Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
Is there a more universally goes-with-everyuthing side dish than mashed potatoes? I don’t think so. This is why you can find mashed potatoes from your favorite diner all the way up to Michelin star restaurants. Mashed potatoes can be dressed up so easily with ingredients such as garlic, cheese, or a variety of herbs. The only think making them so heavy and filling is the actual potato! Today I present a lighter take, by replacing about 80-90% of the potatoes with cauliflower! I promise you will love the substitution!
As always, start this recipe by getting out all of the ingredients you need, as well as your cooking pot, strainer, large mixing bowl, and your immersion blender. I prefer the immersion blender when I am working with cauliflower because it does the best job of pulverizing the cauliflower bits into a smooth puree. This is not a job for you hand masher or a stand mixer. If you choose a full size blender you will likely end up with either a too-thin puree or a strange gummy paste.
Psst…This is the best time to start heating your water filled cooking pot to a boil. Let’s multitask!
Always wash your produce! Cauliflower is often sold in plastic, but that doesn’t mean it is completely clean! And the garlic needs to be only peeled for this recipe. We will be boiling it with the cauliflower and potatoes, so we want it to be the full clove today. The garlic is optional, but I highly recommend this addition. Cauliflower does not have a very distinctive flavor on its own, and adding garlic into this cauliflower-potato mixture really just brings the flavor up to the next level!
I like to peel my potatoes, but this step is completely optional. Today I am using Yukon Gold potatoes, because that is what I happen to have in my pantry today. I very much recommend Idaho Russet Potatoes too, as the extra starchiness helps you achieve a great potato-ey texture (even with the mix being cauliflower heavy)!
When I first started making mashed cauliflower, most of the recipes I found skipped the potato completely. I personally am not following any specific no carb or low carb lifestyle, and so one day I added the last lonely potato from my pantry to my mashed cauliflower. The difference of adding even just that one potato was astounding. Texturally this combo becomes so much more realistic when comparing this mostly cauliflower mixture to straight up mashed potatoes. I will never go back to a straight cauliflower mash!
To summarize, all of the cauliflower and potatoes should be roughly chopped into similar size pieces and the garlic should have the paper skin removed but kept whole. Keeping as uniform size cut as you can will assist in even cooking for all of the pieces.
By now (I hope) your water is boiling. I know some cooks like to start with cold water with potatoes, but I have yet to find a texture difference with starting with cold vs boiling water for cauliflower. I personally prefer boiling water because it can start heating as I start cutting. #multitasking
Your potatoes and cauliflower are ready when you can easily pierce a fork into the biggest pieces with little to no resistance. This was about 15-20 minutes of the veggies boiling uncovered.
Now that the veggies are tender, we can strain them. Because the water is so hot, I like to use a slotted spoon to move the big pieces into my mixing bowl. Then I use a handheld strainer to catch the little pieces.
I don’t know about you, but this picture makes my mouth water. Here we have added butter, salt, white pepper and your preference of milk/cream/half & half. I think the butter and salt are non-negotiables when it comes to mashed potatoes. The white pepper simply looks nicer to me in light color foods, so if you have white pepper in your cabinet–please use black instead! Actual potatoes and the oh-so-traditional heavy cream are completely negotiable and easily substitutable ingredients to me, especially in this dish. You can totally be as indulgent as you want here.
Now for the immersion blender! This is one device that I did not understand the first time I saw one. Now I see it as one of the handiest tools in my kitchen, especially when it comes to working with hot ingredients! I love using it with puree soups, and it works so well with helping make the cauliflower/potato chunks into a smoothly blended mixture! The longer you blend, the fewer chunks your mixture will have. If you prefer a chunks mashed potato, then I would encourage you to hold a few pieces of potato out when you start mixing so you can add it back once the cauliflower is super smooth.
Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
1 Large head of Cauliflower
2 Large or 3 Small Potatoes (Idaho Russett or Yukon Gold are what I usually use)
3-4 Whole Garlic Cloves (optional)
4 Tablespoons Butter (Unsalted)
1/4 Cup Milk/Cream/Half & Half (choose one)
1.5 Teaspoons Salt
1/4 Teaspoon ground White Pepper
- Assemble ingredients and cooking supplies
- Set Pot of water to boil
- Prepare Cauliflower/Potatoes by washing and cutting into uniform pieces
- Prepare Garlic by peeling (keep whole)
- Add Cauliflower/Potatoes/Garlic to boiling water. Allow to boil until fork-tender (15-20 minutes)
- Drain water however you prefer and put the Cauliflower/Potatoes/Garlic pieces into a large mixing bowl
- Add Butter, salt, pepper, and milk/cream/half & half. Use Immersion blender until your desired consistency is met
Note: For an even more robust garlicky flavor you can substitute the garlic as directed in this recipe for several cloves worth of roasted garlic to be added when you are ready to use the immersion blender! Yum!