I mentioned in my last post that my kids love mashed cauliflower. In fact, the reason I had a bit of raw cauliflower left over to make an Indian-spiced Cauliflower Frittata last week was because I bought a cauliflower that was too big to fit in my steamer appliance when I made it for them.
While I love cauliflower in many different preparations, the only way my kids will eat it consistently is if I mash it. They both get excited when I make it for dinner, and they will each eat the equivalent of half a cauliflower in one sitting, so if I want to eat any, I have to take my serving out first and let them eat the rest. No other vegetable except artichokes cause this much enthusiasm. In fact, when I was taking a few pictures for this post, they wanted to keep eating it. When I told A to stop eating it since I had enough pictures, she quickly scooped a few more bites in before I could take the bowl away. They finished it for dinner…
Cauliflower is a fantastic vegetable: the flavor is pretty mild, so it can be riced, mashed, roasted, sautéed, or mixed into any number of dishes. It is crunchy when raw, slightly sweet and nutty when cooked, and adapts well to many different spices and flavor profiles. It is also a very nutrient-dense vegetable despite its bland color–it is exceptionally high in vitamin C, is also a good source of vitamin K, folate, and manganese, and is high in fiber. And it is available year round here in California, so I buy some every other week or so.
There is no magic to making this dish–you will find through a little experimentation which methods and amounts of seasonings taste best to you and your family. It is simple with only three ingredients, but the creamy taste and texture are hearty and comforting (and mashed cauliflower pairs well with just about any protein). I often use it as a substitute for mashed potatoes; it is far more nutritious and my kids actually like the cauliflower better than white potatoes anyway. Win-win!
- 1 small-to-medium head of cauliflower
- grassfed butter
- sea salt
- Rinse and roughly chop the cauliflower into uniform pieces, removing any outer leaves (but you can leave the core if you like). Larger pieces will take longer to cook.
Cook the cauliflower until it is very soft. I prefer to steam mine in my steamer appliance for 18-20 minutes (see picture at right) or until a fork is easily inserted. You can easily do this on the stove with a pot and a steamer basket. You could also boil, roast, or sauté the cauliflower, but you must make sure it is very well-cooked (and if you boil or cook it in a fat/liquid, you will want to drain it once it is cooked).
- When the cauliflower is cooked, drain it if needed and then transfer it to another bowl or a food processor. I put mine in a deep mixing bowl.
- Add butter (at least half a stick to begin with) and a few shakes of salt.
- Mash with a handheld masher, use an immersion blender (this is what I do), or pulse in your food processor until all the cauliflower is a uniform consistency.
- Taste for butter and salt, and adjust if needed.