Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Faux get about it

It's here. You know, that time of year when people shove cheese-covered beef patties in one hand, a beer in the other and try to pour baked beans down your throat.

Otherwise known as grilling season.

While grilling offers many healthy options (chicken, seafood, fresh veggies, cooking sans oil), I always find myself in trouble when it comes to the sides. Take Heather's grill out this weekend: There were baked beans, Buffalo chicken dip, hashbrown casserole, corn pudding - and that's not even including this insane donut-tasting dessert someone brought. Don't get me wrong, there was also a veggie tray and fruit salad with low-fat dip but given the choice ... well, pass the mac and cheese.

Of course, I brought my own dish. I originally signed up to bring potato salad but Heather later said to bring something that I could eat, aka a "safe" food for the both of us. I wasn't willing to give up the flavor, though, so imagine my excitement when I came across a Hungry Girl recipe that would allow me to bring the flavors of a grill out to the party without the calories.

Faux-tato salad

Adapted from Hungry Girl

2 average-size heads cauliflower, roughly chopped
2 hard-boiled eggs pus 6 hard-boiled egg whites, chilled and chopped
1/2 envelope ranch dressing/dip mix
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons milk
2 small onions, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1/4 cup chopped chives
3 tablespoons white vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Optional garnish: paprika

Place cauliflower in a large microwave-safe bowl, and pour 2/3 cup water over it (you may have to do this in batches). Cover and microwave for 6 to 8 minutes (until cauliflower is soft). Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together the ranch mix, mayo, sour cream, Dijon mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Set aside. Once cool enough to handle, drain any excess water from the cooked cauliflower. Lightly mash just 1 cup of cauliflower with milk (I used a whisk). Add the mayo mixture and mix until combined. Chop the rest of the cauliflower into small half-inch pieces. Place these cauliflower pieces in a large bowl, and add the onion and celery. Toss and let sit for 5 minutes. Pour the blender mixture over the vegetables and mix well. Add the chopped eggs+egg whites and chives and fold them in. Chill for several hours. If you like, sprinkle with paprika just before serving.

Nutrition (based on 16 servings):105 calories, 6 grams fat, 8 grams carbohydrates and 5 grams protein. Traditional potato salad will run you at least double.

(Note: Hungry Girl uses fat-free ingredients to lower the calories. I think fat-free mayo is gross. If you want to get this under 100, I'd cut the mayonnaise to 1 cup and add a bit more milk to the cauliflower puree.)

And the bonus? Heather's stepmom said she preferred it to traditional potato salad. (Mark, on the other hand, wasn't even willing to carry it into the party much less eat it. He said he'd rather die of starvation.)


  1. Must try :) Thanks for the recipe. What's with Mark? lol

  2. Sides: Asparagus on the grill! Grilled red peppers, onions and zucchini, tossed with a little balsamic vinegar! Corn on the cob! (on the grill!) Grilled cauliflower "steaks"! Grilled endive! Fresh sliced tomatoes with fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil!

    Dessert: Peaches on the grill! Pineapple on the grill! Sorbet!

    Oh man, now I'm craving SUMMER!

  3. Yay - thanks for posting this recipe. I shared it with my mom! Awesome that Heather's step mom liked it better than the regular version - super cool! High 5 to Heather for her PR and celebratory cookout!!!!!!

    I'm a HUGE fan of making asparagus mats (kabobing them with 2 skewers) and then spraying olive oil and putting Mrs. Dash Italian seasoning - YUM!!!!! Also for fun, BIG fan of putting a couple of pineapple rings or wedges in a foil packet with just a teeny tiny pat of butter and a TBSP of brown sugar then grill (you can put a slice of pound cake in there as well or you can put a big marshmellow in there as well) - put over frozen yogurt - AWESOME! OHHH and I love to grill veggie kabobs - YUMMY!

  4. lol oh Mark. I think he and Ryan would get along because that is something Ryan would definitely say and do. So silly. That actually looks really good and I'm not even sure I like cauliflower.

  5. Sounds awesome. I use Veganaise instead of mayo so I will try this out with some of my own tweaks. Thanks for sharing.