Monday, January 24, 2011

Cauliflower Mashed 'Potatoes'

Creamy, cheesy, garlic mashed.... cauliflower!? Yep. This is a great, lower carb (and low potassium for those with kidney conditions) alternative to mashed potatoes.  It is so healthy, simple and flavorful! Cauliflower is super inexpensive at the market right now, so not only is this recipe healthy but it is budget friendly too! I had never made it before, so I was skeptical as to how flavorful mashed cauliflower could be, but I experimented with adding lots of other rich flavors and it was DELICIOUS. 
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 or 2 potatoes, peeled (optional)
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced or chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

This was so quick and easy to make. It goes very fast, so get ready, set, go...

Boil a potato in pot of water; Above that pot, fit it with a steamer basket to steam the cauliflower at the same time. While those boil/steam, caramelize your onions in extra virgin olive oil in a separate pan.
The secret to caramelizing onions is LOW and SLOW. Keep your heat on medium-low and stir your onions frequently so that they get a deep brown color without burning. Once your onions are smelling sweet and get a nice caramel brown appearance, toss in the minced garlic for about 30 seconds, and then add the chicken stock, a light sprinkle of salt and some ground black pepper to taste (I used about an 1/8 or 1/4 teaspoon or black pepper). Let that simmer together over low heat for about a minute. 

After all that flavor has simmered together for a little bit, add the drained, steamed cauliflower. Stir the cauliflower into all those flavors in the pan. Put a lid on it and let all that flavor steam into the cauliflower for a couple minutes.

Adding the potato is totally optional. This recipe does not need it at all, but I chose to add the potato just to keep a little more of a potato texture and flavor.

** SIDE NOTE: you might choose not to add potato, either because you want to minimize the carbs, or because you are cooking for a health condition which limits the amount of potassium you should consume (potatoes are high in potassium, which should be limited with certain conditions such as renal/kidney disease)

If you do choose to add potato, now is the time to do that. Turn off the heat, add the potato, then mash it all together to your desired consistency. (I like to leave a little texture, as opposed to being completely smooth.)

Then I added the parmesan cheese and folded it all in until it was well incorporated: 

Then I plated it up like mashed potatoes with our porterhouse steak and green beans. Looks just like garlic mashed potatoes doesn't it!

It had the same texture as mashed potatoes that I like, plus it had lots of other rich flavors from the caramelized onions, the chicken stock, and the garlic! However, if you prefer the simpler creamy taste of traditional garlic-mashed potatoes, I suppose you can easily skip some of the other ingredients here and just use milk, roasted garlic, and some butter like a traditional mashed potato recipe. I LOVED this version with adding lots of flavors together, but play around and see what you like best.

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