Garlic Brown Butter Mashed Cauliflower
Garlic Brown Butter Mashed Cauliflower is a delicious alternative to mashed potatoes. The cauliflower is roasted then pureed and blended with garlicky brown butter. It's a healthy and delicious side dish perfect for your Thanksgiving table.
Cauliflower is at it again! It's back to its old ways of impersonating things that it's not. This time it's mashed to look (and act) like mashed potatoes.
I know it might seem a little early to start handing out turkey dinner side dishes, but this weekend is Thanksgiving for us Canadians. I guess we get a little excited about all the fall harvest and jump the gun in celebrating it. This mashed cauliflower would be as good next to pan-fried chicken as it is on a holiday table.
The cauliflower is roasted until tender and then ‘mashed' using your food processor or blender. Then the magic happens. Once it's mashed you pour in your garlicky brown butter. AKA: Liquid Gold.
Sidebar → Are you as happy as I am that we (finally!) came to our senses and realized that saturated fats are not evil? I'm so thankful we got over that whole fat-free/ flavor free era. It still makes me sad to think about all the butter I missed out on. That's ok, I'm doing my best with recipes like this one to make up for the lost time.
Bring on the brown butter!
READ MORE: How to make cauliflower rice
Do you see that gorgeous, brown speckled butter river up there? That makes my heart happy. It dawned on me the other day that hardly any of the recipes on the blog have butter in them. It's strange as we go through an almost embarrassing amount of butter at home.
Most mornings, I'll let the butter brown in the frying pan before pouring in well-whipped eggs to make us breakfast. Often in the evenings, I'll toast chopped nuts or pumpkin seeds in brown butter before pouring them into our dinner salad. Butter is what we do.
It only made sense to make to stir it into and spoon it over top of mashed cauliflower.
While I've made mashed cauliflower a few times, I've never really thought about how to make it the best way possible. I used to steam it until soft then run it through the food processor. The thing is, doing it that way gives you mashed cauliflower that is runny and thin. It's fine, but I didn't feel it was a recipe worth sharing.
The problem is that cauliflower has a huge amount of water in it. That's why a whole head can shrivel up to only a handful after spending a half hour in your oven. Steaming the cauliflower only adds more water. More water = runny mashed cauliflower. This is not what we want.
To help the cauliflower mimic mashed potatoes as best it can, we need to remove as much water as possible. My first attempt I squeezed out the water by wringing the cauliflower out between sheets of paper towel. Warning: please don't ever attempt to do that. I went through a half roll of paper towels and made a giant mess of my kitchen.
Back to the drawing board I went, and I came up with a solution that works much better. Can you guess what it is?
Roasting the cauliflower.
Yep, that's right. By roasting the cauliflower in gentle heat (so we don't brown it) we can remove much of the moisture so it will mash like potatoes.
To mash the cauliflower, I decided to use my Vitamix. It's a wizard at making things creamy and delicious. It turned this brown butter mashed cauliflower into a dreamy, heavenly pillow. If you don't have a high-powered blender, your food processor will do a great job.
Full disclosure … mashed cauliflower doesn't taste like mashed potatoes. Not this recipe. Not any recipe. The thing with cauliflower is, it tastes like cauliflower. Gasp!
Sometimes, like with this Creamy Cauliflower Hummus, we're able to mask the cauliflower taste behind big, bold flavors. Brown butter, as delicious as it is, has a gentle flavor. It's not strong enough to cover the cauliflower taste.
For me, it's not a problem. I love cauliflower! But I need you to know that you will taste it. Honesty is key, my friends!
If you're a cauliflower lover like me, dig in! I know you'll love this recipe. 🙂
Garlic Brown Butter Mashed Cauliflower
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- 2 large heads of cauliflower, chopped into large pieces
- ⅓ cup butter
- 2 cloves garlic, grated with a Microplane or very finely minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- Sea salt, to taste
- Set your oven to 325 degrees. Place the chopped cauliflower on a baking sheet and pop it into your oven. No need to wait for the oven to preheat. Let the cauliflower roast for about a half hour, turning once, until it is soft and barely starting to brown.2 large heads of cauliflower
- While the cauliflower is roasting, make the garlic brown butter. Place the butter in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Let it melt then reduce the heat to medium and keep it on the heat, without stirring it, for about 5 minutes. The butter will froth then settle down. Once you start seeing a few brown specks on the froth you can stir it to see how brown it is. You want quite a few specks of brown. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the garlic and thyme. The residual heat from the butter will cook the garlic.⅓ cup butter, 2 cloves garlic, 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- When the cauliflower is soft, remove it from the oven and transfer it to your food processor or high-powered blender. Blend until smooth, stopping to push the cauliflower down as needed. Add the brown butter and blend again. Salt to taste. (Note: just like with regular mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower also needs a good amount of salt.)