Cauliflower: why I always ask for more (& 5 ways to sub it for carbs)
When I see cauliflower on my CSA’s chalkboard, I am filled with joy. It is one of those vegetables that does so much in place of a starch. Sub it for rice, pizza crust, mashed potatoes, tots (just heard about that one!). . . The list goes on. One of my favorite recipes is mashed cauliflower: a simple, elegant dish that my 16 year old niece always revisits for seconds.
Mashed cauliflower (or as we sometimes say, faux potatoes) can contain a basic three ingredients or get a bit more complicated (but not much. . .like add some garlic and Parmesan, or finish it with some truffle or rosemary salt).
Here’s what I did:
I had about two heads of cauliflower worth (they were smaller than that) of cheddar and regular cauliflower (just because that’s what I had). I chopped them up into flowerettes and put them in my large pot, with a steamer tray at the bottom. I poured in about a cup of water (enough to get a half inch of water in there) and steamed them until they were a little more than fork tender. You don’t want to over cook them, but you want them to be soft enough to mash well. Mine took about 10 minutes.
While they cook, if I have the oven going I might slip some garlic in to roast as well. And slip a few cloves of that in the food processor. Or saute some diced garlic.
Once the cauliflower is cooked, take out your food processor (a hearty blender would probably work, too) and add the cauliflower to it. I had to do this in two or three shifts. I used a total of 1/3 cup olive oil, but poured some in each batch. And then a little extra at the end. . . Cause it’s so good. I added a 1/2 tsp of salt as well, distributed in each. And then another pinch at the end.
I let the food processor run for a good two to three minutes to really get the cauliflower into
a pureed mash.
And then I served it up.
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2-1 tsp salt (I like Redmond Salt — localish, filled with minerals)
2 heads (or the equivalent) of cauliflower
1. Chop the cauliflower into flourettes. No need to be pretty about it, these will eventually be mashed. But don’t hack them so badly that much of the cauliflower turns to crumbs.
2. Steam in a large pot (you can boil them too). Takes about 10 minutes. Cook them well, until they are very fork tender.
3. In batches that work for your food processor, add the cauliflower, some of the olive oil, and some of the salt. Stick your finger in to see if you like the taste. Add more salt or oil if you don’t! Here is when you would add a clove or two of roasted garlic, some rosemary salt or just rosemary, or other herb combination. This is a very flexible recipe.
4. Process the ingredients for 1-3 minutes, until smooth.
5. Add some finishing salt if you feel like it (I really liked truffle salt, took away some of the cauliflower flavor).
Here are a few other ideas that will make this little, sometimes smelly, nondescript, unassuming veggie something that will get your blood pumping as well:
- Cauli Tots
- Cauliflower pizza crust (8 variations, including on vegan crust)–side note, this can also be made into grilled cheese sandwiches or cheesy bread sticks. Seriously. Kids will love this.
- VIETNAMESE CAULI-FRIED RICE by the Urban Poser
- Cauliflower bagels by Lexi’s Clean Kitchen
Featured image is by Mike Mozart.