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Creamy Mashed Cauliflower is the perfect low carb side dish for our next family meal. With parmesan cheese, cream cheese, and garlic flavor in every bite, you won’t even miss potatoes! Fantastic served with seafood, grilled chicken, lamb chops, steaks, and many other mains!

I happen to LOVE cauliflower! It’s one of my favorite veggies and when I’m trying to eat more vegetables it’s one of the first I look to. If you enjoy cauliflower too, some of our other favorites are Easy Oven Roasted Cauliflower or Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup!

an overhead image of a bowl of mashed cauliflower sprinkled with black pepper and drizzled with olive oil

What is Mashed Cauliflower?

Back before the pandemic, Paul and I used to do date night in San Francisco and try out lots of amazing restaurants. On more than one occasion, a main dish would be served with mashed cauliflower as the side, but instead of being an afterthought it was often the part of the dish that really made me pause and think “wow! I love this!”

Exactly as the name implies this dish is made from a cauliflower that was cooked until soft enough that the cruciferous vegetable can be mashed. Then adding in other ingredients you can create a tasty cauliflower mash with cream cheese that mimics the rich and flavorful profile of mashed potatoes. 

But what if I don’t like cauliflower?

I love this side because of it’s wonderful creamy texture and delicious flavor. Whenever I get it at restaurants, I find myself wondering why I don’t make it at home more often!

But Paul kind of hates cauliflower (it’s probably his least favorite vegetable ever), and even he enjoys it prepared this way (or roasted, which is his other favorite). The toasted garlic and cream cheese go a long way to add a delicious and interesting flavor that he enjoys much more than plain cauliflower.

As a bonus, this mashed cauliflower recipe is perfect for someone on a keto or low carb diet! We enjoy this any time of the year, but it would be a good option for your Thanksgiving table in place of traditional mashed potatoes!

olive oil drizzled over swirls of mashed cauliflower in a bowl

How to Make Creamy Cauliflower

  1. Cook the cauliflower: First you need to soften the cauliflower by either steaming or boiling it. I like to steam the cauliflower for 10-15 minutes until it’s tender. If you don’t have a steamer, you can boil the cauliflower in a medium pan full of water. Just make sure to drain it well before transferring to the food processor (affiliate link) or else your cauliflower mash will be runny.
  2. Warm the garlic: Heat your olive oil or melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat, then add the smashed garlic. Cook the garlic for 1-2 minutes until softened and lightly browned, but be careful not to burn it or it will taste bitter.
  3. Puree: Transfer half of the steamed cauliflower and garlic with the olive oil or butter to a large food processor (affiliate link). Pulse them on high until they’re fairly smooth. Add in the remaining cauliflower and process again until creamy. Add in the Parmesan cheese, cream cheese, salt, and pepper, blending again until everything is combined and smooth.
  4. To serve: Transfer the mashed cauliflower to a serving bowl and drizzle with melted butter or olive oil and a sprinkle of salt & pepper, to taste.

You can also substitute the cream cheese for 2-3 tablespoons of sour cream, both taste great, I just prefer cream cheese.

a spoon  in a bowl of mashed cauliflower next to a plate with scallops and asparagus

Can Mashed Cauliflower Be Made Ahead?

Yes it can! You can make this dish up to 3 days in advance, and keep it in a sealed container in the fridge. Then just reheat to eat.

Can You Freeze Mashed Cauliflower?

Absolutely! You can freeze this recipe for up to 3 months in an airtight container. It will need to thaw overnight in the fridge, then be warmed in the microwave or oven before serving. If it is looking watery, just drain off excess liquid and stir it well.

How Long is Mashed Cauliflower Good For?

You can keep your leftovers stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to about 5 days.

What to Serve with Mashed Cauliflower

This side goes well with so many proteins. But here are just a few of our favorites that we have enjoyed it with.

a bowl of mashed cauliflower

More Vegetable Side Dish Recipes

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Mashed Cauliflower
Yield: 3-4 Servings

Mashed Cauliflower

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower is the perfect low carb side dish for our next family meal. With parmesan cheese, cream cheese, and garlic flavor in every bite, you won’t even miss potatoes! Fantastic served with seafood, grilled chicken, lamb chops, steaks, and many other mains!

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 ounce cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Steam the cauliflower for 10-15 minutes until tender.
  2. Heat olive oil or melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat, then add the smashed garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes until softened and lightly browned, but be careful not to burn the garlic.
  3. Transfer half of the steamed cauliflower and the garlic with the olive oil or butter to a large food processor and pulse on high until fairly smooth. Add the remaining cauliflower and process again until creamy. Add the Parmesan cheese, cream cheese, salt, and pepper, blending again until everything is combined and smooth.
  4. Serve with a drizzle of melted butter or olive oil and a sprinkle of salt & pepper, to taste.

Notes

  • You can boil the cauliflower in a medium pan of water, if you don't have a steamer. Just be sure to drain it very well before transferring to the food processor or your mashed cauliflower may turn out runnier.
  • You can substitute 2-3 tablespoons of sour cream for the cream cheese. Both are good, although I prefer using cream cheese.

Recipe lightly adapted from All Recipes.