A mashed potato substitute that’s health conscious and free of butter and heavy cream. Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower is creamy, flavourful, and delicious without all of the calories and extra fat. The addition of fresh green onions adds a crisp, refreshing taste. A great side for any meal, but impressive and tasty enough for something special like Thanksgiving!
CHEESY MASHED CAULIFLOWER
It’s the season of cauliflower at the Thomas-Ewing household. Every summer, usually late August, we look forward to the abundance of fresh cauliflower. We all love it in all shapes and forms, and when it’s at its peak, and cost effective, we indulge as much as possible. To be honest, I prepare this Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower throughout the year.
If you’ve been a reader of Lord Byron’s Kitchen for long, you’ll no doubt have read a few cauliflower recipes before. I like to pretend that I’m the King of Cauliflower just as Nigella Lawson is the Queen of Green Peas. (Not a great comparison, I know, but a man can dream.)
Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that has sprung to life over the past few years. No longer a simple crudités menu item in our home, cauliflower has proven it’s resilience to many different cooking techniques and it’s ability to carry extremely delicious flavour profiles.
MORE CAULIFLOWER RECIPES
If you’re new to the world of cauliflower recipes, I encourage you to try a few of these. These recipes have all been prepared by me and approved by my favourite two very picky vegetarians.
- Vegetarian Cashew Cauliflower
- Cauliflower Brown Rice Meatballs
- Crispy Fried Honey Lemon Glazed Cauliflower
- Braised Coconut Cauliflower Curry
- Asian Orange Sesame Cauliflower
- Cauliflower and Kale Curry Soup
- Fried Cauliflower in Garlic and Ginger Sauce
INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR THIS RECIPE
The following is a list of the ingredients needed to prepare this recipe. For exact amounts and measurements, refer to the printable recipe card located near the bottom of this post.
- Cauliflower – I used two large heads for this recipe. You can halve or double the recipe depending on your needs.
- Light Cream Cheese – If we are going to use cauliflower as a healthier alternative to potatoes, we should also use low fat cream cheese, right?
- Salt and Ground Black Pepper
- Ground Nutmeg – I usually add a little bit of nutmeg to potato dishes. It gives it such a warm, home-style flavour. It works perfectly with cauliflower too!
- Green Onions – For freshness and garnish as well.
- Parsley – This adds a fresh flavour, a nice pop of colour, and acts as a garnish too.
PREPARING THIS DISH
Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower is a delicious addition to my repertoire of cauliflower-based recipes. Since cauliflower naturally holds a lot of moisture, a very creamy, mashed potato-like consistency is easily achieved without the addition of butter or heavy cream. Even after a good drain, the boiled cauliflower mashes up quite easily with lots of moisture, so no additives are needed – with the exception of the light cream cheese, which is more for the flavour than the moisture.
Simple is always best, which is why I didn’t want to overcomplicate the recipe with added seasonings or ingredients. When preparing this particular side dish, I knew I was going to be serving it with a main, another side, and of course, lots of gravy. (I don’t understand mashed potato without gravy, so mashed cauliflower needed the same accompaniment in my opinion.) That is why I lightly seasoned the mashed cauliflower with a little nutmeg, and some salt and pepper.
The addition of the green onions was a last-minute decision for me and it turned out so well. So, I’m adding it to the list of ingredients and cooking instructions. The green onions provided a hint of freshness as well as a light onion-y flavour, which was important to elevate the flavour profile slightly. I’m from the school that believes green onions make everything taste and look better.
FREEZING AND RE-HEATING
My recipe for Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower is freezer-friendly as well. Unlike potatoes, which never seem to retain it’s consistency after being frozen, cauliflower does. You can easily freeze any leftovers of this recipe and reheat it without compromising texture or taste.
To reheat, simple remove the cauliflower from the freezer and allow to sit at room temperature until completely thawed. When you remove the lid from the container, you’ll notice that some of the moisture from the cauliflower has settled on the top. Gently lay a paper towel onto the top of the cauliflower to soak up the excess moisture. You’ll want to remove this, because some of it will be the result of freezing and not the water content of the cauliflower itself.
Next, add the cauliflower to a sauce pan and crank the heat up. I like to reheat the cauliflower using a high heat to help evaporate the water and wake up the flavours. While reheating on high, it is important to continuously stir the cauliflower so that it doesn’t burn. When fully reheated, you’ll find you’re left with a mashed cauliflower that shows no signs of being the result of a leftover from a few weeks back. How’s that for a bonus?
There you have it, Dear Reader, Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower is your new mashed potato – try it!
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Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower
- 2 large heads cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
- 8 ounces light cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped, optional (save some for garnish)
- In a large pot, cover the florets with cold water and bring to a boil. Boil the cauliflower until fork tender. This will take about 30 minute depending on the size of the cauliflower florets.
- Drain the cauliflower well and transfer back to the pot.
- Add the cream cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Mash with a potato masher until smooth and creamy.
- Stir in the green onions and parsley, if using, and return the pot the the burner. Allow the cauliflower to remain on a very low simmer for 20 minutes so that the ingredients marry together and some of the moisture evaporates.