This is my “I can’t believe it’s not potatoes” mashed cauliflower. They are a light, creamy, dreamy side that taste too good to be true. It’s the perfect side that has all the starchy, rich potato taste and feel without the heaviness and calories mashed potatoes add to your meal. Even if you hate cauliflower you will love this. Something magical happens when cauliflower is steamed and pureed. This mash tastes like mac n’ cheese, without the pasta! It doesn’t get much better than that.
So what’s all the fuss about cauliflower? If you are obsessed with the world of food blogging like I am, you’ve probably seen several recipes for mashed cauliflower, cauliflower crust pizza, cauliflower rice, and even recipes for things like cauliflower bread sticks and cauliflower calzones! Not only does cauliflower taste delicious as a replacement for potatoes or bread, but it also offers a vast array of nutritional benefits. Besides, you can never eat too many vegetables.
I made this dish as a side for my brother’s graduation party this past Saturday and it was a hit! Nobody guessed it was cauliflower and I got a few questions about the recipe, so I decided it was time to share it. My version of mashed cauliflower is bursting with delicious Pecorino Romano cheese and garlic flavor while holding a light and airy texture with some help from my beloved food processor. The end result is crave-worthy and will take any meal to the next level!
Yesterday I had this mash with a grilled, free-range, pork chop my aunt brought from Vermont. It was heavenly! Next time you reach into the cabinet to make mashed potatoes, stop yourself and go for the fridge instead.
Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower
yield: 4-6 servings
1 large cauliflower
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast for vegan version)
salt and pepper, to taste
dash cayenne pepper (optional)
chopped chives, for topping (optional)
*If you want a super creamy, deluxe version, add a tablespoon or two of your favorite oil or butter (olive oil, coconut oil, ghee)
1. Wash the cauliflower well, then remove the stem so you are left with florets. Eyeball the size of each floret to about 2 inches wide.
2. Steam the florets with the garlic for 20-25 minutes, or until they are extremely tender. If you don’t have a steamer, you can boil the florets and garlic. When in doubt, cook the cauliflower longer than necessary because it’s impossible to overcook it (the softer it is the easier it is to puree).
3. Add the cauliflower in two batches to a food processor. Divide the cheese between the two batches, and season each batch with salt and pepper. Process until the cauliflower is smooth and fluffy, or the consistency of mashed potatoes. If you are having trouble blending, add a splash of almond milk to help the blending process. If you want to make your mash extremely decedent, add a tablespoon of oil or butter to the mash while processing. Serve hot.