Creamy mashed cauliflower with butter, garlic, and parmesan tastes amazing.
You won't miss the mashed potatoes! It's ready in just 20 minutes and you can make it in your food processor.
Cauliflower is so versatile, and it makes a surprisingly good substitute for potatoes. I use it in quite a few recipes. It has a nearly neutral flavor that readily absorbs fats and seasonings.
This cauliflower puree is creamy and so delicious. My husband says he actually prefers it to mashed potatoes, which he finds bland. The addition of garlic and parmesan certainly makes this mash very flavorful.
You'll only need six ingredients to make this tasty side dish. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Fresh cauliflower: This is not the best recipe for using frozen cauliflower. For the best flavor and texture, fresh is the way to go. One way to make life easy is to buy a bag of pre-washed cauliflower florets.
Butter: I use unsalted butter. I love using creamy European butter, but any butter will be good.
Minced garlic: Mince it yourself, or use the stuff that comes in a jar. You can also use ½ teaspoon of garlic powder instead of fresh garlic.
Grated parmesan: Make sure you use finely grated parmesan, not coarsely shredded.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the dish could end up too salty.
Making mashed cauliflower is truly easy. The detailed instructions are listed in the recipe card below. Here are the basic steps:
Steam the cauliflower in the microwave. You can also steam it in a steamer basket on the stovetop or roast it. But the microwave is the easiest and quickest method. In fact, I often serve microwave cauliflower as a side dish!
Add the steamed cauliflower to your food processor bowl along with butter, garlic, parmesan, salt, and pepper.
Process these tasty ingredients into a wonderfully creamy mash. That's it! I told you this was an easy recipe. 🙂
Frequently asked questions
You could, but I believe that the dish tastes significantly better when you use fresh cauliflower.
If using frozen cauliflower, defrost it in the microwave, and make sure you drain it VERY well. But as I said, I do highly recommend using fresh cauliflower in this recipe.
No, but it's surprisingly close, both in flavor and in texture. The first time I tasted it, I was amazed. How can it taste so good?
I think it's the garlic and parmesan. They really enhance this mash and mask the flavor of the cauliflower.
Yes. Although it's ready fast so I don't usually feel the need to make it ahead of time, you could make it a few hours (or a day) in advance, refrigerate, then reheat it in the microwave.
In my recipe, the parmesan helps thicken it. While not as thick as mashed potatoes, it's creamy and lovely.
Some recipes add cornstarch. I find it unnecessary. I do recommend draining the cauliflower well after steaming it.
Well... if you dislike it so much, I don't think you should eat this vegetable! There are many others to choose from.
Having said that, this recipe comes close. The butter, garlic, and parmesan work well to mask the natural flavor of cauliflower.
Variations and substitutions
I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. A couple of ways to vary this recipe are to use a fat other than butter - you could try cream cheese if you'd like.
Another variation is to use more spices. Try a pinch of onion powder and a pinch of dried thyme.
This is a very versatile side dish that you can serve with almost anything. It's especially good when you make a saucy dish and you want to serve it on something that would absorb the yummy juices. So I often serve it with one of the following saucy dishes:
I also use it to top my low-carb shepherd's pie. It's wonderful when topped with roasted garlic! And obviously, you can serve it with any dish that you would traditionally serve with mashed potatoes, such as ribeye roast or beef tenderloin roast.
Leftovers keep very well in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days.
This is one of those dishes that tastes good even after a few days in the fridge. Unlike mashed potatoes, that don't keep well. Gently reheat the leftovers in the microwave, covered, on 50% power.
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Creamy Mashed Cauliflower
- 1 medium cauliflower trimmed (1 lb.)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter soft
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Wash the cauliflower, towel dry, trim outer leaves and cut into florets, or just into chunks.
- Place the cauliflower florets in a microwave-safe bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of water to the bottom of the bowl, cover with a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high for about 10 minutes, until very tender.
- Meanwhile, place the butter, garlic, parmesan, salt, and pepper in your food processor's bowl.
- When the cauliflower is cooked, carefully drain it (the bowl and plate will be hot and steam will escape) and transfer it to the food processor.
- Process until very smooth, 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately.