Saturday, April 9, 2016

Loaded Cauliflower Mash - Flavorful and healthy.

Mashing cauliflower is a favorite with dieters, replacing their mashed potatoes with this vegetable. But they don't actually have to be low calorie or flavor free. But if you follow my recipe below and leave out the high-fat ingredients, they will still be very flavorful and healthy.

Julian's Loaded Cauliflower Mash
I make several varieties of this and they are simple to make. I like them also as a make-ahead side that can be finished by popping them in the oven when I'm ready for them even several days later.

In the below recipe I give you my 'loaded' version, which simulates the stuffed loaded twice-baked potato. But you really can substitute to your taste and dietary preferences. I've marked the optional items. Whatever you choose to add, the basic technique and ingredients are the same.

The key ingredients: cauliflower, onion and garlic
Ingredients (4-6 servings)

1 large head cauliflower
4 slices bacon (optional)
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 small onion or shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
2 tablespoons milk, cream/buttermilk (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives or green onions
1/4 cup low-fat shredded shredded cheese

Instructions

Fill a large pot with water and add a pinch of salt. Set the pot over high heat and let it come to a boil. While the water heats, cut the cauliflower into florets removing and discarding the core. When the water is at a rolling boil, add the cauliflower and cook until tender, about 10-20 minutes.

With optional bacon: In a skillet, fry the bacon until crisp; set aside on a paper towels to drain. Chop into pieces. Drain the oil from the skillet reserving one tablespoon. Wipe any burned bits from the skillet, return the tablespoon of bacon drippings and heat over medium heat.

Saute the chopped onion and garlic either in the above bacon drippings or a tablespoon of olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Drain, and return to the pot.

When the cauliflower is tender, drain completely straining away as much water as possible reserving a 1/4 cup of the liquid. Return the cauliflower to the warm pot and place back on the cooking burner that is turned off. Stir or toss to remove excess moisture, then add the sauteed onion and garlic.

Stick blender to puree the ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

Mash in the pot using a stick blender, an electric mixer or a hand potato masher. I prefer the stick blender as it processes the cauliflower, onion and garlic more finely, but any option will work. Once you've mashed the ingredients, add butter, milk, cream, buttermilk or some of the reserved cooking liquid, depending on your supply, taste and diet. Add only enough to reach a mashed potato consistency, stirring in a little at a time. You can add a couple tablespoons of shredded cheese, a teaspoon of fresh chopped chives or green onions if you are so inclined for additional flavor. Blend together with a spoon.

Transfer to 4-6 individual casseroles or one larger casserole dish and top with cheese and crumbled bacon. Bake in the oven until the cheese melts and the dish is heated through. If freshly made this takes only about 5 minutes. If previously refrigerated baking takes longer to heat through, approximately 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and top with remaining chives or green onion tops and serve hot.


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