Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”

No one likes a fraud.  And I am not a big fan of something presented as what it is not. It’s a problem in the vegetarian world with meatless food made to look and taste as close to meat as possible. I mean why not just eat the real thing?! How does tofurkey even make sense? We tell our kids to be themselves and find friends who like them for who they are. So why, you say, is it any different for our friend cauliflower? Well, even though it would be great if cauliflower were as beloved as rice or the white potato, the truth is, cauliflower is like the wallflower at the prom who’s never asked to dance. White potatoes and rice are the ones who get invited to the fancy parties as part of elaborate dishes or weeknight dinners full of comfort foods. But when you are looking for something more nutrient dense and lower in carbohydrates, cauliflower is a great substitute for either of these two rivals.

This recipe for mashed cauliflower does resemble mashed potatoes in taste and texture. Just ask my finicky, mashed potato lovin’ 10 year old, Big Boy, who is a big fan of this recipe.  It is very quick and easy to prepare and can be made ahead and easily reheated. The recipe is also 100% paleo because it is dairy free which means it is also vegan. (Quite ironic considering my earlier comments)  And just to preempt the inevitable question, the coconut milk in the recipe does not impart a strong coconut flavor.

I utilized my pressure cooker but you can certainly steam the cauliflower florets and garlic or even boil them prior to putting them in the food processor.


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 cup of canned coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1 teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground or microplaned nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


Wash the cauliflower, remove leaves and bottom of stem and cut into large florets. Peel the garlic cloves.  Place the florets and garlic cloves in a steamer basket inside a pressure cooker with 1/3 cup of water. cauliflower in pressure cookerAttach lid and heat on high until brought to pressure. Cook the cauliflower and garlic at the highest pressure setting, according to manufacturer’s instructions, for three minutes. When the time is up use the fast release method (rinsing the pot in cold water) until the pressure is released and you can remove the lid.  Pick out the garlic cloves and set aside. Place the cooked cauliflower in a large food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. cauliflower in food processorPlace the cooked garlic cloves in a saucepan with the coconut milk, salt, nutmeg and pepper, bring to a simmer and cook for approximately 5 minutes so the garlic and spices infuse the liquid.  Use a fork to crush the softened garlic to aid in this process.  coconut milk and spicesAdd the spiced liquid (garlic and all) to the food processor and process until very smooth.

If you prefer a slightly more pronounced garlic flavor you can simply bypass the step of simmering it with the coconut milk and just add it to the food processor at the same time as the cauliflower.

Serves 6

This recipe goes especially well with dry rubbed paleo pork ribs!

mashed cauliflower paleo


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20 thoughts on “Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”

  1. I made this last night and it was awesome! I do primal, so I do eat dairy from pasture raised animals. Instead of milk, I use butter and whole milk from Milk Thistle Farm. Mashed cauliflower is amazing and tastes great, which is funny for such a wretched looking vegetable. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Thanks for the feedback. I’m glad you liked it. I eat some dairy too but figured I might as well try for a 100% paleo version for those who don’t. My next version will probably involve ghee just to see how that works. And yes, it is a wretched looking vegetable. And smells horrid if left too long in the garden….not that I would EVER be so irresponsible as that…. ;-)

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  4. I love this! It seems a bit thin for potatoes, but I still enjoyed it anyway. I used it on shepherd’s pie yesterday. It was so good! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for the feedback, Sarah. That’s the trouble with recipes based on the size of a vegetable. How much liquid it requires is dependent upon how big the head of cauliflower is that you use. Shepherd’s pie is one of my favorites. I look forward to making it with this recipe too.

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  7. I just made the recipe…and used too much liquid…but it was like creamed gravy! Served it with grilled Salmon and steamed Broccoli… we dipped the broccoli in it, and also ate it… just awesome!! It was probably my fault, but my family loved it!! Fabulous taste!

  8. my family loved the cauliflower mashed potatoes! New to paleo & eating vegetables, but loving it! How did I go my whole life without eating them?!

  9. I’m sure I did something wrong but they did not turn out well. I had to boil my cauliflower. Maybe I cooked it too long. Mine too were thin. I’m glad I tried it though.

    • Mickey, I think the problem may be with the boiling. If the cauliflower absorbs too much water the end product will be too runny. Better to steam the cauliflower if you can. Too bad.

  10. This was amazing! My boyfriend was very unsure of it when I mentioned it would be our side dish, but he ended up loving it (I had to fight him for left overs for lunches!!!). I steamed it for 10 minutes and only used 1/2 cup of coconut milk and a tablespoon of butter (couldn’t resist) and it was a nice texture. Thank you for introducing me to this!

    • Boyfriends and husbands are naturally suspicious of cauliflower – or at least that is my experience. I’m glad he was willing to give it a try and liked it! And who can resist butter… :-)

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