One Cooking Idea That Can Improve Your Diabetes Diet Three Ways

You have to love it when a single cooking idea can improve your diet three ways.

Rice made from a vegetable, or veggie rice, is first an excellent way to cut back on glucose-elevating carbs. Second, fewer mealtime carbs helps those of us who are cutting back on calories. Third, veggie rice is a semi-sneaky way to feed ourselves more fresh, nutrient-rich, fiber-full vegetables.

Veggie rice, such as cauliflower rice, is now available in many grocery stores, but it’s ridiculously easy and more economical to make. Any firm vegetable can be used including broccoli, butternut squash, beets, jicama, parsnips, carrots, purple potatoes, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, and turnips—making veggie rice a great way to enjoy seasonal produce.

Turning Veggies Into Rice

For those who love their kitchen gadgets, making veggie rice with a food processor - fitted with a blade attachment - is fast and simple. Cut the veggies into small chunks, drop them in the processor, and pulse until the veggie looks reasonably rice-like.

Those who rarely use food processors to avoid cleaning them will be relieved to know perfect veggie rice can be made with box graters, and a bit of elbow grease. Just use the largest holes on a box grater to shave the vegetable as if it were cheese. Veggies such as carrots and sweet potatoes should be peeled first. With cauliflower and broccoli, be sure to grate florets and stems.

Cooks that don't have a food processor, and have no idea what a box grater is, can still rice veggies by whittling carrots or broccoli with a sharp knife, and cooking-up the small shavings.

Cooking Veggie Rice

Veggie rice tastes best when it’s well seasoned, so for mouthwatering results saute a small chopped onion in butter on low heat, but don’t let anything brown. Add-in some minced garlic, maybe some favorite herbs, and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Then, put the riced veggie in the pan, cover, and steam for three to five minutes. Harder vegetables (e.g., rutabaga) take longer.

When it comes to cooking time, be conservative. According to the pros, it’s a good idea to remove vegetable rice from the heat when it’s more al dente than done, since it will continue to soften until served.

To make fluffier rice, add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of broth for each cup of veggie rice, and stir frequently as the rice reduces. For a tomato taste add diced fresh tomatoes or tomato paste to the pan. Make a quick risotto by folding in some cheese just as the rice is done.

Going Raw

Veggie rice can also be used uncooked as a grain substitute in salads such as tabouli, or simply enjoyed as a stand alone dish by tossing the raw rice with olive oil, and a splash of lemon juice. Raw riced veggies might also give a nutrient and flavor boost to chicken and tuna salads, or scrambled eggs—let creativity be your guide.

Sources: Sarah McColl/Clean Plates; She Knows
Photo credit: Ella

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