Smashed Cauliflower “Potatoes” (3 Ways)

Smashed Cauliflower “Potatoes” (3 Ways)

I originally posted this recipe in 2009. Since then it’s received over 30,000 views. I would love to think that I’ve helped families embrace cauliflower and not be so dependent on potatoes for every meal. Don’t get me wrong. I love potatoes and believe they can be a part of a healthy diet. However, it wouldn’t hurt us to cut back and introduce other vegetables to our diet. And, if you are interested cutting back on carbs, cauliflower is a great substitute. Smashed Cauliflower “Potatoes” played a key role in helping my husband and me add a new vegetable to our weekly routine. This recipe is a good “transition” recipe.  I often serve this to guests and they are shocked that they are not normal mashed potatoes. I make these three ways depending on whom I’m serving. I often serve “variation one” to guest with with Not-Your-Ordinary Meatloaf and they are shocked to learn they’ve eaten mostly cauliflower with just a little potato.

ORIGINAL VERSION – Perfect for first-timers, (uses milk which gives the cauliflower a mild taste more and makes for a good “transition” to cauliflower) – don’t use this version for Whole30 or Paleo. It’s fine for Keto.
VARIATION ONE – Perfect for guests and moderate carb needs, (uses salted water instead of milk and add 1 large peeled golden or russet potato, and optional 2 cloves of garlic – good “transition” recipe). Use for Whole30, and Paleo.
VARIATION TWO – Perfect for AIP, and low carb/Keto, (uses cauliflower only with salted water and the optional 2 cloves of garlic). Use for AIP, Whole30, Paleo, and Keto.

Smashed Cauliflower “Potatoes”
1 medium-size head of cauliflower (all three versions)
2 – 3 cups milk (optional, original version only, okay for keto)
1 large peeled golden or russet potato (optional, variation one is okay for Whole 30 may be more palatable for first-timers or guests)
2 cloves peeled garlic (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
white pepper (optional, omit AIP)
optional, ghee, grass-fed butter (omit AIP and use coconut butter, if necessary)

1. Core the cauliflower and cut into large florets. TIP: I have also used a couple of bags of fresh cauliflower already cut up like they sell at local grocery stores

2. Cut each large floret in half (from stem to floret top) so that they take up less room in a pot.

3. If adding a potato, peel it and cut them in 2 inch by 2 inch cubes.

4. Fill the pot with water and add a handful of salt, or for the original version fill the pot with milk.

5. Add the cauliflower to the pot.

6. Add an optional potato.

7. Add one or two garlic cloves. This is another optional step but delicious.

8. If you use milk you need to bring the cauliflower to a low simmer and continue to cook for 35 minutes. In addition, you need to periodically stir the pot every 5 to 7 minutes to keep the milk from scalding on the bottom of the pot. Truth be told I scalded the milk one too many times and that’s why I started using water. If you use water you don’t have to stir. Just bring the cauliflower to a boil then turn down to medium to keep a low boil for 35 minutes. You can set a timer and walk away. That’s my kind of cooking.

9. Drain and discard the water, or if you used milk you can freeze it for a creamed vegetable soup (like cauliflower soup). Oh, and this picture is not blurry – it’s steamy!

10. Using an immersion blender, blend the cooked cauliflower until the mixture resembles mashed potatoes. If you don’t have an immersion blender, stop what you are doing and go buy one right now! Click the link to buy on Amazon.

I’m kidding. But seriously, I love this kitchen tool. I make this recipe almost once a week and to me it would be worth the purchase if this was the only way I used it. It’s not. If you don’t have an immersion blender I would use a potato masher like you would for mashed potatoes, and if the consistency is too chunky have your hand mixer ready. I wouldn’t put this in a blender unless you want cauliflower puree. The point is to get the texture as close to mashed potatoes as possible. That’s where the store bought versions fail. Most store bought versions contain milk or cheese which is not helpful to those trying to avoid those things and they are too soupy.

11. Now unlike mashed potatoes I don’t add anything while “mashing.” The cauliflower absorbs enough of the cooking liquid to make a great texture. When you reach your desired consistency (which for me is smooth and not lumpy), then I add 1 or 2 tablespoons of ghee or grass-fed butter.

12. Adjust seasonings, adding a pinch or two of salt and a dash of white pepper. Of course, you can turn this “Smashed Cauliflower” into your favorite form of potatoes by adding scallions, chives, rosemary, nutritional yeast (cheese if you are doing keto), bacon, or any combination. However, most of the time I eat it like this with a sprinkle of fresh parsley if I have it.

4 thoughts on “Smashed Cauliflower “Potatoes” (3 Ways)”

  • I’ve been trying to eat more “vegetable” vegetables and cut back a bit on some carbs, and so this is a perfect fit for my dietary needs. And it’s YUMMY!!! I love the texture. What a great recipe.

    • Thank you so much! This recipe was a game changer for Chuck and me. I’ll bet we have this close to once a week.

  • One of my favorites!! I grabbed this recipe from your fist posting and have been making it ever since. Playing with the addition of scallions and additional garlic …..even a little crumbled Bacon….Love it!

    What a great potato alternative. Bravo!!

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