If you are a diabetic, cook for/live with a diabetic, or you just watch your carb intake, you know how frustrating it can be to attend a company picnic or family reunion where the table is loaded with delicious stuff that’s a disaster for blood sugar levels. You can take the safe bet and bring a vegetable tray, but that’s not the best option if you know you’re going to be tempted by classic high-carb picnic favorites like potato salad. Potato salad is difficult to include in a diabetic diet without strict portion control. And when it comes to potato salad, I’m really not interested in portion control. But wouldn’t it be awesome to add a carb-friendly version to the feast that people rave about, rather than another tray of radish roses and carrot sticks?
One of things I make to accommodate the low-carb needs of our household is “mashed faux-tatoes” – if you’re not familiar with these, you substitute some of the potatoes for cauliflower. Once it’s boiled, seasoned and mashed with the potatoes, it’s difficult to tell you’re not serving 100% of Idaho’s finest. I usually use about 1/3 cauliflower and 2/3 potatoes for this. Because it’s not as dense, I throw the cauliflower in halfway through the potato cooking time to make sure it still has some body left when it’s time to mash them. Add a little chicken (or vegetable) broth and/or non-fat sour cream, salt and pepper, and you’re good to go.
So if I could do that with mashed potatoes, I wondered, couldn’t I do the same thing with potato salad? YES! After a little experimenting, I found the key to it is using a waxy potato and not overcooking the cauliflower, which I think is much easier to accomplish in the microwave.
“Faux-tato” Salad w/Cauliflower
- 12 small new potatoes (red, white, Yukon)
- 3 cups bite-sized cauliflower
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion (or green onion if you prefer)
- 2 small stalks celery, sliced
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 2 Tblsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 Tblsp olive oil
- 3 Tblsp chopped chives
- 1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
- 3 slices bacon cooked and crumbled (omit for vegetarian, or substitute vegetarian bacon)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 3 – 4 Tblsp chopped parsley for garnish
- Scrub the potatoes and cut into bite-size pieces – potatoes should be small enough that “bite-size” is only two or three cuts each. Place in a microwave-safe bowl and cook on high for 3 minutes. Stir and cook on high for 3 minutes longer – potatoes will continue to cook after removing from microwave, so don’t cook until soft. If after resting 5 mintues potatoes aren’t “fork tender”, microwave on high an additional minute.
- In a microwaveable bowl with lid, put in the cauliflower and 1 Tblsp water. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stir, and cook 2 more minutes on high. Remove from oven, drain and allow to cool. As with the potatoes, these will continue to cook once removed, if not fork tender after 5 minutes, microwave on high 1 minute longer.
- In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, lemon juice, zest, oil, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Stir in the Gorgonzola and chives and set aside.
- In a large serving bowl combine the potatoes, cauliflower, onion and celery. Stir in the dressing and refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Just before serving, taste and adjust seasoning, fold in bacon crumbles and garnish with chopped parsley.
Remember, just because it has fewer carbs doesn’t mean there’s no need for moderation. You’ll WANT to eat the whole thing, but share with several others for optimum benefits to your health.
P.S. You can easily adjust this for your vegetarian and vegan eaters by removing the bacon (or substituting veggie bacon), a vegan-friendly cheese and mayo.