The first time I made mashed cauliflower, I just about swore off it forever. I had found a recipe that called for boiling the cauliflower, before pureeing it in a food processor. I was in my “diligent recipe follower” stage at that point, so I didn’t stop to question the method of cooking. I boiled potatoes for mashed potatoes so boiling cauliflower made sense, right? Wrong! It was a watery, gooey mess, and the most bland dish I’ve ever tasted.
It took a few years before I was willing to try mashed cauliflower again. But when I finally did, I ignored the recipes online and improvised. First, I chose to roast the cauliflower instead of boiling it. Roasting veggies brings out their wonderful flavor. They get crispy and brown, and all those dark roasted bits lead to a ton of flavor. Cauliflower is no exception. On it’s own it doesn’t stand up well to more flavorful veggies, but when roasted the flavor the cauliflower is hiding intensifies.
Second, I treated the cauliflower like a substitute for mashed potatoes. I had grown up with mashed potatoes as a normal dinner side, and I wanted something a little less heavy. Enter cauliflower! Once the cauliflower is roasted, I added it to the bowl of a food processor with butter, milk, and cream; then pureed until smooth. The result is a light side filled with roasted flavor.
I’ve been making this dish for about 4 years, and honestly, it has replaced mashed potatoes at our dinner table! Give the recipe a try this holiday season. Don’t forgot to let me know what you think in the comments and send your photos to #cleanplateclb .
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yields: about 2 cups
Shelf Life: 1 week airtight in the fridge
1 large head Cauliflower, chopped (about 7 cups)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 whole milk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
4 tablespoons avocado oil
1/2 teaspoon + ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
In a large bowl, coat the cauliflower with the avocado oil and 1/2 tsp of kosher salt.
Spread the cauliflower out on a large sheet pan, making sure not to overcrowd the pan.
Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. The cauliflower should be golden to dark brown and pretty soft when pieced with a fork. The total roast time will depend on how small you chopped the cauliflower. I tend to chop it pretty small so it will cook quicker, and I overcook it slightly so it will grind easier in the food processor.
Take the cauliflower out of the oven and let cool slightly for 2 minutes.
Add the cauliflower to the bowl of a food processor along with the butter, milk, and cream.
Process on high, stopping to scrape down the sides, until the cauliflower to completely pureed. I puree mine until the mixture is smooth, but if you’d like a little texture, don’t puree as long. If you find the mixture to be on the dry side, add in 1/4 cup more milk and 1 tbsp of butter. Taste for salt; if you find you need more salt, add in up to another 1/4 tsp of kosher salt.
If making ahead, remove from the fridge about an hour prior to heating. Dot the top of the mashed cauliflower with a few pats of butter, then cover in foil. Heat in a 375 degree oven for 30-45 minutes.