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Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

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You say potato, we say use cauliflower instead!

Cauliflower mashed potatoes are the flavorful, nutritious, and — for those who celebrate — a low-carb, keto alternative to regular mashed potatoes. This mashed cauliflower recipe is oh so delicious and beyond easy to make. 

keto cauliflower mashed recipe

This cauliflower mashed potatoes recipe is just as good as regular mashed potatoes. Here’s why you should make them.

Where have cauliflower mashed potatoes been all my life? That’s what I wondered when I first gave mashed cauliflower a whirl (literally — a food processor is involved). They are so good, so mashed potato like, and yet, so nutritious.

Mashed potatoes are, as we all know, one of the best side dishes ever. But — and there’s always a but — mashed potatoes do not offer much support to those watching their simple carbohydrate intake, containing around 20 grams of carbs in a mere half cup serving.

Contrast that with cauliflower mashed potatoes. Somewhat of a misnomer because there actually are no potatoes at all, mashed cauliflower whips up to the same texture and look as mashed potatoes, in the same amount of time, but with even more nutrition and very few carbohydrates, qualifying it as a keto-friendly vegetable.

ingredients for keto cauliflower mashed potatoes recipe
The simple ingredients for this recipe are cauliflower, butter, pecorino-Romano cheese, salt, and pepper. That’s it!

Why is cauliflower healthy?

I always think of cauliflower as a green vegetable disguised as a white vegetable. Cauliflower has multiple health benefits — so good for us the Mayo Clinic calls cauliflower a “nutrition superstar.”

The Mayo Clinic writes that cauliflower is:

[H]igh in vitamins C and K, and is also a good source of folate, which supports cell growth and is essential during pregnancy. Cauliflower is fat-free and cholesterol-free. And it’s low in sodium. A one-cup serving contains only 25 calories, 5 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of dietary fiber.

Cauliflower also contains numerous antioxidants and potassium.

riced cauliflower in pot before steaming
Steam the chopped cauliflower until very tender.

What makes this cauliflower mashed potato recipe keto?

A ketogenic diet or way of eating is one that uses a macronutrient distribution range of about 55% to 60% fat, 30% to 35% protein, and 5% to 10% carbohydrates. That’s the technical distribution. More casually, though, many people consider “keto” another word for “very low carb.”

Cauliflower on its own, while very low carbohydrate, does not strictly fall into the ketogenic category because its low fat and protein percentage. However, this mashed cauliflower recipe uses the addition of good butter and grated pecorino-Romano cheese to up the fat and protein percentage — not to mention the flavor and texture — all while remaining very low carbohydrate.

keto cauliflower mashed potatoes recipe

How many carbs are in this keto cauliflower mashed potato recipe?

One whole large head of fresh cauliflower (about two pounds) contains only about 40 grams of carbohydrates. By comparison, two pounds of white potatoes contains over 140 grams of carbs.

The addition of butter, grated pecorino-Romano cheese, salt, and pepper in this mashed cauliflower recipe adds virtually no additional carbs, and about 50 grams of fat or so, mostly thanks to the butter.

So while not strictly keto under the fat/protein/carb percentage parameters, this cauliflower mashed potato recipe does qualify as very low carbohydrate, with a higher percentage of fat than carbs — so, keto in the more casual understanding of the word.

How to thicken cauliflower mashed potatoes

One big question that comes up with cauliflower mashed potatoes, keto or otherwise, is how to thicken them to achieve a nice, mashed potato-like consistency.

Here’s the secret to thickening cauliflower mashed potatoes: You don’t have to. Mashed cauliflower will be just the right thickness all on its own after steaming, provided that you drain the cauliflower well.

Runny or thin keto cauliflower mashed potatoes is the result of too much water, either from not draining the cauliflower well enough in a colander, or from adding too much water to the food processor or blender to loosen it to blend into a cauliflower purée.

To fix watery cauliflower mashed potatoes to make them thicker, simply cook the cauliflower in a pot over the stove on medium heat, stirring often, until some of the liquid evaporates.

cauliflower mashed potatoes keto recipe

Ingredients for Mashed Cauliflower

For this keto cauliflower mash recipe, you will only need the following few ingredients — trust me, they’ll be great despite the simplicity.

