Enjoy loaded mashed cauliflower with bacon and cheese and you won't miss the potatoes!
It's scrumptious, delicious, and very filling. It's the perfect low-carb and keto substitute for loaded mashed potatoes.
It's no wonder I have so many cauliflower recipes on this website! It's such a tasty and versatile vegetable.
Mashed cauliflower is especially delicious and surprisingly similar to mashed potatoes. This makes it an ideal low-carb and keto substitute.
Topping the mash with bacon and cheese makes it even better. But hey, bacon and cheese make everything better!
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make loaded mashed cauliflower. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Butter: I use unsalted butter. I especially like creamy European butter, but any butter will be great.
- Minced garlic: Mince it yourself, or use the stuff that comes in a jar. Both work equally well. Garlic powder works too - I would use ½ teaspoon in this recipe.
- Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use by half, or the mash could end up too salty.
- Bacon: You can cook it yourself or use precooked bacon or even bacon bits.
- Cauliflower: It's best to use fresh cauliflower in this recipe. Frozen cauliflower won't be as good.
- Shredded cheddar: Sharp cheddar is so flavorful. Sometimes I even use extra-sharp cheddar.
- Chives or parsley for garnish: Not mandatory, but without it, the dish looks kind of brownish… so while I mostly use these herbs for garnish, I do recommend including them. The chives do enhance the flavor as well.
- You can use softened cream cheese instead of butter.
- ½ teaspoon of garlic powder is a good substitution for fresh garlic.
- You can use chopped parsley instead of chives, although chives are tastier.
- Shredded Gruyere is very tasty as a replacement for cheddar cheese.
It's easy to make loaded mashed cauliflower, although this recipe does have a few steps. The detailed instructions are listed in the recipe card below. Here are the basic steps:
- Cook the bacon. First, you need to cook and crumble the bacon. You can cook it on the stovetop, or you can make oven bacon or microwave bacon.
- Cook and mash the cauliflower. Microwave the cauliflower and mash it with butter and spices. You can also steam the microwave if you wish. But the microwave is fast and convenient.
- Assemble the dish and bake. Layer everything in a casserole dish - cauliflower, bacon, and cheese- and bake until hot and bubbly. This should take a mere 5 minutes in a 400°F oven.
Cauliflower lacks starch, so this mash is not as thick as mashed potatoes, although it's definitely rich and creamy.
One way to thicken it is to add ¼ cup of dry-grated Parmesan cheese with the other ingredients that you place in the food processor. The Parmesan acts as a thickener.
There are several ways, and all of them are excellent. You can make steamed cauliflower, sauteed cauliflower, boiled cauliflower, roasted cauliflower, or microwaved cauliflower.
For this particular recipe, my preferred method is to microwave the cauliflower, simply because it's fast and convenient.
It's true that cauliflower mash is not as thick as mashed potatoes. This is because it lacks starch.
But I find that as long as you drain the florets well, avoid overcooking them, and add plenty of butter, the mash is nice and thick.
Another trick is to add ¼ cup of dry-grated parmesan cheese to the mash itself. Add it to the food processor with the butter, garlic, and salt & pepper.
Yes! All you need to do is omit the bacon. The mash will still be delicious.
While this is a very versatile side dish that can be served with pretty much anything, this is a very rich one. So to balance it out, I usually serve it with simple, relatively lean main courses such as:
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. The bacon does lose its crispiness, but the mash is still very rich and flavorful. Reheat the leftovers in the microwave, covered, at 50% power.
More Cauliflower Recipes
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Loaded Mashed Cauliflower
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon fresh garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or ½ teaspoon of any other salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 medium head cauliflower (1 lb. when trimmed)
- ½ cup sharp cheddar shredded
- 2 tablespoons chives or parsley, chopped, for garnish
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Place the butter, garlic, kosher salt, and black pepper in your food processor bowl.
- Cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp. Drain on paper towels, then crumble. Set aside.
- Trim the cauliflower and cut it into chunks. Place the chunks in a large microwave-safe bowl. Add ¼ cup water. Cover and microwave on high until very tender, about 10 minutes. The bowl will be hot - careful when removing it from the microwave. Drain and transfer the cooked cauliflower to the food processor.
- Process the cauliflower on high speed until very smooth, 1-2 minutes, stopping once to scrape the sides with a spatula.
- Transfer the cauliflower puree to a small 1-quart casserole dish. Top with the shredded cheddar and the crumbled bacon. Bake just until the cheese is melted, 3-5 minutes. Top with the parsley and serve.