Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Let’s get one thing straight: this would never replace mashed potatoes.

It’s not as plush.  It’s not as filling. It’s also not as big on calories.

This is NOT going to be a magical replacement for mashed potatoes.

But what it’s going to be is a side dish filled with lots of sweet roasted garlic flavor, the almost heady scent of rosemary, and the tangy creaminess of Greek yogurt. Plus just a little bit of full fat from butter and sour cream. Just a little bit, just enough to make you think that you’re indulging, when really, you’re filling up on a vegetable filled with antixodants, vitamins, minerals, and cancer-fighting properties.

It just happens to look like mashed potatoes.

I remember the first time I tried mashed cauliflower. I was with my mom, and we both marveled at the concept: the cauliflower, so often ignored, when mashed and dressed up like a potato, transforms from boring into fantastic. It was called smashed cauliflower and it was just steamed cauliflower florets dressed with garlic and parmesan cheese. When I see the words “dressed” and “parmesan cheese” in a dish description, I think it’s the restaurant’s way of making the simple sound fancy, hoping the customer’s interest and taste buds get piqued. It worked, and my mom and I enjoyed the low-carb side. The restaurant was Uno Chicago Grill.

Who says you can’t find gems in restaurant chains? Unfortunately Unos have since taken the smashed cauliflower off their menu. (Side note: if you want to find the best cauliflower dishes in Boston, MA and Austin, TX – check out Tasted Menu, a restaurant and dish review site and mobile app. I am pretty obsessed with it!)

But anyhow, I found a recipe on The Food Network and decided to roast the garlic first before smashing it in with the cauliflower. (Anyone else think of Rachael Ray when you hear the words smashed potatoes?) I love the flavor of roasted garlic, and I know it goes well with cauliflower. It does take extra time, but trust me, it is worth it.

I drizzled the garlic bulb with olive oil and topped with salt, pepper, and rosemary.  After roasting in the oven for 40 minutes, each garlic clove becomes a soft, toasty, spreadable morsel.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower


1 whole garlic bulb
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium head cauliflower, cored and broken into small pieces (about five cups)
3 tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 sprig rosemary
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Roast the garlic first. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Using a knife, cut off 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic. Place garlic bulb in the middle of a square aluminium foil sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the garlic head, then sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and  a little bit of fresh rosemary. Fold the aluminum foil over the top to make a tent, then bake for 40 minutes. Take garlic head from the oven and open up the foil packet to let it begin to cool.
  3. Now make the cauliflower. Set a stockpot of water to boil over high heat and cook the cauliflower in boiling water for about 6 minutes, or until well done. Drain well, and dry the cooked cauliflower between several layers of paper towels. Return cauliflower to pot, and mash with a fork or a potato masher (if you want a smoother consistency, you can use an immersion blender). Turn the heat on low, and add the remaining ingdredients (I chopped up the remaining rosemary finely before adding to the cauliflower mixture), mixing well for a couple of minutes.
  4. Top with freshly ground black pepper and serve warm.

This recipe generously serves four as a side dish. Or one person for many nights while watching reruns of True Blood. What?

Next time I will play around with different flavors, maybe blue cheese and buffalo sauce, or I’ll even try adding in broccoli and cheddar. I really like the chunky texture and the roasted garlic adds a great dimension of flavor.

Mashed cauliflower will never replace mashed potatoes for me, just like how soy bacon or turkey bacon will never replace real bacon, or how crispy asparagus or green bean fries will never replace real french fries. But that doesn’t mean that these aren’t wonderful in their own ways.

This is just a healthier alternative, and a really good one at that.


26 Responses to “Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower”

  1. #
    Claire @ Live and Love to Eat posted April 11, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I blogged about making a recipe similar to this for my husband’s birthday – he said, “What’s wrong with these mashed potatoes? They taste good, but they’re not normal.” Psh!

  2. #
    Meghan posted April 11, 2012 at 8:22 am

    I love mashed cauliflower. It’s fun to have a different way to eat this very healthy veggie!

