This mashed cauliflower recipe is more than a low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes. It’s a creamy, cheesy, garlicky side dish that’s completely delicious in its own right.
As we all know, things are weird right now. I had some posts I’d planned to get to you this week but I think all of our plans kind of went to garbage recently, so consider this mashed cauliflower my ad-lib.
I’ve got a fridge full of produce– it’s about all I can get my hands on right now– so I’ve been going wild whipping up every sort of vegetable recipe you can imagine in-between infrequent grocery trips. Mashed Cauliflower has been one of my go-tos.
Mashed Cauliflower is a cauliflower puree that tastes a lot like mashed potatoes (hence why it’s also sometimes called “cauliflower mashed potatoes”), but it’s both healthier and faster to make. There’s no peeling necessary, but you wind up with a light, buttery, smooth and creamy side dish that’s perfect for holidays or weeknight dinners.
…Yes, even when your weeknights and your weekends all blur together.
HOW TO MAKE MASHED CAULIFLOWER TASTE GOOD
There are a few methods you can use to get a lot of flavor in your cauliflower.
Roasting and sauteing cauliflower are both great options for adding depth– they’ll caramelize the sugars in the cauliflower and intensify its flavors, so if you really want to “up” your Mashed Cauliflower game, they’re certainly not bad options. However, I usually keep things simple and boil my cauliflower for simplicity’s sake. In fact, while I’ve occasionally pulled out all of the fancier (and more time-intensive) stops, I’ve found that what really makes the most difference in flavor is what you add after the cauliflower itself has been cooked.
If you want to take your Mashed Cauliflower from meh to amazing, you’ve got to be prepared with some mix-ins.
- Parmesan cheese. Parmesan cheese is sharp, nutty, and complex, and it pairs great with vegetables like potatoes and cauliflower.
- Cream cheese. For extra cheesiness and a creamier consistency, I opt for cream cheese. You can substitute sour cream or even greek yogurt if you prefer, but just a little bit of cream cheese is my favorite for flavor.
- Salt & pepper. No mashed potatoes would be complete without plenty of S&P, and neither would mashed cauliflower. Be generous when you season with salt and pepper!
- Melted butter. Buttery is always better…y. I don’t mix butter into my cauliflower as I process it, but drizzled on top afterwards it lends a ton of flavor.
- Garlic. Either add a small amount of raw garlic to the cauliflower before pureeing for intense, spicy garlic flavor, or go the extra mile and saute the garlic in melted butter before adding to the cauliflower to tame it (and infuse the garlic flavor in the garlic– a win-win)!
- Chives. For garnish, green, and a bit of oniony flavor, chives make a great topping, but they’re totally optional. Feel free to swap them out for any herb you have on hand and prefer with your potatoes.
But you can also switch it up, just like you would for mashed potatoes. Add in bacon if you’d like, or cheddar cheese, or carmamelized onions… or all of the above (yum). Really, you can get extra-creative with whatever you have on hand.
AN EASY STOVETOP RECIPE
This recipe comes together incredibly easily!
To get started, boil your cauliflower in a large pot until it’s very tender. You can boil it in broth if you’d like to infuse more flavor, but regular ol’ water will do just fine. It’s important that you make sure your cauliflower is softened so your puree doesn’t wind up gritty.
Then, drain the cauilflower and press it between paper towels. Make sure the cauliflower is dry so your mashed cauliflower doesn’t wind up watery.
From there, transfer your cauliflower to a food processor while the cauliflower is still hot. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use an immersion blender or even a potato masher. Add the parmesan and cream cheeses, salt and pepper, and garlic, and then puree or mash until smooth and well-combined.
Top with melted butter, chives, and extra salt and pepper if you’d like. Then dig in!
A FOOD PROCESSOR?!
For mashed potatoes, I’d tell you never ever to use a food processor because you’d risk your potatoes turning gummy. However, cauliflower doesn’t act the same way potatoes do– potatoes get gummy due to their starch content, whereas cauliflower will not. So mash or puree away without fear! Throw ’em in the food processor until creamy!
CAN I USE FROZEN CAULIFLOWER?
Yes, you can make this recipe using frozen cauliflower. It will just take slightly less time to boil. Other than that, proceed as normal!
WATCH THE MASHED CAULIFLOWER VIDEO
- 1 large head cauliflower (about 1.5 pounds), cut into small florets, or frozen cauliflower florets
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (see note)
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- Melted butter and chives, to top
- Bring water or broth to a boil in a large, heavy bottomed pot and boil the cauliflower florets until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and press the cauliflower between paper towels to dry.
- While still hot, transfer the cauliflower to a food processor. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can use an immersion blender or potato masher.) Add the parmesan cheese, cream cheese, salt and pepper, and garlic. Puree or mash until smooth.
- Transfer to bowls and drizzle with melted butter. Sprinkle with chives and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve warm.
To temper the sharpness of the garlic, you can first saute your garlic in butter. It will also infuse your melted butter with garlic flavor! An optional extra step, but a great one!