“Better than Potatoes” Cheesy Cauliflower Puree (Low Carb)
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Better than potatoes? A bold claim! But I stand behind it! And believe me, nobody is more surprised than I am!
It’s day five in my week of low carb recipe posts, and my third day of strict low carb eating myself. Yesterday I wasn’t craving carbs, but I felt really foggy and knew I needed something other than protein in order to bounce back. I didn’t want to cheat so I decided to go with the cauliflower, which is on my long list of vegetables that are “legal.”
Now I’ve done low carb diets before, and heard many people tout mashed cauliflower as an acceptable substitute for mashed potatoes. I’ve even eaten it a few times and always…..meh, not so great. I think part of the problem for me is that they always seem too watery and don’t have that true starchy mouth feel of real potatoes. I had long ago put them in the category of “better than nothing but nowhere near as good as mashed potatoes.”
So yesterday I had a brainstorm on how to dry them out a bit so they wouldn’t be so waterlogged. I cooked them in the microwave, uncovered, for five minutes, and then another four – so a total of nine minutes. I poured a little heavy cream and a tablespoon of butter into the bowl with the cauliflower and tossed them to coat after the first five minutes so they wouldn’t dry out too much.
Well it worked! I put them in my magic bullet and pureed them with a little more butter and cream and some Dubliner Irish cheese and they were amazing! The perfect starchy thick consistency that I had been missing in a mashed cauliflower recipe!
So good that I tasted them and almost kept eating without taking any photos, reasoning that “I’d just make another batch for pictures later!” I came to my senses and managed to snap a few shots before I finished them off! ha ha! It wasn’t easy to wait though I gotta tell you!
In addition to the consistency issue, my other problem with cauliflower mash recipes has always been the funky, skunky flavor natural to cauliflower. The addition of this cheese made all the difference! It embraced the funk and transformed it into a complex flavor that I couldn’t get enough of! It made regular mashed potatoes seem boring and one note! And I’m a person who loves mashed potatoes!
One last thing of interest – I ate the mash around 3pm and it was probably about 2 cups worth (1 smallish head of cauliflower). I never ate another thing for the rest of the day, nor did I feel hungry at all. I even made chicken pesto pasta for my husband and son and sat with them chatting at the dinner table while they ate it and never once felt hungry or tempted by the pasta! This is not normal for me and I credit the high satiety factor of the cauliflower mash. Had I eaten mashed potatoes in the same way I would have been starving a few hours later for sure!
Maybe there really is something to this whole low carb, high fat thing – it’s an interesting experiment at the very least. An added bonus? The scale showed a 2.5lb drop from yesterday. But even if you aren’t trying to watch your carb intake, you want to make this dish–it will change your mind about cauliflower mash forever! I bought two heads of cauliflower yesterday and I’m so glad I did because I’ll be eating this for lunch again today! It’s only 9am and I already can’t wait! Yum!
*Update: I made this for lunch and I’m eating it now – bliss! I realized that Dubliner Irish Cheese may not be available everywhere so I made this batch with extra sharp white cheddar and it’s just as yummy! So if you can’t find the Dubliner or just don’t want to pay the extra for it, go for the extra sharp cheddar – easier to find and tastes great!
**2nd Update: I’ve made this sooo many times now and still love it! Some posters have complained about graininess and that may be from your cheese not melting if your cauliflower is cooling off during the processing time. I’ve been popping it back in the microwave for a minute AFTER I blend everything together and it makes a huge difference. Try it!
***3rd Update: My sincerest apologies to those of you who complained about graininess of the cauliflower mash and I dismissed it as operator error! I made a batch yesterday and it was super grainy no matter how much I cooked or blended it. I’m positive it was from the membrane on the center of the stalk. I bought two at the same time (same brand, likely same farm) and when I checked the second one it had a hard, fibrous outside. I peeled it off and cooked it the same way I always do and it was perfect. Not sure if it’s age or what but next time check your cauliflower branch for a hard outer skin and peel that off before you cook it just to make sure you get the right consistency!
****4th Update: I’ve made some minor changes to the cauliflower mash recipe that represent how I make it for myself now, and it’s a significant reduction in fat and calories from the original. I find I can use much less butter and cream than when I started and I still love the flavor. Also, I’m posting the nutrition data since so many people have been requesting it. Enjoy!
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