Five delicious alternatives to potatoes
When you’re trying to lose weight, carbs are usually the first thing to go. The gluten-free market has exploded in recent years, with all manner of wheat-free breads, pastas and sweet bakes now available in your local supermarket. But what about the potato addicts among us? Read on to pick up some cooking tips on how to replace potatoes on your dinner plate and still feel full.
1. Polenta chips
Polenta is amazingly versatile and often overlooked. Cook into a fluffy, corny mash in under 5 minutes, add it to cakes and cookies for a crumbly texture, or leave it to set and slice it up to make polenta chips. The beauty of making your own polenta chips is that you can add any sort of seasoning you like, and you decide how healthy or greasy you want them to be. To keep fat levels down, chop your polenta into finger-sized portions and brush or spray with olive oil. Arrange in a non-stick baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden. Half way through, open the oven and give the chips another coating of oil. Toss in sea salt and cracked black pepper, then serve.
2. Celeriac rosti
Celeriac has a lovely tangy flavour and crunchy texture that is perfect for a rosti. Peel and grate your celeriac and mix in a bowl with a grated carrot, grated celery, finely sliced spring onion, seasoning and an egg. Make a patty with your hands and either shallow fry or bake until the edges turn crispy.
3. Roast parsnip
Roast potatoes are the ultimate comfort food… until you’ve had roast parsnips. Peel your parsnips and toss in vegetable oil, salt, pepper and a small dash of maple syrup. Roast for 30-45 minutes until the parsnips start to caramelise, then enjoy this sticky, fluffy treat.
Contrary to popular belief, quinoa is not hard to get, it’s not bland and it is not expensive. The trick is to fry your quinoa in a little olive oil before cooking it. This releases a nutty flavour, which adds great depth to the grain. To cook, cover with water and bring to the boil in a saucepan – simmer for around 10 minutes, or until the grains puff up to form mini spirals. Then remove from the heat and set aside with a sheet of kitchen roll over the top (to absorb excess moisture). Add chilli sauce to give you quinoa a kick, or stir in some pomegranate seeds and chopped cucumber for a light summer side dish.
5. Cauliflower mash
The beauty of cauliflower mash is that it almost, almost, looks like mashed potato. If you add a cheeky knob of butter and some sea salt and black pepper, the taste is wonderfully indulgent. Just bring a full head of cauliflower to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes until soft (but not falling apart). Season, mash and serve! Cauliflower is a very light vegetable so make sure to mash it by hand – if you add it to a blender you will end up with cauliflower puree, or even soup.