Healthy Mashed Cauliflower
Published Nov 08, 2021, Updated Dec 22, 2023
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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 cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower kettle corn or a cauliflower 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-calorie swap for mashed potatoes.
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 recipe.
- salt and pepper – to season this dish.
- fresh chives – totally optional but I highly recommend topping with chives to bring this entire dish together!
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 them 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 (reserving ¼ cup for later) and carefully place the cauliflower in a large food processor with the sautéed garlic, additional ghee, parmesan cheese, chives, salt and pepper. Process until cauliflower is smooth, adding water as necessary to reach your desired consistency.
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 in 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:
- Lentil Loaf
- Cinnamon Maple Roasted Kabocha Squash
- Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
- Butternut Squash Quinoa Stuffing
- Healthy Green Bean Casserole
- Healthy Sweet Potato Pie
But it doesn’t have to be part of a fancy meal! This mashed cauliflower also makes a great base for bowl meals. I made delicious bowls using this cauliflower mash as the base and topped it with ground turkey and roasted root vegetables. Highly recommend!
How to Store Leftovers
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can reheat the mashed cauliflower on the stovetop, in the oven or microwave.
More Cauliflower Recipes to Try
- Turkey Cauliflower Baked Ziti
- Roasted Curried Cauliflower
- Cauliflower Soup
- Vegetarian Cauliflower Fried “Rice”
- Chocolate Cauliflower Smoothie
- Low-Carb Cauliflower Potato Salad
- Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower
- Roasted Cauliflower
- Curry Roasted Cauliflower
- Roasted Cauliflower Salad
More Healthy Side Dishes to Try
- Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Green Beans Almondine
- Wild Rice Stuffing
- Quinoa Spinach Salad
- Healthy Mashed Potatoes
- Sourdough Stuffing
- Thanksgiving Salad
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Before you drain cauliflower, scoop out ¼ cup water to save for later. Drain cauliflower and add to food processor with sautéd garlic, ½ Tablespoon ghee or butter, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and chives.
- Process until cauliflower is smooth, adding water as necessary to reach desired consistency. I used 2 Tablespoons of reserved water. If you don’t own a food processor, an immersion blender, standing mixer or potato masher would all work work.
- Transfer to a bowl, top with chives and additional butter/ghee if you prefer and serve.
- 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 information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.