In our family we see nothing wrong with ‘breakfast’ any time of day. If anything a big pile of eggs, bacon and hash browns seems even more appealing after a long busy day than first thing in the morning (when my stomach really is only welcome to water, coffee and the usual morning meds). It’s not only the classic breakfast spread either, we enjoy an evening pancake meal, waffles, English muffin sandwiches, oatmeal etc. I guess our family just really loves breakfast.
If you notice though, many of those meals tend to not be the most well rounded and healthy. At the very least a good serving (of which lets face it many of us would be having some seconds) is quite hefty on the calorie amount along with high fat content, lots of starchy carbs and not very stocked full of vegetables like our usual dinner meals are. While once in a blue moon this isn’t a problem but for us wanting to have breakfast at supper once or twice a week, we’ve been messing around with some alternatives and today I have one to share.
Now I don’t want anyone to think I have anything against potatoes, I don’t. In fact, I love em. So versatile, tender or crunchy (or a little bit of both) and they ARE packed full of a lot of nutrients,they’ve really only gotten a bad rep for being high in carbs, but since we do still actually need carbohydrates to function, they’re a tasty option in my books.
That doesn’t mean they’re suitable for every meal, or in mass quantity especially if you’re like Mr. Mango and I who are trying to watch our weight (watch it go down a bit, in fact). Potatoes are a little more calorie dense than other options and usually the cooking method for our favorite ways to enjoy them involve a lot of oil. THIS is why I ventured into experimentation mode for finding a suitable substitute for regular shredded potato hash browns that still tastes great but is a little lighter on the calorie load and is chalked full of yummy healthy vegetables.
I want to start by saying that this recipe is incredibly versatile, while last night’s version (pictured here) tasted like perfection, there are no hard rules for what to throw together for a great side for eggs, sausage, heck pretty much anything (we’ve had a similar side-dish with steak, fish filet and even today Mr. Mango is taking the hefty amount of leftovers for lunch as their own meal!). It really is up to personal taste, the only real way to screw it up would be to burn it (which I’ve proven is actually really difficult to do) or to let it go soft (which we’ve had happen when supper doesn’t come together as fast as we’d like and it’s sat over low heat for too long and all the water in the vegetables turns it more into a soupy mash than hash).
Ms. Mango’s NO POTATO Hash
- 1 head cauliflower (leaves and core removed)
- 4-6 medium or large carrots
- 2 hand-fulls white mushrooms
- 1 large onion (or in my case here 3 little ones)
- 1/3 package sodium reduced bacon **
- dash of sea salt to taste
- fresh ground pepper to taste
- chopped fresh parsley for optional garnish
If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to tackle getting the vegetables prepped before even considering turning on the stove, the last thing I want to do is warp my sauce pan or burn my bacon…. it’s a cryin’ shame when that happens.
I’m sure for people with a food processor this part is done in a flash but since I don’t have one, I rely on my handy dandy box grater and my favorite vegetable knife. Alternate between shredding a carrot, a couple mushrooms and finely chopping some of the cauliflower crowns (if you can manage to grate cauliflower be my guest, when I do it, it’s a messy disaster). Alternating them all as you go and throwing ’em all in a big mixing bowl until everything is all chopped and grated up.
THEN place a large sauce pan (a large wok or regular frying pan works well too, as long as it’s big, this recipe makes a lot) on the stove and turn on the element to medium heat. Thinly slice the onion and the bacon and then add both into the pan. The fat from the bacon is more than enough to keep everything from sticking so the beauty here is not having to add any extra oil.
Keep cooking until the bacon starts to brown and curl and the onions start to turn clear. I then dump the bowl of chopped/shredded vegetables on top, season with salt and pepper and cook for another 6-8 minutes. AS SOON AS THE CAULIFLOWER IS TENDER REMOVE FROM HEAT. Remember what I said above, you don’t want a mushy soup. Quickly chop up some fresh parsley and serve right away or cover and keep warm until ready to serve, garnishing with parsley after plates are dished out.
** If wanting to make vegetarian or vegan butter or oil can be used instead of bacon, as the pan needs some sort of fat to not only keep the vegetables from sticking but to add flavor to the dish, you might also have to increase salt and pepper to more than a dash, bacon itself lends a lot of flavor.
Other alterations? Well the sky really is the limit here. Use leftover ham or chicken instead of bacon, mix up the vegetables (we’ve used zucchini, bok choy, broccoli slaw, spaghetti squash etc) generally though we always have the cauliflower in it, the texture and flavor are really loved by everyone in our family and as you can see, it make a whole lot. Play around with the seasoning too, some garlic powder, chili powder, basil, oregano…. you name it.
This meal definitely hit the spot last night, it was super easy to put together, it was warm and comforting as I’m finally getting over my sinus infection and my flare up is still in effect and the kids loved it so much, we had a complaint free supper (that means a lot in a house full of pick eaters). Mr. Mango also had to mention he felt less bloated and heavy afterwards, compared to a normal splurge breakfast-for-supper meal, he’s realizing eating light isn’t really so bad after all!