July 24, 2013
When the Atkins diet first came out, one of my uncles became really into it, so much so that he was nicknamed "Uncle Splenda." My Aunt Colleen started making "mashed cauliflower" in lieu of mashed potatoes for him. Uncle Splenda would rave about mashed cauliflower, while the rest of the family just shook our heads and ate our mashed potatoes.
I hate to admit it, but Uncle Splenda was right. Mashed cauliflower is really good! It tastes similar to mashed potatoes with a similar texture, but it is not as "heavy" as mashed potatoes, making it a lighter side dish. You could serve it with a hearty chicken meal, and it paired nicely with the halibut that I grilled.
When I make mashed potatoes, I generally add about a quarter of a cup of a milk and butter combination. Since that combination works for mashed potatoes, I decided to apply it towards mashed cauliflower. A quarter of a cup equates to 4 tablespoons, so you could tweak that combination. For instance, you could try 2 tablespoons of cream cheese with 2 tablespoons of butter, or even 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon of cream cheese, and 1 tablespoon of buttermilk. The possibilities to vary the flavor are endless!
This dish is light, fluffy, and creamy. The butter produces the silky, rich flavor that makes it irresistible not to spoon another mound on your plate. By pureeing the cauliflower in the food processor, it gave that smooth, fluffy texture that is reminiscent to mashed potatoes. You could also use your hand mixer to "whip it good!"
So, next time you don't feel like peeling potatoes, give mashed cauliflower a try. You just may be surprised!
Yields 4 servings
1 medium head of cauliflower (or 1 lb. of cauliflower florets)
1 tbsp. milk or cream, at room temperature
3 tbsp. butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp fresh chives or scallions, to garnish
Shredded cheese, optional
Set a large pot of water to boil over high heat. While waiting for the water to boil, clean and break the cauliflower into florets.
Once the water is boiling, add the cauliflower and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender. A fork should easily pierce the cauliflower when it is done. Drain the cauliflower and returned the drained cauliflower to the pot. Cover the pot for 3 minutes. During this time, the cauliflower will continue to steam, and any extra moisture will reabsorb into the cauliflower. This helps prevent the cauliflower from becoming watery. (Note: if the cauliflower still seems too moist, you can pat the cauliflower with paper towels to help absorb the moisture.)
In a food processor, puree the cauliflower with the milk/cream and butter until smooth. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender or even a hand mixer. Garnish with chives and any desired shredded cheese, and serve warm.
Source: A Simply Sweet Justice Original, inspired by Aunt Colleen and "Uncle Splenda"