Wednesday, November 27, 2013

quick side dish: cauliflower mash

if you're looking for something a little different for a side to try for thanksgiving, my girl jo has something for you. lower in calories so you can eat an extra slice of pecan pie!

when i was watching jospehine make this, in my head i was thinking...what's wrong with potatoes? nothing. potatoes are the jam. but this cauliflower mash is AMAZING. the crunch of the nuts was surprising and such an incredible addition to the texture i'm not really into trying new things, but jo has helped me to expand my palette...slowly but surely taking a few risks here and there and it hasn't disappointed.

and by the by, cauliflower is a great low carb option, much more nutritious than potatoes.
Vitamin K in potato  2% vs.  cauliflower 10.7%
Vitamin C in potato  9.6% vs. cauliflower 45.8% 

White potatoes, boiled without skin, flesh only, 1/2 cup (nutrition data source)
67.1 calories

Cauliflower, boiled, 1/2 cup (nutrition data source)
14.3 calories

 enough of the health lesson. you get it! cauliflower wins.

Cauliflower Mash
(gluten and dairy free)

To be honest, I was always very skeptical whenever I encountered recipes that tried to incorporate cauliflower into mac & cheese or something. I like my veggies, but something about mashing a pungent and cabbage-like vegetable like cauliflower and combining it with noodles never sounded right. I finally worked up the courage and tried Tim Ferriss’ "Coconut Cauliflower Curry Mash". It really rocked my world (and jami's too) and changed my view of cauliflower forever! I made a few changes to the ingredients and cooking techniques and made a version that I honestly think you will enjoy. This mash is  nutty, sweet, and delicious! Simply good eats. 

1 small head cauliflower, about 3-4 cups florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup roasted cashew nuts, crushed
½ can unsweetened coconut cream (I use Trader Joe’s generic brand)
½ teaspoon graham masala
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter, softened
salt and pepper to taste

1.     First, pull off as many leaves from the cauliflower as possible. Once it resembles a tree (“tree” of florets and “trunk” of stem), pull apart the florets by hand or using a pairing knife. Place them in a big mixing bowl. Set aside.

2.      In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the cauliflower florets, season with salt and pepper to taste, cook until they are lightly browned, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the crushed cashew nuts, coconut cream, graham masala, and cinnamon. Bring the contents to a boil, immediately reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 20 minutes, or until everything tastes tender.

3.     Remove from the heat, use a fork or a potato masher to mash cauliflower into a mashed potato-like consistency. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Cook’s Note:

As a finishing touch, you can add a couple pinches of curry powder, or more cinnamon. Saigon cinnamon would definitely add an exotic flavor to this creamy dish.  


  1. I'm gonna try it. First, I love cauliflower in things -- have you tried making it into alfredo sauce {}? Second, Trader Joes coconut cream is AWESOME. Third, I'm really curious how the spices would go together. :) Yum. Thanks!


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