The Best Mashed Cauliflower

Yes, I know I’m not the inventress of cauliflower “mashed potatoes,” or even one of the first people to reinvent this nearly calorie-less comfort food, for that matter. However, I can safely say that my rendition of this totally legit dish might just be the best one.

I have dramatically improved upon the mashed cauliflower I made for Thanksgiving, and will now proceed to impart said miracle to you all.

Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”
Serves 4

2 medium-sized heads of cauliflower, washed and chopped into florets
1-2 tablespoons melted coconut oil*
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh black pepper to taste
Herbs to taste (I like rosemary and thyme)

*Note: I say go for two tablespoons of coconut oil – it’s practically the only calories in the whole dish, and coconut oil is comprised of medium-chain fatty acids that your body metabolizes instead of storing as fat. Of course,  you can also use another fat like Earth Balance or olive oil if you prefer, but I’ve found that coconut oil gives these “potatoes” the buttery, crave-worthy flavor that sets my recipe apart from all other iterations.

Steam the cauliflower florets until very tender (I’m talking almost-dissolve-at-your-touch tender…). Puree cauliflower in a food processor or high-speed blender until smooth, occasionally scraping down the sides. Add in coconut oil, nutritional yeast, sea salt, pepper, and optional herbs. Continue pureeing until desired consistency is achieved (a couple minutes). Add any additional salt and pepper to taste.

A food processor is probably the best option for this recipe, as most blenders will have trouble pureeing the cauliflower without additional water (not the end of the world – I sometimes add a couple tablespoons of water to assist in blending anyway – but you shouldn’t have to do so). If you have a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix, which I used for the batch pictured, it works great, and results in an almost unreal silky-smooth texture. I like it both ways, so experiment!

Post-pureeing, you can also pour the cauliflower  into a casserole dish and stick it in a 350° oven for 20 minutes, or until golden-brown on top. Not only does the cauliflower develop a nice, crispy top to play off the velvety texture, but it looks pretty to boot! If you’re not serving it immediately after preparing, you’re going to have to reheat it anyways, so what have you got to lose?

Let it be known: I have nothing against the humble potato. Potatoes are rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, and copper among other things, and, prepared healthfully, they’re relatively low in calories. Sometimes though, you just want to eat a giant bowl of “mashed potatoes,” or a similar comfort food, without feeling like a bloated toad, and this recipe is perfect for that. :)

As good as cauliflower “mashed potatoes” are, everything in moderation! I made them a little too often while perfecting my recipe, and now need a break. I suppose you guys will just have to eat extra on my behalf for a while!


54 responses to “The Best Mashed Cauliflower

  1. This does look heavenly, especially the baked version. I love cauliflower mashed potatoes and I’ll give your coconut oil version a try. I used to make this dish with a mix of cooked millet and cauliflower, which was very delicious, and if you ever recover from your cauliflower overdose, you might want to try it! :D

  2. Yum! I love using coconut oil in recipes .. it really does lend a nice flavor

  3. I saw your mashed cauliflower on tastespotting and immediately came to check it. It looks so good. We love cauliflower and always looking for new recipes. Thanks for sharing.
    Hope you’ll have a wonderful week

  4. this looks so good and simple too, it is a must after all the holiday foods I’ve consumed! Thanks for the recipe. Oh, what kind of nutritional yeast and does it make a difference in the flavor?

  5. Oh boy! I’m a huge fan of cauliflower, but not one of potatoes (other than those of the sweet variety—yum!) so this recipe is a dream come true. I love the idea of baking the mashed cauliflower as it looks as though it gives them quite a nice crust. I will definitely be trying this soon!

    Have a lovely day!

    P.S. You mentioned the health benefits of medium chain fatty acids in coconut, and I would be very interested in knowing more. I also believe that coconut’s fatty acids are beneficial, but would like to hear your reasoning. Do you think the saturated fatty acids should be regarded as unsaturated when figuring out moderation in saturated fat? Thanks!

