We’re a day late on this, but it’s a perfect fall recipe: Loaded Mashed Cauliflower. It’s been cooking around in my head for weeks, but it came together all day today when I got in the kitchen to bake some pumpkin treats — to replace those that I can’t afford to buy, let alone go to the grocery store right now — and ended up with a second baked good, and an extra serving of mashed cauliflower left over.
I had a cauliflower in the fridge going soft and forgotten, so I turned it into loaded mashed cauliflower to make this dish. It was a big hit — not only with the kids, which doesn’t necessarily happen, but with my guests. And the kids didn’t have any problems eating this recipe, despite not having any mashed potatoes in their lunch box, because of how good this cauliflower alternative is.
If you’re looking for a good reason to get a head of cauliflower for some mashed potatoes that are less healthy (and more likely to end up in the landfill), but more cost-effective, look no further. Also, with the leftover (still frozen) mashed potatoes — and I did have a couple extra cups — this also makes a great side for chicken. And there are many, many ways you can eat cauliflower, so get creative with this, and turn it into what you want to make it!
In a blender or regular food processor (not an immersion blender), mix all the ingredients until smooth. That’s it, as easy as that. If you don’t have a blender or food processor, there are plenty of easy ways to do this without one:
You can get good quality almond or other nut-milk, and use that instead. Start with ½ of the cauliflower; I used 1/3 of my cauliflower, because I didn’t want it super thick.
Cut your cauliflower into florets, and steam them for about 12 minutes, tossing occasionally. I was making this for dinner, and this steaming step is what made it from a half-head of cauliflower to a whole head.
While the florets are steaming, you can heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and lay down a foil-lined baking sheet.
Using a wooden spoon, mix the cauliflower in a bowl until thoroughly combined and smooth.
Place the roasted florets on the baking sheet and spread out.
Bake in the 400 F oven for 35 minutes, until the florets are tender but still firm.
While the cauliflower is cooking, dice your chicken into bite-sized pieces. This recipe makes around two pounds of chicken, but I usually use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, so I don’t cook anything extra. When the chicken is done, season and sprinkle the chicken with a little salt.
Cook the cauliflower for a little while longer (I like it like this), until the liquid is gone, and then add the chicken and liquid to the bowl with the cauliflower. Mix until well combined.
Serve this mashed cauliflower over rice, pasta, couscous, or whatever other grain you want!
These loaded mashed cauliflower bites have been a hit, and look like something that would be worth the effort. I was out of parsnips, so I substituted parsnips (I’ve read they work well, but not sure if they are that well known). If you decide to make these to make it easier to get mashed potatoes into your kids’ lunches, and you can substitute green beans (or another green), you can still use other vegetables — carrots, broccoli — to put some vegetables in there, and get your kids to eat them. These are super flexible!