Processed grains such as bread, rice, and noodles are prevalent in many recipes so today I want to give you 4 substitutes that you can use in place of these processed grains. I’ve experimented with all four of these substitutes and I love them! They will not have exactly the same texture or taste as your bread or other grains but you may find that you actually prefer some of these substitutes instead! I personally prefer these substitutes over any gluten free bread or noodles out there. The four main ingredients that I use are lettuce, zucchini, cauliflower, and avocado.
One of my favorite foods is tacos! But if you are trying to stay away from processed grains, you can’t eat tortillas. So instead of using tortillas, I started using lettuce. I just buy a head of lettuce and then I take a whole layer off and use it as my tortilla. I find that this does not change the taste of the taco much at all! Plus, I normally put lettuce on my tacos anyways, now it’s just on the outside. I also use lettuce to substitute for bread on sandwiches. Whatever ingredients I would normally put on my sandwich, I just wrap in lettuce instead. This is great with ham and cheese, turkey, and tuna! I also find lettuce is one of the easiest things to use as a substitute because there is no additional preparation.
Another one of my favorite substitutes is zucchini. I love substituting my noodles for zucchini noodles. In order to do this, it is best if you have a vegetable spiralizer, they are super cheap and easy to find at any grocery store! To use zucchini noodles, I spiralize my zucchini and then I heat it up on the stove for about 2-3 minutes, just enough to heat the zucchini up. You do not have to actually cook the zucchini so this can actually save you time from having to boil regular noodles. I find zucchini to be the closest substitutes in taste and texture to regular noodles but I don’t feel bloated after I eat them! I’ve tried using spaghetti squash for noodles as well but I personally prefer the texture of zucchini because the spaghetti squash is typically more soft and soggy.
A third substitute is cauliflower. Cauliflower is a very diverse ingredient and can be used in so many different ways. My favorite is to make cauliflower rice! It’s easiest to use a food processor and chop the cauliflower until it turns into small florets. Once it is all chopped up, you can basically cook it the same way you would cook regular rice. I love adding some veggies and chicken to make a cauliflower stir fry. You can also further process the florets until it turns into mashed cauliflower which can act as a substitute for mashed potatoes if you are trying to stay away from those as well. You can also use cauliflower to make so many other things from casseroles to pizza crust!
My fourth substitute that I occasionally use is avocado. I find avocado to be a little less versatile than the other three but great in certain dishes. My favorite is tuna! Rather than putting tuna on a sandwich or in lettuce as above, you can also slice an avocado in half and use that instead. This is a really quick meal that tastes great and is super healthy! You can also use avocado with chicken salad or to hold bacon and eggs. I typically do not use avocado as much because there is a pretty short window of time that they stay good and I am not always great at planning ahead, but when I do I love it!
These are the four main substitutes that I use to help me stay away from processed grains. It can be challenging to not eat bread and noodles because they are often the quickest and easiest things but if you make sure to keep some of these substitutes on hand, it will be much easier for you. Try experimenting with different ways you can use these four ingredients among others to create healthy and tasty meals!
What are some substitutes that you use?