A low-carb cauliflower kugel that doesn’t suck


Cauliflower / Mushroom / Leek Kugel

I don’t always food blog these days. But when I do, I mean it.

This is my second Passover season post-bariatric surgery. Since I started this process I’ve lost about 140lbs.

The surgery has helped immensely, but I credit a lot of this to sticking to a diet that is rich in protein and vegetables and low in sugar and carbohydrates.

Passover is a holiday that is incredibly difficult for bariatric patients. Most traditional Ashkenaze Jewish holiday foods are extremely carb-rich, and Passover is no exception, with matzoh incorporated into just about everything.

Matzo ball soup, matzo rolls, matzo stuffing, and of course, the kugels.

I do plan to attend the family seders this year, but I won’t be able to partake in most of it.

I’ll be able to eat brisket if it is there, but since surgery I now have an aversion to chicken (which happens in some people) as I can’t stand the taste/texture of it anymore and it makes me ill. And I’ve never liked gefilte fish or chopped liver.

Potato Kugel and Matzo Ball Soup is off the menu. As is basically anything that is mostly carb-based.

I will be there, primarily, to be with family. And to watch everyone eat stuff that I can’t.

Welcome to bariatric hell. Does Quest make a matzo ball soup flavor of their protein bars?

My favorite dish, next to matzo ball soup itself is potato kugels made with matzo. It’s like carbs on top of carbs. If you want a crazy-good version, check out the one in this legacy post with other great Passover recipes. It’s awesome. I can’t eat it. Enjoy.

Recently Rachel and I have been experimenting with cauliflower in various dishes as an ersatz carbohydrate. It’s great when shredded/grated and used as a fried rice, or a paella. It also is wonderful mashed with cream and butter (did I mention I no longer care about fat content?).

No, cauliflower does not taste like potatoes. But it does taste good when seasoned and cooked properly. And it soaks up gravy like nobody’s business. Which is very important.

Here is a delicious kugel you can make that is much lower in carbs than a traditional potato kugel, as is made mostly with cauliflower, mushrooms, leeks and eggs.

There is a small amount of matzo meal in it as binder, but in those quantities it’s not worth worrying about if that’s what you’re going to reach for instead of the potatoes and a few slabs of the bread of affliction.

Oh did I mention it kind of tastes like grandma’s matzo ball soup?

Happy Passover.

Cauliflower, Leek and Mushroom Kugel

    • 1 large head of cauliflower
    • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
    • 1 medium onion diced
    • 1 large leek cleaned and sliced 
    • 8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
    • 1.5 tsp salt
    • .5 tsp pepper
    • 2 tbsp finely chopped dill (divided)
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley (divided)
    • .5 cup coarsely ground almonds
    • 1/4 cup of matzo meal
    • 4 eggs, beaten 

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Shred cauliflower, cook in microwave in your largest glass bowl (so you can mix all ingredients in it later) until tender but not too soft (approx 10 mins stirring occasionally).

    Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in large skillet, cook onions 5 mins or they begin to brown, then add leeks and salt, sauteed another 5 mins, then add mushrooms and cook another 5 mins. Remove from heat. Add ground  pepper, half the parsley and half the dill. Mix with cooked cauliflower and allow everything to cool.

    In a small bowl, combine reserved dill, parsley and ground almonds with 2 tbsp olive oil, set aside.

    Grease casserole dish liberally with olive oil.

    Mix eggs and matzo meal with cooled off vegetables, spoon into casserole and smooth the top. Spread the herb and nut mixture over the top.

    Bake in oven for 40-50 mins until puffed and lightly browned.

    Serves 8-12 people or 24 bariatric patients

    2 Responses to A low-carb cauliflower kugel that doesn’t suck

    1. Stew Perlow says:

      Have Rachel make one for us. You know I hate to cook. Mom

    2. I’m going to make this. I had sleeve surgery in 2013. I still eat carbs, just not that much. I can eat half a matza ball. If I say to myself no carbs, I want them all the more. Works for me. Thank god I di not develop an aversion to chicken since I already don’t eat beef.

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