Healthy Mashed Cauliflower

GF LC

Swap potatoes for cauliflower with this healthy mashed cauliflower recipe! It’s the perfect side dish and comes together quickly with only 6 ingredients. It’s just as creamy and delicious as mashed potatoes, but has half the calories and one-third of the carbs.

Cauliflower is a healthy-eater’s best friend. Especially when you’re looking for a healthy way to indulge in “carby” things like bread, rice, pizza and potatoes. It’s amazingly versatile and even surprises me sometimes with how well it can transform from a simple veggie into something like a pizza crust, kettle corn or an alfredo sauce.

So when thinking of holiday recipes to share this year I knew I wanted to showcase cauliflower and immediately thought it would be fun to do a mashed cauliflower side dish. The texture is silky smooth, just like regular mashed potatoes. You can taste the cauliflower flavor, but with a little butter (we used ghee) and a bit of parmesan, garlic and fresh chives, this mashed cauliflower is totally delicious and makes a great low-carb, low-cal swap for mashed potatoes.

A bowl of mashed cauliflower topped with chives. A serving spoon rests inside the bowl.

Ingredients in Mashed Cauliflower

  • cauliflower – the star of the show! I recommend using a full head of cauliflower but you can use cauliflower florets as well if that’s all you can find.
  • garlic – a little garlic adds a ton of flavor to this dish.
  • ghee or butter – to make this dish vegan swap the ghee for vegan butter or butter flavored coconut oil
  • parmesan cheese – for a vegan option use this hemp parmesan.
  • salt and pepper – to season this dish.
  • fresh chives – an optional but recommended topping to bring this entire dish together!
A bowl of mashed cauliflower topped with chives.

How to Make Mashed Cauliflower

Make the most delicious side dish in less than 30 minutes! Start by breaking or chopping the head of cauliflower into cauliflower florets and placing in a large pot. Cover the cauliflower with water and heat until the water is boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the cauliflower is tender – about 12 minutes.

While the cauliflower is cooking, heat a small pan over medium heat. Add the butter or ghee, minced garlic and a pinch of salt. Sauté until the garlic is tender and fragrant, make sure you stir frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn!

After the cauliflower is cooked, drain the water and carefully place in a large food processor with the sautéed garlic, additional ghee, parmesan cheese, chives, salt and pepper. Process until cauliflower is smooth.

What if I Don’t Have a Food Processor?

If you don’t have a food processor, there are a couple of options for you!

Stand mixer – place the cooked cauliflower, sautéed garlic, ghee, parmesan, chives, salt and pepper in a stand mixture and mix until smooth.

Handheld potato masher – get an arm workout with this method! Add the cooked cauliflower, sautéed garlic, ghee, parmesan, chives, salt and pepper to a large bowl and mash with a handheld potato masher until your desired consistency is achieved.

What to Serve with Mashed Cauliflower

I know that I’ll be making a batch of this mashed cauliflower for Thanksgiving. Here’s what I’ll be serving it with:

But it doesn’t have to be part of a fancy meal! It also makes a great base for bowl meals. I made delicious bowls using this cauliflower mash as the base and topped with ground turkey and roasted root vegetables. Highly recommend!

More Cauliflower Recipes to Try:

More Healthy Side Dishes to Try:

Mashed Cauliflower

5 from 5 votes
Swap potatoes for cauliflower with this healthy mashed cauliflower recipe! It's the perfect side dish and comes together quickly with only 6 ingredients. It's just as creamy and delicious as mashed potatoes, but has half the calories and one-third of the carbs.
A bowl of mashed cauliflower topped with chives. A serving spoon rests inside the bowl.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower , chopped into florets (about 10 cups)
  • ½ Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ghee or butter, plus more for topping
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh chives , chopped, plus more for topping
  • ¼ cup reserved water

Instructions
 

  • Chop cauliflower into florets and place in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the cauliflower and heat until water is boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 12-15 minutes.
    Cooked cauliflower florets in a large pot that has been drained of the water and has spices added.
  • While cauliflower is cooking, heat a small pan over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon ghee or butter and minced garlic. Sauté until garlic is tender and fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
    Ghee, garlic, and sea salt sautéd in a saucepan. A small spatula rests on the side of the saucepan.
  • Before you drain cauliflower, scoop out ¼ cup water to save for later. Drain cauliflower and carefully place back in pot with sautéd garlic, ½ Tablespoon ghee or butter, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and chives.
  • Use an immersion blender to purée until cauliflower is smooth. If you don’t own an immersion blender a potato masher or food processor would work. Add water as necessary to reach desired consistency. I used 2 Tablespoons of reserved water.
    Mashed cauliflower in a large pot.
  • Transfer to a bowl, top with chives and additional butter/ghee if you prefer and serve.

Notes

  • If you don’t have a food processor, you can mash the cauliflower using a stand mixer, blender or a handheld potato masher — the consistency just won’t be as smooth. If needed, you can reheat the mashed cauliflower in a small saucepan before serving.
  • To make this dish vegan swap the ghee for butter flavored coconut oil and use this hemp parmesan.

Nutrition

Calories: 110kcal Carbohydrates: 13g Protein: 6g Fat: 5g Saturated Fat: 3g Monounsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 5mg Sodium: 766mg Potassium: 660mg Fiber: 5g Sugar: 5g
Keyword: cauliflower, Christmas, healthy, holiday, low calorie, low carb, mashed cauliflower, mashed potatoes, thanksgiving

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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Recipe Rating




    16 comments
    1. kazy
      January 5, 2021 AT 4:49 pm

      I’m all about easy and quick so I’ll be buying my cauliflower frozen pre-mashed due to my arthritis. How big a bag would compensate for 10 cups of florets?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 6, 2021 AT 12:02 pm

        The recipe yields about 4 cups of mashed cauliflower, so if you’re using pre-mashed frozen cauli you’d want around 4 cups.

    2. Dana Setting
      August 13, 2020 AT 5:52 pm

      5 stars
      I’ve made this so many times using a different steaming method. Love yours more!

    3. Nicole
      November 22, 2019 AT 3:47 am

      5 stars
      Hello, about how many grams or ounces would the total amount of cauliflower be?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 22, 2019 AT 6:26 pm

        Hi Nicole, 10 cups would be equal to about 80 ounces. 🙂

    4. Blaine
      November 13, 2017 AT 5:22 pm

      looks amazing! I don’t have a food processor, do you think I could mash by hand?

    5. Julia @ PB & Julia
      November 23, 2016 AT 3:49 pm

      This looks so good! I’m Canadian so we already celebrated our Thanksgiving last month, but this would be an awesome side dish for Christmas too!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 25, 2016 AT 11:06 am

        Yes! I was thinking the same thing. Can’t wait to make them for Christmas this year. 🙂

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