As the vanguard vegetable in the paleo and low-carb movement, cauliflower has transformed, Cinderella-like, from the last thing eaten on the plate (if at all) to being clamoured for – whole, roasted and burnished with spice. The centrepiece of the meal.
I started hearing about cauliflower as a carb sub back in 2011, but kind of ignored it. I just thought “why?” Why ditch mashed potatoes? Just give yourself less…I also thought, how can a whole roasted cauliflower – however herb-bedecked and dripping in tahini sauce – be a main meal, especially if you have growing children? I didn’t get it. I still don’t get it. At least not for these uses.
Yes, I am a bit of a hypocrite as I do dabble in low carb occasionally. My spiraliser even saw action this morning. But as with preferring a little real sugar to fake sugar, I prefer vegetables to be held up as beautiful, useful and delicious in their own right. Not as a poor imitation of something that we would actually prefer. You want the mashed potatoes? Eat the mashed potatoes.
So why mashed cauliflower? Isn’t this just a sad sop to our lust for potatoes? My husband, being a bit of a potato fiend, would say so. But I’m not proposing this as a substitute for the UK and North America’s favourite tuber. No, it deserves its own place alongside the roasted potatoes at the Christmas table – or on any dining table. Basically, and truthfully, it goes anywhere potatoes go. Anything that requires a savoury and creamy sidekick is fair game. But WITH potatoes.
Btw, this is Andrew-approved. He hoovered up almost the entire batch in one go, and merrily scraped the blender shiny-clean with the little curved spatula thingy that it comes with. I would have put the blender away if I didn’t know it hadn’t been washed. Eew, huh?
And I didn’t take away his potatoes…
Incredible Mashed Cauliflower
This cauliflower mash is a luxurious side dish in its own right. Any blender will do for this, but I love my Froothie Optimum 9400 (£50 off right now) as it not only blends the cauliflower to a puree, but fluffs it as well. Considering there is no starch, that’s a pretty nifty result. If you wish to double this, you will need to do in two batches. But it is super easy and quick, so this shouldn’t be a problem. It reheats well, too. Here’s some gravy to go with it. I spoil you, so I do. xx
1 medium-large cauliflower (about 800g), cut up into large bite-sized pieces (include the stem – it’s even tastier than the florets – true)
75g (2.6 oz) mild creamy goat’s cheese OR cashew cheese with pinch of nutritional yeast and squeeze of lemon added OR vegan cream cheese (beware of weird ingredients if bought stuff)
1 & 1/2 tbsp organic goat’s butter, cow’s butter OR vegan butter + extra for serving (you could also use olive oil)
1/4 tsp white pepper, more to taste
Salt to taste
What you need: steamer or lidded pan and a sieve or trivet insert; blender and spatula
1. Add water to the pan or steamer then pop in the the cauliflower; cover and steam for eight minutes.
2. Put half of the cauliflower (or whatever fits comfortably) into your blender and blitz until smooth. Add the remaining cauliflower, as well as the goats cheese, butter and pepper, and blend until completely smooth and luxurious. Taste and adjust with salt if needed. Serve topped with a nice, fat square of butter, or a generous splash of gravy.
Note: this is a wonderful addition to the holiday table but is easy enough to do any day. It is also a great recipe to encourage children – and reluctant adults – to eat a wider variety of vegetables. For everyday eating perhaps use olive oil, or cut back on the butter.
Other nice-sounding cauliflower side dishes suitable for the festive table:
Cauliflower & macaroni cheese via bbcgoodfood.com
Crunchy cauliflower, apple & blue cheese salad via bbcgoodfood.com
Cauliflower cheese with crispy truffled capers (gluten-free) via natural kitchen adventures
Roasted garlic and cauliflower stuffing via amuse your bouche
P.S. I am posting a Christmas Recipe roundup soon!