Let’s take a look at one of the most ubiquitous side dishes known in the culinary world – mashed potatoes. There isn’t a region in the world that cultivates potatoes that does not have at least one dish incorporating them cooked and mashed. Of course, in the Primal kitchen, the only potatoes we use are those of the “sweet” variety (which really aren’t a potato in the botanical sense). That doesn’t, however, curb our desire to have something that is similar in both taste and texture to mashed potatoes for serving with those meals that just seem meant for them. So, instead, we turn to the same source of substitute that we have found to work so well for rice – cauliflower.
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 2 tbsp grass-fed unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp heavy pastured cream
As we’ve said before, we will incorporate grass-fed pastured dairy – primarily heavy cream and butter and sometimes cheese – on occasion. This is one of those occasions¹. You could probably try some other ideas, but to really get the right flavor, I find it best to stick with a little quality dairy in this recipe. And you can see, it doesn’t take much (not near as much as I used to use for standard mashed potatoes).
Start out by cutting the cauliflower into small florets and placing in a steamer basket in a saucepan. Fill the bottom with water to just below the basket, and put the lid on. Heat on high until the water is boiling, then let them steam for about 5~7 minutes or until the cauliflower is just tender enough for a fork to pierce through easily. Don’t overcook them to mush, or you will end up with mushed cauliflower rather than a convincing substitute for mashed potatoes. At this point, if you’ve seen our riced cauliflower recipe, you’re probably thinking, “this looks familiar.” You’re right – it’s the same process up until we put things into the food processor.
When you’ve got the cauliflower steamed to perfection, transfer it while still hot (carefully!) to the bowl of your food processor. At this point, toss in the butter and cream and put on the lid. This time, instead of pulsing a few times like we do with the rice, we need to really let it blend to break down and whip up to the consistency we want. That means turning it on high for a good full minute. Then scrape down the sides to get any “rice” particles back into the fold and also check for any un-blended florets (you may get one or two that decide to stay on the top and not blend). Push all of those down into the bottom and then blend again on high for another 30~60 seconds.
If you feel the consistency is too thick, you can add a little more butter or cream, but do so very sparingly. The cauliflower does not endlessly absorb liquid like starchy potatoes seem to do, so it does not take much to turn a nice whipped texture into a runny soup. For me, the exact quantities above work perfect (as does diligence to not over-cook it). If this has you worried, then start with half the above quantities and add as you go if needed.
When you’ve got things all blended, transfer to a serving bowl and serve them up with the rest of your meal. See how many people you can fool into thinking they are really mashed potatoes (I managed to convince my kids the first time around…which is impressive). Enjoy!