Mashed CAULIFLOWER? YES! Trust me. This stuff is GOOD! I've been making this for awhile now, but I decided to kick it up a notch for the Away From Home Cooking Contest. Kicking it up a notch meant thinking about what makes mashed potatoes so amazing- and that's when they're LOADED with all the good stuff! Bacon, cheese, chives...mmmm! So I added that concept to the mashed cauliflower and it turned out even better than I thought! Seriously, adding all the toppings makes these babies taste even MORE like potatoes (but they're so creamy, you really don't even have to add the toppings for them to taste delicious!). The secret to making mashed cauliflower taste like creamy mashed potatoes instead of gritty cauliflower is to puree them with either a food processor, or my preference, an immersion hand blender (it's different than a hand held mixer- google it!). If you do that little trick, I promise you won't miss the potatoes one bit! So much healthier and absolutely delicious! Plus, if you've got kids who won't eat their veggies, this is a good way to sneak them in! I paired these with my other recipe entry creation, Rosemary Flank Steak with Bleu Cheese Cream Sauce. My tastebuds were dancing with excitement- the steak was SO. GOOD! I don't know if the mashed cauliflower will be a winning recipe for the contest, but I hope you at least enjoy it as much as I do! (I apologize for the poor picture quality- the lighting wasn't the best!)
Loaded Mashed Cauliflower
- 4 cups fresh or frozen cauliflower florets (1 medium head fresh)
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1/3 cup Half and Half (or heavy cream)
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 12 slices bacon
- 4 Tablespoons fresh chopped chives
- 2 cups freshly shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (the bagged stuff isn't as good- promise!)
- Kosher salt (to taste)
- Pepper (to taste)
- Fill a medium pot 3/4 full with water. Add garlic and bring to a boil. Add cauliflower to pot and bring back to a boil. Let boil for 30 minutes, or until cauliflower is very soft and tender.
- While cauliflower is boiling, fry the bacon in a pan until crisp, approximately 6-8 minutes. Drain on a paper towel lined plate and let cool. Once cool, crumble bacon by hand, place in a bowl and set aside.
- Once tender, drain the cauliflower and return to pot. Puree the cauliflower with an immersion hand blender or a food processor (this will give it the creamy "mashed potato" consistency. A hand held mixer or potato masher will not give it the same consistency). Add the half and half (or cream), butter, and 1 1/2 Tablespoons of chives and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. To serve, top mashed cauliflower with shredded cheese, bacon, and chives.