel are very comparable if not on par with the potato.
Stats for a boiled potato look pretty decent, until you compare them to the alternative.
And here is what I opt for instead of the potato, it won’t make me heavy and droopy.
Of course, the above calories comparison will change as you change what you add to your mix (olive oil, butter, cream) – but those are all fats that will add needed flavor. Remember, you’re deriving your energy from fat by replacing unneeded carbs for fat – no need to fear or avoid adding fat to your meals.

 

I’m fairly sure that if this mash was served to an unsuspecting person they would not be able to tell they are not eating potatoes.

And that’s a wrap for this instalment of “How will I live without _______ (fill in the blank) on a LCHF diet?” Just because you grew up eating a certain food item which in effect made you bloated and sick doesn’t mean that you have to continue eating it and feeling like you are slowly killing yourself. You can find a healthier alternative for most of these foods and if you can’t, so what? If there is a better way to fuel your body that doesn’t make you groggy, tired and lethargic every time you eat, then it’s a small price to pay to get rid of those offenders from your diet for good.

¹ I found this blend at Winners quite by chance – that’s what happens when I visit my favorite store on a spur of a moment – I end up with spices that come in handy I never know when I am going to be able to use. Now, you probably shouldn’t run to Winners to look for this Pesto mix, because chances are you will not find it. I don’t expect to find it again, either. However, you can easily make this mix yourself with store bought dry herbs. Take equal parts of dry basil, garlic, sun dried tomato, oregano and sesame seeds (I’d probably lower the amount to 1/3 of the other ingredients) and put in a coffee grinder. Grind as long as it takes to integrate and make mixture into a powder. Voilà! You made yourself a Pesto mix! Especias del Sol. (back to top)

Leave a Reply