Mashed Cauliflower (Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes)
Updated Aug 29, 2023
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Mashed cauliflower (cauliflower mashed potatoes) are a healthy, low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes. They’re also a great way to sneak more veggies into your meal. Add fresh garlic and herbs for the best flavor!
What to serve with mashed cauliflower? I love my Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs, Dijon Baked Salmon, Slow Cooker Pulled Pork and Scallops with Citrus Ginger Sauce. They also help to lighten up a heavier meat dish like my amazing prime rib.
We’re in that funky transitional time of year when holiday recipes are on over-drive and I’m over here enjoying 80 degree Cali sun and drinking smoothies. My brain says “it’s holiday time” and my body says “let’s hit the beach.” Confusing, eh?
Right now I’m holding onto the latter, but I do have lots of autumn recipes in the queue. And as I was thinking this week about holiday indulging I started thinking about ways to “lighten” some classic recipes.
The first thing that popped in my head was traditional mashed potatoes and replacing those with mashed cauliflower – to make cauliflower mashed potatoes. So that’s what I have for you today. Mashed cauliflower with garlic and herbs. And trust me, it’s delicious.
Cauliflower Mashed Potato Ingredients
The great thing about this recipe is there’s only a handful of ingredients, including:
- Cauliflower: look for a fresh, unblemished head of cauliflower
- Olive Oil: which is used to saute the garlic
- Garlic Cloves: because cauliflower has such a mild, neutral flavor, minced garlic gives it a kick of flavor
- Fresh Herbs: I love fresh thyme, but you could also use rosemary, sage, chives or parsley
Why You Should Swap Mashed Cauliflower for Mashed Potatoes
Mashed cauliflower is a great idea because you’re replacing a starchy vegetable (which can spike blood sugar) with a low-carb vegetable alternative.
Now, for the record I’m not a low-carb girl and I don’t think carbs (especially those from potatoes) are bad. But during the holidays you’ll have a plethora of ways to spike blood sugar, so swapping mashed cauliflower for classic mashed potatoes is a smart idea.
What Does Mashed Cauliflower Taste Like?
Personally, I think mashed cauliflower tastes amazing. Really. Especially with garlic and fresh herbs. It’s not as starchy as potatoes, but it’s creamy and has a similar thick texture (if you make it my way).
You can also get creative with different add-ins based on your dietary preference. The basic recipe I’m presenting today is dairy-free, paleo, vegan and keto friendly, but if you tolerate dairy, feel free to add some butter, ghee or cheese (chevre is creamy and delicious).
A Few More Tips
Because I’ve made mashed cauliflower numerous times (with a few fails along the way), here’s a few tips:
- Don’t boil the cauliflower. I know it’s easy to toss the cauliflower florets into a pot of water (and many recipes say to do this), but this introduces too much water into the vegetable and you’ll end up with cauliflower puree rather than mashed cauliflower.
- Steam the cauliflower instead. This is the best, fastest and most fail-safe method. I also recommend steaming for 6-8 minutes and not over-steaming. Again, you want to keep your cauliflower nice and crisp.
- What about roasting the cauliflower? You could do this as well. And it imparts a lovely flavor, but it does take 2-3x the amount of time so I don’t do it often.
- Definitely add garlic and herbs. When I’ve heard from folks who cringe at mashed cauliflower it’s because they’ve had it plain. And let’s be honest, cauliflower is a fairly bland vegetable, so I imagine the end result would be bland. Fresh herbs are best (though dried work as well) along with a little butter, ghee or olive oil. If you’ve made a homemade compound butter in your ice cube tray (as I show on my Kitchen Gadgets video), you could just toss a cube in and call it a day!
- Mash the cooked florets with a potato masher for a firm, chunky consistency or use a handheld immersion blender for creamy mashed cauliflower. You could also use a food processor, but again, be careful that you don’t over-process and end up with a puree.
And that’s it guys. Mashed cauliflower that’s super easy, delicious, healthy, low-carb and flavorful. And remember that you could also do 50/50 with traditional potatoes and mashed cauliflower for a happy medium as well.
More Healthy Cauliflower Recipes
If you love cauliflower recipes (as I do) make sure to check out some of these reader favorites…
- Roasted Cauliflower Hummus
- Air Fryer Cauliflower
- Cauliflower Fried Rice
- Cauliflower Rice Tabbouleh
- Za’atar Roasted Cauliflower
Mashed Cauliflower with Garlic and Herbs
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 tsp finely chopped herbs, thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, chives, etc
- Trim the leaves off the cauliflower and cut off the florets. Rinse the florets under water.
- Heat 1-inch of water in a pot on medium heat and bring to a boil. Place a steamer insert in the pot and add the cauliflower florets. Steam for 6-8 minutes.
- While the cauliflower is steaming, heat the olive oil in a small pan on medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then remove from the heat.
- Remove the steamed cauliflower from the pot, drain the water from the pot, then add the cauliflower back in. Add the olive oil, garlic, chopped herbs and any optional ingredients.
- Use a potato masher or handheld stick blender to mash the cauliflower. Serve immediately.
- Be careful not to overcook the cauliflower or else your cauliflower mash might end up more of a cauliflower puree. The same can be said if you use a food processor instead of using a potato masher or handheld stick blender. The goal is to gently mash, not to puree.
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Recipe originally published Oct 2017, but updated to include new photos and information.