Lately, we have been reading more about the dangers of high-glycemic foods, and have decided to greatly reduce our intake of sugars and grains. Both my husband and I have more clarity, and we have both lost a bit of weight. Recently I wanted to make bentos for a few people I was picking up from the airport. They had been traveling for more than 15 hours and needed some real food. I wanted it to be low-carb, easily digestible, and highly nutritious, yet look and taste like something "normal" for the one traveler who pretty much eats a Standard American Diet. Here is what I came up with:
|Asian Cauliflower Fried "Rice," Chicken with Soy Sauce and Apple Molasses, Steamed Zucchini;|
Dove chocolates and a tangerine.
The dish that ties it all together is the Cauliflower Fried Rice, adapted from Sarah Fragoso's Everyday Paleo. Nom Nom Paleo has a yummy version here. Every one of the travelers asked me, "Wow! What is this grain?" and were all surprised to find that it was not a grain at all. (The raw corn I added for color is indeed a grain, but it's minimal.) Basically, you grate or food-process cauliflower until it is as small as rice (or in this case, quinoa), then eat it raw or briefly cooked, with or without other seasonings. One medium cauliflower, grated into rice, makes enough for six people, so the choice to buy organic is more economical. Another vegetable that stands in well for grain is grated parsnip, raw or steamed, and, of course, baked spaghetti squash. You're not just eliminating grains, you are actually eating more wonderful vegetables.
When I first went gluten-free, I began making tabouli with quinoa instead of bulghur wheat. If you wanted to lower the carb count, you could do as many raw-food chefs do and substitute grated cauliflower to make a completely raw, low-carb, gluten-free dish that is very tasty. You can also reduce the carb load and increase the nutrition of mashed potatoes by mashing in part (or all) of steamed cauliflower. By taking advantage of Cauliflower's bland, adaptable nature, you can create bentos that are Paleo-friendly and totally yummy!