Guest Post: Cucina Ceri – Subbing Processed Carbs for Colourful Veg

By Ceri Jones, of Cucina Ceri

Readers of this blog will know that this January, Ren committed to the Whole30 regime, which draws on the Paleo approach to a diet based on whole foods (meat, fish, veg, fruit, nuts and seeds) to enable the body to re-set itself and become less dependent on sugars and processed foods as fuel.  Since my blog, Cucina Ceri, is full of Paleo inspired recipes I was delighted when Ren asked me to put together a guest post for Fabulicious Food. 

I get my recipe inspiration from just about everywhere – meals out, reading magazines, other blogs, cookbooks and cooking shows on the box – I take my inspiration first and worry about adapting it to my nutritional aspirations later!

I love experimenting in the kitchen, and as a reformed pasta-&-dense-carb-a-holic, I love to find new ways of using my existing pasta recipe repertoire to create tasty new and good for you dishes.  My favourite way of doing this is to replace grain and gluten-heavy foods such as pasta, noodles and rice with vegetable alternatives.  This also increases my daily intake of vegetables at the same time – perfect!

Here are 5 of my favourite ideas –

1. Using courgettes as ‘spaghetti’ or noodles.  I’ve got a piece of equipment called a ‘spiraliser’ but very cheap julienne peeler works just as well.  In a matter of minutes a humble courgette can be turned into fabulous ribbon lengths and served alongside favourite pasta sauces such as bolognese, meatballs, carbonara or pesto.  My current favourite recipe is Pancetta with Courgette Linguini. For a cuisine way further east than Italy I recently cooked up a tasty Prawn Pad Thai.  I’ll be posting this up on Cucina Ceri very soon.

Pancetta with Courgette Linguini

Pancetta with Courgette Linguini 

2. Stuffing veg to carry sauces.  I am loving using squash, hollowed out, roasted and filled with a pasta sauce of choice.  My easy on the eye Squash All’Amatriciana is one of my favourite ever recipes.

Squash All’Amatriciana

3. Using cauliflower as rice.  Stick a head of cauliflower through the grating attachment on a food processor, steam or stir fry with some garlic & coconut oil and hey presto you’ve got a pile of highly nutritious cruciferous veg to serve as an accompaniment to a meal.  I recently served this alongside my Burmese Pork Curry . Cauliflower rice can also be used instead of bulgar in Tabbouleh.

4. Using thinly sliced aubergines or courgettes instead of lasagna sheets.  Certainly no less tasty, than a conventional lasagne I had great fun creating this Faux Lasagna – by layering up beef bolognese, vegetables and creamy pesto sauce.

5. Subbing grain-free flour in gnocchi. This is a recipe I haven’t yet published on the blog as I need to perfect it a little further – a gnocchi made from sweet potato and chestnut flour.  I choose sweet potatoes over plain as whilst white pots are a vegetable they are basically a nutritional non-event. Chestnut flour is one of my favourite substitute flours and like the sweet potato has a slightly sweet edge.  This gnocchi dish is starchy carb heavy so saved for a special treat.  The gnocchi carried both sauces I trialled superbly – Creamy Coconut with Salmon and Spinach, Rocket & Parma Ham.

Cucina Ceri

So there you have it – just a few of my favourite ideas I wanted to share. I would be really interested to know if anyone has any similar recipes or ideas?   Thanks so much Ren for inviting me to guest post – and best of luck with the rest of your Whole 30 journey.  I am reading with interest!

Cucina Ceri Paleo Food Blog

With many thanks to Ceri Jones for this lovely and informative guest post – brimming with healthy ideas!


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  4. Hi Ren,
    Thanks for inviting me to guest post – I hope your readers have enjoyed it! I’ve just published my Pad Thai recipe that I mentioned above in case anyone is interested!
    I’m guessing your whole 30 is over now – how did you celebrate? Ceri x

    1. Hi Ceri, thank you so much, too. I;m just about to post another Paleo-friendly recipe. I celebrated by realising I had lost 8 pounds in 22 days before slightly breaking the rules. I’m now back on track – still haven’t had milk or gluten, or cheese. Feels like a much cleaner lifestyle!

  5. What a great post, I know about Paleo but haven’t tried it knowingly as I’m not a great meat eater (hubby is a veggie) but we eat super healthily most of the time. I use courgettes as pasta too and use leeks and aubergines in place of lasgne pasta sheets. Some lovely suggestions here will try more out!

    1. Hi there, thank you so much for your comment. I think it would be a little more challenging for a vegetarian, but not impossible as long as your hubby eats plenty of seeds and nuts! The no legumes thing would be tricky. Mainly it is about eating less processed foods, I have, by default, been eating plenty more fresh veggies! Hope you manage to try a couple of ideas out. Ren x

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