  3. #
    Erica @ In and Around Town posted April 11, 2012 at 9:24 am

    This dish is a great substitute for mashed potatoes (thank you for saying they would not replace mashed potatoes I always wonder if I am missing something) but definitely the mashed cauliflower gives you a healthy version to play with and enjoy :)

  4. #
    Amy posted April 11, 2012 at 10:19 am

    I love mashed cauliflower! I made it once for my boyfriend and his younger brother. His younger brother is not a big veggie fan at all, but really enjoyed these! I knew then they were a hit! :) I haven’t made them in a while, had kind of forgotten about them, but I am thinking I need to do those soon!

  5. #
    Emily @ A Cambridge Story posted April 11, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Ha, it’s true – mashed cauliflower is no mashed potato replacement — but it is REALLY good (especially when you go half and half!) I love all the roasted garlic in here! Beautiful photos too!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted April 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm

      Going half and half is an awesome idea!!

  6. #
    Sacha posted April 11, 2012 at 11:50 am

    I definitely need to start adding roasted garlic to my mashed cauliflower! I’m a big fan of cauliflower, and I don’t think it is ever given enough love.

  7. #
    Mal @ The Chic Geek posted April 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    I love mashed cauliflower! I never thought of adding garlic, and I have no idea why, because this sounds sensational

  8. #
    Erin @ A Nesting Experience posted April 11, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Yum. This sounds great. I love roasted garlic. I bet it brings the flavor of cauliflower to a whole new level. Great idea!

  9. #
    cassie posted April 11, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    I love mashed potatoes and I even more love roasted garlic. I’m convinced that these are my new favorite veggie. Love this! So glad you stopped by my blog, yours is gorgeous!

  10. #
    Daisy posted April 11, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    i really really need to make this. a bowl to the face watching your favorite tv show sounds like perfection.

  11. #
    Megan posted April 11, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Looks just like mashed potatoes… but I think I would like this even better!!

  12. #
    honeywhatscooking posted April 11, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    i can’t remember where I ate cauliflower mashed potatoes… these look delicious. sucha healthy alternative to the regular mashed potatoes. nice!

  13. #
    Michelle posted April 12, 2012 at 9:20 am

    I love mashed cauliflower and make it regularly when I’m trying to cut down on carbs. I actually really love adding Laughing Cow blue cheese wedges (instead of real blue cheese crumbles) because the flavor is a lot more subtle.

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted April 12, 2012 at 9:21 am

      Ohhh I love laughing cow! That’s a great idea, thanks for sharing!

  14. #
    Colleen @ Culinary Colleen posted April 12, 2012 at 9:58 am

    I agree that cauliflower can’t replace the potato (I’ll never give up on carbs), but this dish sounds good in it’s own way! The roasted garlic and greek yogurt sound like great additions.

  15. #
    MelissaNibbles posted April 12, 2012 at 11:07 am

    I’m a big fan of mashed cauliflower. I like throwing in a few Laughing Cow cheese wedges to make them cheesy!

  16. #
    Mary posted April 12, 2012 at 11:23 am

    The key to making cauliflower successfully in my house, is to avoid thinking of it or talking about it as a substitute for anything else. Letting it stand alone? That works every time. This is a great combination of flavors.

  17. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking posted April 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    I don’t cook with cauliflower much, but I made a soup from it recently and have since been searching for more recipes containing it. This looks so delicious, Bianca! I’ll definitely give it a try soon!

  18. #
    Lisa (bakebikeblog) posted April 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    love the addition of roasted garlic!

  19. #
    Elizabeth posted April 12, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    I’m honestly not the biggest mashed potato fan, but I would LOVE this.

  20. #
    Catalina @ Cake with Love posted April 14, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Like the idea of mashed cauliflower, the garlic and the rosemary are a very nice touch!

  21. #
    Taryn posted April 16, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    I adore mashed cauliflower! We have it all the time, but I’ve never made it with roasted garlic. Great idea!

  22. #
    Erica posted April 17, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    I love mashed cauliflower and I really like addition of roasted garlic! Great blog!


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