For this latest recipe and as an alternative to regular mashed potatoes I am going to be using cauliflower. On a new healthier and cleaner way of eating path these days, I’m thinking of different ways to either replace an original with a healthier substitute or a new grain for side dish carbs. Pastas, rices, potatoes and the like will still be eaten, that is undeniable, but in more moderation, while grains and more vegetables will be on the uptake here.
I remembered an episode of Restaurant Impossible with chef Robert Irwin where he was working in Washington DC and assisting the First Lady in getting kids to eat more vegetables. He made mashed cauliflower instead of what the kids were thinking were mashed potatoes and had them do a taste test. Some enjoyed them, but when they were told what it was they were a little more reluctant to try it. I thought the idea interesting, but wondered about the consistency and flavor myself and never gave it a thought until now.
This is surprisingly delicious, the consistency superb and nutrition wise, better for you than a potato in keeping the weight off. I could eat mashed potatoes with butter and gravy slathered on top all day long, but if I am going to be eating better and keep the weight off this is fantastic.
While I could easily use the everyday white cauliflower, I was struck by how incredibly beautiful the purple cauliflower was the other day at our local farmer’s market. Look at this beauty! So I decided it would be the basis for my Creamy Mashed Cauliflower the other night.
So to add my little twist to these guys I am going to start off by caramelizing onions and garlic and add that to the steamed cauliflower before mashing.
On low heat melt some butter in a skillet and add the thinly sliced onions. As they start to turn brown add the crushed and chopped garlic. I take the garlic cloves and smack them with the side of my knife and the skins pop off easily. Smack them a second time to mash and chop.
I cored and broke apart the purple cauliflower into smaller florets and in a micro safe bowl microwaved them for 5 minutes, covered with plastic wrap. You could just as easily steam them over boiling water.
My first thought was to use my food mill I usually use for mashing and sieving soft foods like tomatoes for sauce.
It was not the tool to use and ended up creating more dishes than the mashed cauliflower I wanted. It was just not the right tool for the job. So, in the food processor they went with the caramelized onion and garlic mixture. I thinned it out just a bit with some low fat milk, but feel free to use soy or chicken stock to suit your needs or preferences.
I seasoned with a little kosher salt and white pepper and topped with some butter and fresh chopped chives.
I found that by adding the caramelized onions and garlic it added that nice subtle nutty flavor and of course who doesn’t love a little butter, onion and garlic? It’s one of the smells that wakes up my palette and when introduced with the cauliflower, added a needed something to make these wow!
These are definitely something I will be making often and I highly recommend you try. They are a perfect side dish when you don’t want those extra carbs you get from potatoes. And if the purple is not to your liking the white cauliflower is just as good. I even have made these with an orange variety I found at the farmers market. Experiment and have fun!
Creamy Mashed Cauliflower
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 1 onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3 tbsp butter
- milk or chicken stock to thin if needed
- kosher salt
- white pepper
- chives to garnish
- Break the cauliflower down - core and break into florets.
- Steam the cauliflower either over boiling water or in a microwave safe dish covered with plastic wrap for 5 minutes on high.
- On low heat melt some butter in a skillet and add the thinly sliced onions. As they start turn brown add the crushed and chopped garlic. Cook for several minutes until golden brown.
- In a food processor add the steam cauliflower, caramelized onions and garlic and purée. If too thick add low fat milk, soy or chicken stock until the consistency you prefer. Season with kosher salt and ground white pepper. Garnish with chopped chives and serve.