Garlic Herb Mashed Cauliflower

$3.01 recipe / $0.75 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
5 from 5 votes
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You can never have too many easy side dish recipes in your back pocket, which is why I’ve been playing around a little with mashed cauliflower. Mashed cauliflower kind of exploded onto the scene as a mashed potato alternative with the rise of keto diets, I think there’s so much more to like about it than its carb count. It’s easy, flexible, you can flavor it with just about anything, and it makes a great side to just about any meal. I like this Garlic Herb Mashed Cauliflower for what it is, not for what it’s pretending to be.

Mashed cauliflower in a bowl with a spoon and a pat of melted butter in the middle

What Does Mashed Cauliflower Taste Like?

Well, it doesn’t taste like mashed potatoes, if you ask me. Ha! Cauliflower does have a fairly neutral flavor that allows a lot of different herbs and seasonings to be added without clashing, but it still tastes like cauliflower. The flavor is light, but it still has that cruciferous aroma. …If you know what I mean.

The texture is also different than mashed potatoes. I find mashed cauliflower to be lighter and thinner, if you will. For that reason, I think it’s really important to add a decent amount of fat to your mashed cauliflower to give it body and weight, something to kind of coat your taste buds and make it feel substantial.

What Can You Add to Mashed Cauliflower?

I used a very flavorful garlic herb seasoning blend to flavor my mashed cauliflower, but you could also play around with things like Cajun seasoning, Everything Bagel Seasoning, ranch seasoning, BBQ seasoning, Montreal steak seasoning… or just about anything else.

As I mentioned above, its really important to add a good amount of fat to your mashed cauliflower so they don’t taste too thin or watery. I used cream cheese because it’s extra thick and helps thicken up the consistency even more. You can also try sour cream, Parmesan cheese, or cheddar cheese.

Can I Use Frozen Cauliflower?

Yes, this works really great with frozen cauliflower. Using frozen cauliflower has an extra advantage because it’s already chopped and partially cooked for you, so making mashed cauliflower will be even faster. And even better yet, you can keep that frozen cauliflower on hand and make mashed cauliflower whenever you want, without the risk of it going bad in the back of your fridge. ;)

To use frozen cauliflower, just boil the florets according to the package directions, or until they are very tender, then proceed with the recipe as written below after the boiling step.

Do I Have to Use a Food Processor?

Nope! I do find that the food processor gives the creamiest, fluffiest results, but an immersion blender also works well. You can use a manual potato masher if that’s all that you have available, but the results might not be quite as smooth because cauliflower is a little more fibrous.

A spoonful of mashed cauliflower held close to the camera, the bowl in the back.
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Garlic Herb mashed Cauliflower

5 from 5 votes
Garlic Herb Mashed Cauliflower is an easy, creamy, flavorful side dish to pair with any of your favorite main dish recipes.
Garlic Herb Mashed Cauliflower in a bowl with a spoon and melted butter
Servings 4 ¾ cup each
Prep 15 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 25 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower ($2.39)
  • 2 Tbsp butter ($0.14)
  • 2 oz. cream cheese ($0.20)

Garlic Herb Seasoning

  • 1 tsp dried parsley ($0.10)
  • ½ tsp dried oregano ($0.05)
  • ½ tsp dried basil ($0.05)
  • ¼ tsp onion powder ($0.02)
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
  • ½ tsp salt ($0.02)
  • tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.02)

Instructions 

  • Remove the stem and leaves from the cauliflower and cut it into florets (the smaller the florets, the faster they'll cook).
  • Add the cauliflower florets to a large pot and cover with water. Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat on to high. Bring the pot up to a boil, then continue to boil the cauliflower florets until they are VERY tender (about 10 minutes, test by piercing with a fork). Drain the cooked cauliflower in a colander.
  • While the cauliflower is boiling, prepare the garlic herb seasoning. Combine the dried parsley, dried oregano, dried basil, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  • Add the cooked and drained cauliflower to a food processor. Pulse the cauliflower until the florets are broken up into tiny pieces. Then add the butter, cream cheese, and garlic herb seasoning. Purée until the mixture smooth. Taste and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking.

