This creamy keto mashed cauliflower is the perfect keto side dish to serve instead of mashed potatoes. Cauliflower mash makes a fantastic substitute for potatoes — you just need a few tips on how to cook it for the best taste and texture.
Let it be known, I’ve always liked cauliflower. Even before I started using cauliflower as a low-carb swap for potatoes, I liked making roasted or mashed cauliflower as a side dish.
Preparing mashed cauliflower is even easier than mashed potatoes. You don’t have to peel anything (yes!), and cauliflower cooks more quickly too. And, of course, you don’t have to break out a handheld masher — just whiz everything up in a food processor.
Less prep work, a shorter cook time, and the food processor does all the work for you.
How to Cook Cauliflower to Taste Like Mashed Potatoes
The first step in making mashed cauliflower is to cook the prepped cauliflower florets.
You can either buy pre-prepped florets in a bag, or by a whole head of cauliflower and prep it yourself. All you need to do to prep cauliflower is removed the leaves and stem, and cut the head into small, even-sized florets. The smaller the florets, the faster they will cook.
Keep in mind that cauliflower cooks much faster than potatoes. To cook it, you can either steam the cauliflower florets for 15 minutes or boil them for 10 minutes. The cauliflower is cooked when you can easily pierce it with a fork
To make your mashed cauliflower taste like mashed potatoes, use the same ingredients that you would normally use in your favorite mashed potatoes recipe.
Here, I recommend:
- Butter — I usually buy unsalted butter because it gives you more control over how salty you want the dish to taste.
- Heavy Cream — You may need some heavy cream, you may not. If you need to thin out your mashed cauliflower, you can add in a tablespoon or two of heavy cream.
- Garlic — You can use fresh minced garlic sautéed in butter, or substitute a half teaspoon of garlic powder for convenience.
- Sour cream — Use full fat sour cream, or you can substitute cream cheese for an even thicker texture.
- Parmesan cheese — I like to use finely shredded parmesan. You can also add other cheese, like cheddar or even mozzarella.
How to Make Healthy Mashed Cauliflower
This recipe was written to be low-carb, and not necessarily low-calorie. Depending on your dietary goals, you might want to swap out some of the ingredients that I’ve called for in this recipe.
Vegan — You will need to swap out the butter for olive oil or vegan butter. And instead of heavy cream, use the same amount of almond milk, or even just the cauliflower cooking liquid. Use vegan cream cheese instead of the sour cream.
Dairy-free/paleo – Same substitute suggestions as for the vegan diet.
How to Mash Cauliflower
My number one tip for smoothly mashed cauliflower is to cook the cauliflower florets until they are really soft. Don’t stop cooking them at the “crisp-tender” stage as you normally would. The cauliflower needs to be really soft to mash smoothly. The softer it is, the smoother and creamier your result will be.
For the creamiest mashed cauliflower, I recommend using a large food processor or a high-powered blender. Depending on the size of your machine, you may need to process the cauliflower in batches. When you’re finished processing the cauliflower, you can mix in the other ingredients and season your cauliflower mash to taste.
Mashed Cauliflower without a Food Processor
You can still make mashed cauliflower even if you don’t have a food processor.
If you don’t mind a textured mash, you can use a regular hand-held potato masher instead.
You can also use an immersion blender.
Or, you can use a regular blender, and process the cauliflower in batches.
Tips for Creamy — not watery! — Cauliflower Mash
Excess moisture in your cooked cauliflower will lead to watery mash. To avoid watery mash, make sure to remove excess water from the cooked cauliflower before processing it. Here are some tips:
- Steam the cauliflower florets instead of boiling them.
- Drain well in a colander over the sink for several minutes.
- After draining, return the cooked cauliflower to the hot pan. Stir to drive out even more moisture.
- Use cream cheese instead of sour cream.
Reheating Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
Mashed cauliflower is not as starchy as mashed potatoes, so you won’t have any problems reheating this dish.
If you like cauliflower, you’ll also like these recipes: Cauliflower Rice, and Keto Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Topping.
- 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely shredded
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Place cauliflower in a steamer over a large pot of boiling water. Steam for 15 minutes until very tender. Alternatively, boil cauliflower in a large pot of salted water for 10 minutes or until very tender. Remove and drain well. Set aside.
- In the same pot, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Saute the minced garlic until fragrant (about 1 minute).
- Transfer the cauliflower and sauteed garlic into the bowl of a food processor. Blend the cauliflower and garlic in a food processor on high setting until smooth. You may need to do this in batches of two or three, depending on the size of your processor bowl.
- Transfer the mashed cauliflower into the pot. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, sour cream and season with salt and pepper.
- If you don't have sour cream, you can substitute an equal amount of cream cheese.
- If you don't have fresh garlic cloves, you can substitute a 1/4 tsp of garlic powder.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 139Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 197mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 4g