It seems as though I’ve been hearing about mashed cauliflower for years, but I still come across people all the time for whom it’s a new concept. When you puree cauliflower, it has a similar taste and texture to mashed potatoes, especially if you add cream and butter. It’s fabulous even with just olive oil, salt and pepper, though, making it a great option whether you’re trying to avoid calories, carbs, or potatoes.

And, in case you were wondering why someone might choose to avoid potatoes, despite their reported high nutrition value, here are a few things to consider. Potatoes are at the top of the list when it comes to how many pesticides, fungicides, etc. are used in growing them, which means you should always buy organic, and that’s not always available. Potatoes are also a very high glycemic index food, which is a concern if you are watching your blood sugar level. And, lastly, potatoes are part of the nightshade family (also including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and tobacco) which has been linked to inflammation of the joints and there is some evidence that those suffering from arthritis might benefit from reducing or eliminating nightshades from their diet.

The recipe below does not include cream or butter, but you may, of course, add anything you like. I did include ghee, which is a form of clarified butter made traditionally in India, because it adds a nice rich flavor, and is reportedly full of health benefits, unlike plain butter.

Mashed Cauliflower

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

2          heads cauliflower, broken into florets
5          tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1          tablespoon ghee
2          large cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Steam cauliflower until tender – a fork should easily pierce it.
2. Blend cauliflower in food processor or high-powered blender till completely smooth.
3. Add remaining ingredients till desired flavor and texture is achieved.

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For a great dessert to go with this holiday side dish, check out Pumpkin Pie Cake.