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The first time I made cauliflower mash, I just about swore off it forever. I found a mashed cauliflower recipe that called for boiling the cauliflower, before pureeing it in a food processor. I was in my “diligent recipe follower” stage, so I didn’t stop to question the method of cooking.
I boiled potatoes before mashing, so boiling cauliflower made sense, right? Wrong! It was a watery, gooey mess, and the blandest dish I’ve ever tasted.
It took a few years before I was willing to try cauliflower mash again. But when I finally did, I ignored the recipes online and improvised. I wanted a dish that could replace starchy mashed potatoes. The result was a nutty, creamy, flavor-packed dish that would solidify itself as the most request side at my dinner table.
How do you cook cauliflower to taste like mashed potatoes?
First, you choose a cooking method that brings out the best flavor of the cauliflower – roasting!
Roasting cauliflower brings out cauliflowers’ nutty flavor. It gets crispy and caramelized, and all those dark roasted bits lead to a ton of flavor. Add a clove of garlic to roast alongside the cauliflower and you get even more flavor!
Second, I treat the cauliflower as a substitute for mashed potatoes. Once it’s roasted, I added it to the bowl of a food processor with butter & olive oil; then puree until smooth. The result is a light side full of rich, caramelized 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, and if you are looking for another holiday side, check out my roasted brussel sprouts with bacon. Don’t forget to let me know what you think in the comments and send your photos to #cleanplateclb .
- 1 large head cauliflower chopped
- 4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil + 1 tsp
- 1 tsp kosher salt + 1/4 tsp
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter + more for serving
- 3 tbsp minced chives optional for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 425. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss chopped cauliflower & garlic with 4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 tsp kosher salt, and cracked black pepper.
- Spread the cauliflower out on a large sheet pan.
- Roast for 30 minutes, turning the pan halfway through. The cauliflower is done when golden brown and soft when pierced with a fork.
- Add the roasted cauliflower & garlic to the bowl of a food processor with the butter, 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt.
- Process on high, stopping to scrape down the sides, until the cauliflower is completely pureed. *See note
- Serve immediately topped with minced chives & butter, or store in the fridge for up to a week. *See note for reheating instructions.
- I like to puree my cauliflower until smooth, but if you would like to maintain a bit of texture, don’t puree as long.
- If your puree is on the dry side, add additional butter 1 tbsp at a time.
- Taste for salt and add 1/4 tsp more at a time, if needed.
- If making ahead, remove from the fridge for about an hour prior to reheating. 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.