As a kid, I loved mashed potatoes. Sort of. I loved instant mashed potatoes with lots of butter and salt. I also loved baked potatoes doused in butter, sour cream, salt and pepper, cheese, and if possible, bacon.
But let’s be honest. That’s not really eating potatoes. It’s using potatoes (or fake potatoes) as a vehicle to eat all the other not-good-for-you stuff piled on top. But that doesn’t make it any less yummy. And I totally passed my love of baked potatoes onto my daughter, who now also loves them covered in butter and sour cream, and cheese and bacon.
Watching her devour a loaded baked potato made me feel just a little guilty. It’s not the best choice for a meal, ever with broccoli on it, and I should be helping her (and the rest of our family) make better choices. That’s when I discovered cauliflower mash.
When cauliflower is steamed or boiled and mashed up, it has the same consistency as mashed potatoes but with much more flavor.
The first time I suggested Natalie try mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes, she was creeped out. Seriously, what kids wants to eat cauliflower?! But she agreed to try it and I agreed to make it loaded-style. Her Bacon Cheddar Mashed Cauliflower was a huge hit — and she even agreed that the cauliflower was a much better tasting base than the potato.
The next time I made mashed cauliflower, Natalie ate it without all the toppings like Brian and I did, and she still loved it. Now it’s become one of our side dish staples.
Garlic And Thyme Cauliflower Mash
For our first day of Whole30, I decided to make barbecue chicken, Garlic And Thyme Cauliflower Mash, and Garlic And Thyme Roasted Baby Carrots. When I cook multiple sides, I like to use the same or similar seasonings so everything tastes like it belongs on the same plate!
For the Garlic And Thyme Cauliflower Mash, I cut the leaves off of one large head of cauliflower, put it in a large pot on the stove, and filled the pot about halfway with water. I then boiled the cauliflower for about 20 minutes, or until it’s nice and soft. The great thing about cauliflower is that you can’t really overcook it like potatoes.
When the cauliflower was ready, I drained all the water from the pot, reserving a little bit in a measuring cup. I then used my immersion blender to turn the cauliflower into a mash, stopping about halfway through to add 4 cloves of pressed garlic, onion powder, sea salt, and thyme. I also added one tablespoon of the water I had reserved to make the mash a little more creamy. The more water you add, the thinner and creamier the cauliflower mash will be.
When the mash was ready, I transferred it to a bowl and sprinkled a bit of Thyme over the top. That’s it. Super duper easy.
Garlic And Thyme Cauliflower Mash
Mashed cauliflower is like mashed potatoes but with a deeper, richer, earthier flavor.
- 1 large cauliflower head
- 4 large garlic cloves, pressed
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp thyme
- Cut the leaves off the cauliflower, place it in a large stock pot, fill the pot 1/3 - 1/2 full with water, and boil over medium-high heat for 20 minutes.
- Pour out all of the water, reserving a little in a measuring cup.
- Using an immersion blender (stick blender), blend the cauliflower to create the mash. Stop partway through to add the garlic, onion powder, and thyme.
- Evaluate the thickness of your cauliflower mash. If you want it creamier and thinner add some of the reserved water, one tablespoon at a time, blending after each addition. I usually add 1 tablespoon of water.
If you don't have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender or a food processor, you can go old school, and simply use a masher.