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Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cupCalories: 155.65kcalCarbohydrates: 11.78gProtein: 5.1gFat: 11.23gSodium: 479.13mgFiber: 4.45g
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A bowl full of garlic herb mashed cauliflower with a pat of butter in the center

How to Make Garlic Herb Mashed Cauliflower – Step by Step Photos

Cauliflower florets in a pot of water

Remove the leaves and stem from the cauliflower and then cut it into florets. Add the florets to a large pot and cover with water. Place a lid on top, then bring it to a boil. Boil the cauliflower florets until they are VERY tender (about 10 minutes, test by piercing with a fork). Drain the cauliflower in a colander.

Garlic herb seasoning in a bowl

While the cauliflower is boiling, prepare the garlic herb seasoning. Combine 1 tsp dried parsley, ½ tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp dried basil, ¼ tsp onion powder, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp salt, and ⅛ tsp pepper.

Cooked cauliflower in a food processor

After the cauliflower has cooked and drained, add it to a food processor. Give it a few pulses to break the florets up into tiny pieces.

Seasoning added to food processor with the cauliflower

Next add 2 Tbsp butter, 2 oz. cream cheese, and the garlic herb seasoning.

Finished garlic herb mashed cauliflower in the food processor

Process until the cauliflower is smooth. Give it a taste and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking.

Garlic Herb Mashed Cauliflower in a bowl with a spoon and melted butter

Easy peasy!

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Comments

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  1. I used one full bag of PC frozen broccoli and cauliflower florets because it was what I had on hand, and as I’m vegan, swapped the 2 tbsp butter for 1 tbsp vegan Becel and the 2 oz cream cheese for 2 tbsp herb and garlic soft cashew cheese.

    This was so fluffy, creamy, and rich. Last Christmas, I spent an hour peeling damn potatoes, nearly took my arm off mashing them, and used two whole sticks of vegan butter, and they weren’t nearly as delicious. This took all of ten minutes to make, I’m definitely using this recipe for the next holiday!

    Thank you!

  2. I make mashed cauliflower a few times per month. Rather than butter/cream cheese, I like to plain greek yogurt. I also like to add the cauliflower back to the warm pot after draining to steam away any extra water before blending.

  3. Delicious!  Cauliflower is not our favorite vegetable, but my family enjoyed this side dish with the bratwurst with peppers and onions.

  4. I have just made this and it is so delicious! It is almost all gone. Thank you for posting this recipe!

  5. This looks great! If using frozen cauliflower, can you estimate about how much to use, to equal one head of cauliflower? Google says “3-4 cups,” but I wanted to get your opinion to match the ratio with the herbs/fat Etc. Thank you!!

    1. I just made this with one standard size bag of PC frozen broccoli and cauliflower florets and it worked great. Light, fluffy, creamy, flavourful.

      I only used 1 tbsp of vegan Becel and 2 tbsp of herb and garlic cashew cream cheese and it was still very creamy and rich.

  6. We love mashed cauliflower and I love the idea of all the herbs. I am definitely going to try this.
    I used to make it with a food processor, but have found I like the texture better when I use a potato ricer. I drain the cauliflower and put it through the ricer as I add it back to the pan. Sometimes then I will turn the heat back on to further evaporate the excess liquid.

    Love your site and have used many of your recipes in my FACS class!

  7. This looks amazing and I plan to make it soon! To clarify, the spices that are mixed together …. you put the entire amount into the recipe? Thanks for another great recipe for my rotation!

    1. Yep! Everything listed in the recipe card goes into the mashed cauliflower. :)

  8. Haven’t made it yet, but I’m giving it 5 stars because I can tell that it’s going to be delish. Here’s a tip: I steam my cauli in the microwave until tender. For mash, I like the texture better than boiling.

  9. Wonderful! My toddler even are it. I used my hand blender instead of a food processor. It was honestly easier than mashed potatoes.

  10. I make mashed cauliflower a few times per month. Rather than butter/cream cheese, I like to plain greek yogurt. I also like to add the cauliflower back to the warm pot after draining to steam away any extra water before blending.

    1. Yes, but it probably won’t be as smooth and you’ll want to make sure the cauliflower is cooked to the point of being super tender. An immersion blender works even better, if you have one. :)