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11 Clever Carb-Cutting Cauliflower Swaps

Photo: Rachel Johnson

Creamy and white but naturally low-carb, cauliflower is the answer to your dieting woes. If you're looking to track your carb intake or just want to shave some calories off your favorite dishes, then this collection of recipes will definitely help. In everything from baked goods and potato-based dishes to indulgent cream sauces, cauliflower is a magical stand-in for many less-than-healthy ingredients. 

Cauliflower is a low-carb eater's best friend. When it's roasted, it's crispy and crunchy like a potato wedges. When it's steamed and mashed, it can pass for buttery mashed potatoes with ease. When riced, it's hard to deny the likeness to a bowl of actual rice. Whether you're trying to cut carbs from your daily diet or just looking for ways to sneak in more servings of vegetables, these cauliflower swaps will leave your carb-craving palate satisfied.


Nothing is quite as comforting as a big dollop of potatoes on your dinner plate. Rich and creamy, they get a lightened up makeover in our Quick Creamy Potatoes recipe, which combines half-and-half cauliflower and potatoes. The results are just as smooth and satisfying as the original dish. 

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Cream Sauce

Notorious for being rich, Alfredo sauce is dense with calories and saturated fat. Cut down on the unwanted extras by opting for Cauliflower Alfredo, which adds cauliflower puree to a roux base for an ultra creamy, yet light, dinner.


Usually deep-fried, fritters are one of the last things that come to mind when the word "healthy" is mentioned. But with these Crisp Cauliflower Fritters, cauliflower replaces carb-heavy potatoes, and they're pan fried for a crispy exterior without extra oil. 

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Pizza Crust

It's easy to love pizza—and even easier to pick it up on the drive home from work. Avoid the temptation of take-out and instead make this Veggie Pizza with Cauliflower Crust. Using a whole head of cauliflower, this crust is a gluten-free combo of the veggie, cheese, and egg whites. Best part? Two people get to split a whole pizza for only 350 calories each. 

Potato Soup

With 2/3 fewer calories per ounce than potatoes, cauliflower was an obvious choice for bulking up our Creamy, Light Potato Soup. Since the soup base tastes indulgent (but is actually quite light), it means you get a good dose of cheese and bacon toppings. 

Photo: Rebecca Longshore


Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, these Cheesy Cauliflower Tots are perfect for curbing those fast-food cravings. Flavored with red bell peppers, cheese, and cilantro, they knock the potato version out of the ring. 

Fried Rice

While brown rice is a whole grain that we love, we occasionally like to opt for something less calorie dense, which is where Easy Cauliflower Fried “Rice” comes in to save the day. With 190 fewer calories per cup than traditional rice, cauliflower pairs beautifully with shrimp and egg for an Asian-inspired favorite that won't harm your diet. 

Photo: Rachel Johnson


Worried about your cauliflower rice falling apart in sushi? Don't fret, a dash of coconut milk helps the cauliflower mimic the texture of sticky rice in this paleo-friendly Sushi Salmon Roll. If you're not a big fish fan, easily switch out the salmon for any of your favorite sushi fillings. 


Easy to blend up as a simple side, Cauliflower Polenta is the perfect accompaniment to saucy main dishes that need a mild base to soak up flavor. Using just five ingredients (most of which are probably in your pantry or fridge), you can have this recipe on the table in about half an hour. 

Photo: Rebecca Longshore


Unashamedly served at either breakfast, lunch, or dinner (at least in the South), biscuits are a delicious side that can sometimes derail the caloric intake of your entire meal. Gluten-free and less than 25 calories per biscuit, Cheesy Cauliflower Biscuits may be the answer to your carb fears. They're easily served as a meal accompaniment or a bite-size appetizer.

Cheese Sauce

Ooey-gooey cheesy bread gets an extra dose of vegetables (and more creaminess) from steamed cauliflower in this Cauliflower Cheese Sauce. Use this mixture for your next grilled cheese sandwich and pair alongside fresh tomato soup for a family-friendly dinner. We recommend spreading this sauce on crusty French bread , but you can use any bread you prefer. The cheesy-veggie sauce is a great way to sneak in vegetables, so try tossing it with fresh pasta for a healthier mac and cheese that doesn't skimp on the creamy texture and cheesy flavor.