Mashed Cauliflower

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As you know, this post was actually supposed to be up yesterday…obviously that didn’t happen.  But!  I have a really good reason – see that beautiful picture of the Christmas tree??  That’s our tree!  Of which I spent like 3 hours decorating (with ornaments such as that super cute bulldog one!) followed by me passing out on the couch watching The Santa Claus movie.  Yea…no how-to post.  Oops.  At least it was a legitimate (and fun!) reason.

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mashed cauliflower, cauliflower, vegetarian sides, vegetarian recipe, healthy recipes, cauliflower recipes In addition to the tree, I also made a pretty fantastic dinner!  I originally wanted to make this tasty looking roasted cauliflower soup.  I showed Dario the recipe and that idea got shot down…real quick.  He doesn’t know what he’s missing!  The next best idea that came around was mashed cauliflower – I think mostly from the fact that I probably didn’t get enough mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving (is that even possible?).  However, unlike the mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving, my mashed cauliflower is few in calories and little added fat.  Which means I can still stick to my healthy eating plan without breaking my calorie budget for the day.

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mashed cauliflower, cauliflower, vegetarian sides, vegetarian recipe, healthy recipes, cauliflower recipes Now, if you haven’t had mashed cauliflower before, you might not think it sounds all that exciting.  Like how could a vegetable take the place of a potato?  But I’m telling you, this recipe is awesome.  Super simple (I feel like that’s such a common theme in my food) and healthy!  I mean it’s cauliflower…that’s it really.  Though I do have a few add-ins and tips that really make the entire recipe.  Like this:

  • Steam the heck out of your cauliflower!  Yup, you want this to be pretty soft so that we you go to mash it up you’re not dealing with any tough or fibrous parts.  You want to be able to break it down very well.
  • Mash, mash, mash.  Using a potato masher works well or the end of a meat-mallet (not that you vegetarians have that?).  Just mash until everything is completely broken down – it won’t get the traditional smooth creamy texture like mashed potatoes, but there shouldn’t be any cauliflower pieces bigger than a pea.
  • Add a touch of light whipped cream cheese.  I’ve been adding this to mashed cauliflower for a while and it really  helps achieve that creamy smoother texture that you think of when you have mashed potatoes.  Really gives the dish a good mouth-feel.
  • Salt & pepper!  I know I’m always talking about seasoning your food well, but it’s important.  And there isn’t a ton of flavor in the cauliflower (or cream cheese) so you need to season well.
  • Add a touch of parmesan cheese.  Not really adding this for the flavor exactly – just the saltiness and the gooey-ness it provides.  It helps some of the cauliflower pieces stick together and again, adds to the creamy texture.

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mashed cauliflower, cauliflower, vegetarian sides, vegetarian recipe, healthy recipes, cauliflower recipes My usual smashed cauliflower only contains the above ingredients…cauliflower, S&P, some light cream cheese and a bit of grated parm.  However, I had the genius idea (in my opinion) to take this dish up a notch.  Or two.  I decided to add in some pungent blue cheese and a small sprinkle of dried thyme.  Oh my…wow…this was so delicious people.  The best.  Ever.  You should definitely make this.  Blue Cheese & Thyme Mashed Cauliflower today!

Blue Cheese & Thyme Mashed Cauliflower:
Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/2 c light whipped cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese (go for a semi-strong flavored cheese – you want it to stand out!)
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Steam the cauliflower for about 7 minutes or until falling apart when pierced with a fork.  Drain well – you want as much of that water to gone as possible.
  2. Return cauliflower to pot and mash with potato masher or fork until each floret is completely smashed and broken down.
  3. Add in cream cheese, blue cheese, dried thyme and Parmesan cheese – mix until all the cheeses are completely melted in.  Cook for about 5 minutes on medium-low heat – this helps evaporate any leftover water from the steaming process.
  4. Taste and then add the salt and pepper as needed.
  5. Just prior to serving, stir in the chopped parsley.  Serve warm!

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