I think I have convinced my family that the four of us would be better off removing as much wheat and gluten as possible from our daily meals, and that we additionally benefit by adding more vegetables instead. Agreeing on a rational and reasoned level is one thing, but putting it into practice is another ballgame altogether.
We are still in the pretty early phases of cleaning up our diet, maybe further along than some, but not as far along as others, but some options clearly won’t get eaten if placed upon the dinner table. Like Brussels sprouts. Or cooked cabbage. Or liver.
So I have to pick my battles well, and find ways to serve up vegetables that meet my criteria, but still are palatable enough to be eaten by two high schoolers. Which is why I went looking for a recipe for mashed cauliflower with butter, to which I sometimes add just a little horseradish or goat cheese, because I am crazy like that.
I find cauliflower, as traditionally prepared, to be fairly plain and not very exciting. When served having been boiled or steamed, I politely took two or three florets, choked them down, and called it a day.
But after reading about a few of the many benefits of eating cauliflower, I think it’s time to make it more frequently, and definitely a bit tastier than simply boiling it. According to several different sources, cauliflower contains compounds that fight cancer, boosts heart health, is full of mineral and vitamins and is anti-inflammatory, all good news!
Cauliflower also has a pretty high ORAC score, higher even than raw carrots, which is a snack most parents would be thrilled if their kids ate on a regular basis. An ORAC score is a measurement of the level of anti-oxidants, with the higher scores being preferred. Raw carrots measure up at almost 700, and raw cauliflower comes in at 870. But that’s white cauliflower, if you can find the green or purple varieties, their ORAC scores are much higher when cooked, with purple cauliflower scoring above 2,000!
But just remember to keep everything in perspective, all sorts of fruits and berries have much higher scores, and chocolate is way up there, but a diet based upon fruit and chocolate won’t end well in the long run!
Having decided to cook, and then mash the cauliflower, to better approximate mashed potatoes, I had to figure out how to best cook my vegetables. Jo Robinson has a wonderful book out, Eating On The Wild Side, that goes through all sorts of fruits and vegetables and lets you know their history, which ones are the best for your health, and how best to prepare each variety.
According to Robinson, boiling the cauliflower reduces its anti-oxidant value and its ability to fight cancer. But steaming seems to work just fine, so that is the route I decided to go.
Now to add a fat, because every vegetable needs a fat to go with it. Not just for taste, but to make sure that our bodies can properly absorb the nutrients in the vegetables as most vitamins are fat soluble and will simply pass through our systems if we don’t eat some good fats along with them. So that’s easy, butter from grass fed cows should do the trick. And probably a lot of it.
The first time I tried mashed cauliflower, my version was much too plain and boring. Which is why I have upped the salt and pepper from my first attempt, and in some cases add in some goat cheese. However, for the sake of this recipe, I simply included the bare minimum of ingredients, without any additions.
Mashed cauliflower seems to be a wonderful canvas to which you can add all sorts of ingredients. Maybe some garlic, some fresh herbs or all sorts of spices seem to be wonderful choices when making this recipe for mashed cauliflower. But whatever you add, I’m sure you’ll find that this recipe is super easy, and a sure fire way to add more vegetables to any meal.
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Remove the core from the cauliflower head, and cut the florets off and rinse
- Steam the florets until fork tender
- Place all ingredients in a food processor or high powered blender like a Vitamix
- Blend to your desired consistency
- This will likely be a bit runnier than most mashed potato recipes, so if you want a chunkier mashed cauliflower recipe, hold back some of the steamed florets, and add them at the very end of your blending, and just pulse a few times to provide a few chunky pieces to contrast with the very smooth cauliflower that has already been blended or pureed.
Of course, I can’t argue if you want to add another tablespoon or two of butter, but make sure you account for it by adding to the values below!