Great Taste vs. Diabetic/Low-Carb: No Need to Give up One for the Other

Potatoes and Cauliflower by SerenityRose on flickr.jpg

This guest post was written by type 2 diabetic and chef Ward Alper. It originally appeared on his website, The Decadent Diabetic, and was republished on with permission.

I was always amazed that two of what I think of as simple side dishes were always such favorites. I have prepared them for years as support to what I considered the stars of my plates. I mean, really, they are JUST potatoes.

One is smashed spuds, also referred to as my dessert mashed potatoes. (That is NOT because they are sweet but because they are so rich and flavorful.) The other is the potato gratin. (Again, this dish is very rich and flavorful.) I was amused as they often stole the show.

Now, as a diabetic, I thought these two were lost to my plate forever. Do you know what? I was wrong. The potatoes are so well flavored, I really only need to put a small (1/2 cup) amount of potato on the plate to feel completely satisfied.

Larger Serving with Fewer Carbs

Being someone who likes to eat a “big” portion, I decided to make both of these recipes using cauliflower. I made no changes to the proportions of the recipe. The only change is cooking time. The mashed cauliflower and the cauliflower gratin were just as good, possibly a little better, as the original potato recipe. BONUS: Using the cauliflower, I got to have A LOT more (twice as much) on my plate – with fewer carbohydrates.

I make both the potato and the cauliflower recipes interchangeably with the exception of Shepard’s Pie. For some reason, I don’t like the mashed cauliflower on top of this dish. The difficult thing to remember is that when I use the cauliflower, I don’t really need another vegetable for my plate. What I usually do is just slice a ripe tomato for a little sharpness and color on the plate. Remember: “First you eat with your eyes.”

Bottom line is that I have given up nothing by substituting the cauliflower for the potato: not taste, not texture, not volume – nothing! Oh yeah, I did give up something: some of the carbs.

Below is the recipe for both potato and cauliflower gratin. You may notice that the two recipes contain the same ingredients. That is part kitchen trick and part flavor balance. Both the potato and the cauliflower are neutral flavors that lend themselves very well to cheese, sour cream and onion.

Enjoy, be happy, be healthy and BE DECADENT!

Click here for Ward's Potato Gratin or Cauliflower Gratin recipe!

Get more nutrition tips and recipe ideas from Ward Alper, the Decadent Diabetic, on his website.

Image credit: SerenityRose / flickr