  • One 2-pound head of cauliflower
  • 4 tablespoons butter, plus more to top
  • 3 tablespoons pecorino-Romano cheese (I prefer this salty sheep’s milk cheese over parmesan, which has a very strong flavor)
  • Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper

How to this make cauliflower mashed potatoes recipe

This cauliflower mashed potatoes recipe is one of the easiest on the entire website. Here’s what to do:

  1. Trim and cut the cauliflower into small pieces, discarding the interior stump and any green leaves.
  2. Place the cauliflower florets and little rice-like bits into a wide pot and cover the cauliflower halfway with water.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, fully covered with a lid, until very soft and fork tender. Stir once or twice to make sure the water doesn’t dry out; add more as necessary. This will take between five and eight minutes, depending on how small you’ve cut the cauliflower. Note: You need the lid to be on fully to steam the cauliflower correctly.
  4. Drain the cauliflower into a colander or strainer. In several additions, add the steamed, drained cauliflower from the colander to a food processor or blender. Blitz until very smooth and creamy. Add a little water if necessary to loosen the cauliflower enough to whip.
  5. Return the mashed cauliflower to the pot over low heat. Add the butter, grated pecorino-Romano cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until the butter is melted, and the ingredients are fully mixed. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  6. Serve with a dollop of butter on top.

A Few Final Recipe Notes and Tips

You will need a food processor, immersion blender, or regular blender to whip the cauliflower to the right creaminess — a potato masher does not really do the best job, but will get your about 90% of the way there if that’s what you’ve got.

You can store your keto mashed cauliflower in the fridge for up to three days. This dish is easily reheated in the microwave or on the stove over medium heat. Give it a good stir before serving.

This article does not endorse, promote, or otherwise provide medical advice or advocacy for any dietary program, ketogenic or otherwise. Consult a medical professional. 

keto cauliflower mashed recipe

If you like this keto-friendly cauliflower mash, you’ll also love:

cauliflower mashed potatoes keto recipe

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes (Keto Friendly Recipe)

Calling this recipe cauliflower mashed potatoes is admittedly somewhat of a misnomer. No potatoes are actually in this mashed cauliflower dish. But the fluffy, creamy white appearance and texture, coupled with the addition of good butter and some cheese, makes this just as satisfying -- all while remaining low carb for those who are watching their counts, and packed with nutrients.
Prep Time12 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Course: dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine: vegetarian
Keywords:: cauliflower, easy, easy thanksgiving desserts, fall recipes, healthy recipe, keto, mashed cauliflower, side dish, winter
Servings: 4 people (about 2 1/2 cups)
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Ingredients

  • 1 Large head of cauliflower, or about 2 pounds
  • 4 tablespoons butter, plus more to garnish
  • 3 tablespoons grated pecorino-Romano cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, or to taste (I use Diamond Crystal; Morton's is very salty so you'll use less of that)
  • 12 turns fresh-cracked black pepper

Instructions

  • Trim and cut the cauliflower into small pieces, discarding the interior stump and any green leaves.
  • Place the cauliflower florets and little cauliflower rice bits into a wide pot and cover the cauliflower halfway with water.
    Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, fully covered with a lid, until very soft and fork tender. Stir once or twice to make sure the water doesn't dry out; add more as necessary. This will take between five and eight minutes, depending on how small you've cut the cauliflower. Remove from heat.
    TIP: You need the lid to be on fully to correctly steam the cauliflower.
  • Drain the cauliflower into a colander or strainer. In several additions depending on the size of your food processor or blender, add the steamed, drained cauliflower to a food processor or blender. Blend until very smooth and creamy.
    PRO TIP: Cauliflower not really blending? Add a little water teaspoon by teaspoon if necessary to loosen the cauliflower enough to whip. Less is more.
  • Over medium-low heat to cook off any residual moisture, add the butter, grated pecorino-Romano cheese, salt, and pepper. Stir until the butter is melted, and the ingredients are fully mixed. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
    Transfer to a serving bowl or individual plates. Serve with a generous dollop of butter on top.

Notes

You will need a food processor, immersion blender, or regular blender to whip the cauliflower to the right creaminess -- a potato masher does not really do the best job, but will get your about 90% of the way there if that's what you've got for this recipe.
You can store your keto mashed cauliflower in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. This dish is easily reheated in the microwave or on the stove over medium heat. Give it a good couple of stirs as you go. 
This article does not endorse, promote, or otherwise provide medical advice or advocacy for any dietary program, ketogenic or otherwise. Consult a medical professional.

1 comment

  • 5 stars
    This was SO GOOD!! I am now a cauliflower convert. This was easy to make. I only have a small food processor so it took a couple batches to get it all whipped, but no big deal. I followed the recipe precisely and will definitely make this again.

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