We've taken an all-American favorite comfort food - mashed potatoes - and replaced the potatoes with cauliflower.

Not that mashed potatoes can't be part of a healthy diet if prepared with minimal added butter, but our Mashed Cauliflower is perfect for those looking for new ways to eat cauliflower, cut carbs and calories and enjoy a comfort food with a twist.

"Cauliflower is the new kale." So the headlines say.

For sure, more and more people are finding creative ways to eat more healthfully by including cauliflower. Some are grilling "cauliflower steaks" while eating smaller portions of beef steaks. And others are roasting cauliflower florets to draw out a deeper, richer, sweeter flavor instead of just typically steaming them.

Thought to have originated in Cyprus, this ancient vegetable was popular in Europe by the 1500s, but was not grown in the United States until the 1900s. Today, cauliflower is becoming more of a mainstay vegetable.

Cauliflower closely resembles broccoli in appearance, but is white due to the protective leaves that grow around its head. These leaves shield it from the sun, preventing the formation of chlorophyll. Although the white variety is the most popular type in U.S. supermarkets, it can be found in different colors, including purple.

Like its cruciferous cousins - cabbage, kale, and broccoli - cauliflower provides health-promoting compounds not found in other vegetables such as indoles, isoflavones and isothiocyanates, which seem to block cancer cell growth, repair DNA, inhibit inflammation and boost immune function.

More from our magazine:  Orange and Jicama Salad

Cauliflower is especially high in vitamins C, K and folate. One cup of cauliflower provides 25 calories, 0 fat, 0 cholesterol, 30mg sodium, 5g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 2g sugars, and 2g protein. It also provides a surprising 77% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C.

This simple recipe with mostly fresh ingredients allows you to make real food from whole foods while enjoying the qualities of comfort food.

The onions and garlic add depth to the flavor of this mash, but it is the almond milk that lends its mild, nutty flavor and creamy quality. Almond milk is made from ground almonds and is frequently used as a substitute for dairy milk or cream.

Mashed Cauliflower

Alias: Mock Mashed Potatoes

Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

Content Continues Below ⤵

  • 1 medium cauliflower
  • 4 green onions, sliced, including half green stems
  • 2-4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4-1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 4 tsp. extra virgin live oil, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped chives

Directions

  1. Place cauliflower, onions and garlic in steamer basket and steam for 10-12 minutes or until very tender.
  2. Place cooked cauliflower, onions and garlic in blender or food processer. Add 1/4 cup almond milk and 2 teaspoons olive oil. Blend until desired consistency. For creamier consistency add more milk in 1 tablespoon increments.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer to serving bowl.
  5. Drizzle with remaining oil and garnish with chives. Serve.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
87 calories
5 g total fat
Less than 1g saturated fat
10 g carbohydrate
3 g protein
4 g dietary fiber
61 mg sodium

For comparison, a cup of home-prepared mashed potatoes, made with whole milk & butter, would provide approximately 237 calories, 9 grams fat, 699mg sodium, 35g carbohydrate, 3g sugars and 4g protein.

Credits: Photographs by Heather Victoria Photography, AICR, Self