I’ve been a mashed potato addict since I can remember. Whenever my mom or grandma would make mashed potatoes, I would always have multiple servings and relished every bite. Strangely, my own children have not shown a similar desire to eat as many mashed potatoes as their stomachs can hold. There have even been phases where they won’t eat mashed potatoes at all. It baffles me!
In anticipation of the upcoming holiday season, filled with ample opportunities for eating mashed potatoes, I wanted to try to make this tasty side dish a little healthier. In addition to healthier, though, I also wanted to make the potatoes so delicious that my kids couldn’t resist eating them. I’m sick of being the only one stuffing her face with mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving!
I started doing some research on healthier mashed potatoes and kept coming across recipes for mashed cauliflower. As much as I love cauliflower (and I really do), I just don’t think mashed cauliflower is going to cut it when Thanksgiving rolls around. I didn’t want to cut the potatoes out completely. That would be Thanksgiving sacrilege!
But, I thought to myself, what if I were to combine the healthier cauliflower with the ever-tasty russet potato? What would happen then? Mashed perfection, that’s what!
I started playing around in the kitchen and discovered that making mashed potatoes with half potatoes and half cauliflower is pretty much the best thing ever. You get the many added nutrients that cauliflower provides as well as less carbs, making it possible to check the “healthier” box. The big bonus, however, is that these mashed potatoes taste seriously delicious. By not eliminating the russet potatoes altogether, you still get that classic mashed potato texture and flavor that is a must on a Thanksgiving table or alongside a Sunday pot roast. And the naturally buttery flavor of cauliflower is the perfect flavor complement to the potatoes.
The best part of creating this new concoction came when my girls taste tested the new healthier mashed potatoes. They were a big hit! In fact my 7-year-old daughter Anna, who normally doesn’t care that much about mashed potatoes, kept begging for more. She even ate them as an after school snack the next day! I have a feeling Anna will be stealing extra servings on Thanksgiving.
By “sneaking” in an uber-healthy vegetable, in this case cauliflower, I was able to turn one of my all-time favorite guilty pleasure foods into something filled with great nutrients, like vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and MORE. If you’re going to indulge in potatoes laced with butter, you may as well lace them with all that healthy stuff, too. But what is especially awesome about this recipe is the cauliflower actually makes the potatoes taste better. I swear I like these better than my regular mashed potatoes (which were really good to begin with!), and my daughters do, too, as evidenced by the fact that they ate their potatoes like they never have before.
Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
Makes: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
- 2 large russet potatoes (2 pounds total)
- 1 head of cauliflower (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1/4-1/2 cup milk or cream (depending on how healthy you want to make this!)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Put about 1” of water in a large pot. If you have a steamer basket, place in the pot. Bring water to a boil over high heat.
- While water is coming to a boil, peel and cut potatoes into 3/4″ cubes. Once water is boiling, reduce heat to medium, add potatoes to the pot and cover with a lid. Cook 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are soft and easily pierced with a knife. If you are not using a steamer basket and some of the potatoes are sitting in the water, be sure to toss them around occasionally during the cook time, recovering the pot with a lid every time.
- Cut cauliflower into approximately 1” pieces (no need to be exact).
- If you like super smooth mashed potatoes: Place cauliflower pieces in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and poke a hole in the top of the plastic. Cook in the microwave on high for 3-5 minutes, or until cauliflower is very soft.
- If you like lumpy mashed potatoes: Once the russet potatoes have been steaming for 5 minutes, add cauliflower to the pot with the potatoes. Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, until potatoes and cauliflower can be easily pierced with a knife. The cauliflower should be cooked well but not super mushy, so when you mash them you will end up with lumps in the potatoes.
- Heat milk or cream in a small microwave-safe bowl for about 45 seconds, until it’s warmed.
- Melt butter in a separate small bowl in the microwave, about 20 seconds or until melted.
- Mash potatoes and cauliflower together with a potato masher.
- Add butter, 1/4 cup of the milk or cream, and the salt and pepper. Blend with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until well blended. Add additional milk or cream as needed to get the texture you like. Don’t overmix to avoid making the potatoes gummy.