  6. I love mashed potatoes, but this could be a nice change once in a while!

  7. wow, sinfully healthy!!! thanks!

  8. I make mashed cauliflower all the time, love it, but it never looks as good as yours. I will try your method for fluffy mashed cauliflower and will definitely pop it in the oven for the golden brown top. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Aww…coconut oil. Excellent choice.

  10. Thank you sooo much! I’m going to be making this with my lunch today :D

  11. Wow I can’t believe the cauliflower got so creamy! I’ll definitely try this out.

  12. Definitely going to find a place for this at our book club meeting dinner tomorrow night! Sounds great!

  13. Cauliflower is one of the very few ingredients that I don’t like. But I’d try this one in a heartbeat. I’ll print this for my mom so she can start experimenting.


  14. I’m bookmarking this recipe. It looks wicked.

  15. I’ve really been meaning to try the mashed cauliflower idea. This is a good reminder to pick up some cauliflower at the store and give it a go!

  16. These look amazing! thanks for the recipe…I’ll be making these tonight!

  17. Coconut oil? Nooch? I am so there! This looks delectable!

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  19. For some odd reason, I’ve never made mashed cauliflower. Thanks for the inspiration. I will be putting this on my list straight away :)

  20. I’m currently eating this, and it is beyond amazing!
    Thank you so much for sharing the recipe!
    It’s delicious with lemon pepper.


  21. Made it. Love it. I’ve been thinking about making making mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes forever. Now I wonder what the hold up was. YUM!

  22. I’m so glad I came across your recipe. I’ve got kidney failure and they’ve told me I have to stay away from potatoes which is hard because mashed potatoes are one of my favorite things in the world.

    I will try this out for sure. Even though I’m told I have to get lots and lots of protein, I really am thinking of making the leap to veganism after reading some vegan recipes on Tastespotting and listening to Citizen Radio.

  23. Just so you know, I’ve been making this cauliflower nearly every day for the past couple of weeks. I’ve gone through a lot of bags of frozen organic cauliflower making it! Thank you so much, it is so easy and absolutely delicious! Your mashed cauli is wonderful alongside Sunshine Burgers and Snobby Joes, and anything else really. =)

    • Thanks, girl, I’m so glad you and everyone else are enjoying it so much. I just had it for the first time since writing this post last night with sauteed kale and mushrooms and maple roasted baby carrots (both from Appetite for Reduction) and that was a great combination too.

  24. P.S. I’ve been making it with Artisana coconut butter since I don’t have the oil – it works great!

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  27. I just bought some Red Star Nutritional Yeast today because my new-ish vegetarian lifestyle has left me lacking in the nutrient department. This looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it! Thanks!

  28. I’m making this right now, but I’m already positive that I’m going to love it, so I’ll just tell you ahead of time. Thank you this this recipe! I usually puree cauliflower with olive oil, but this is a little different with the coconut oil, nooch, and herbs.

  29. I am soooo going to try this at home! Thanks :)

  30. This was actually pretty gross…

  31. I would love to make this TONIGHT for company but I have no idea what nutritional yeast is, can you buy it at a regular grocery store or use anything else in it’s place? Please get back to me as soon as you can so I can get the stuff for tonight.


    • Hi Stephanie! Sorry, I just saw this! Nutritional yeast can be found in health food stores, such as Whole Foods and Sprouts. There’s not really a good substitute for it, but the recipe will still taste great even if you leave it out! Hope everything worked out for you. :)

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  34. Can we make this without the nutritional yeast? It’s pretty pricey.

  35. This recipe was incredible! I mean, absolutely phenomenal! When I would make regular mashed potatoes, I always added a dollup of Hellman’s Mayo, and I did the same to the cauliflower, and it was out of this world. I just can’t compliment this enough!

  36. I just made these today. Thanks for the recipe! They were delicious. I used them as a topping for shepherd’s pie. YUM.

  37. This recipe is awesome! I added a little bit of garlic. Then added Parmesan cheese on top the last 10 minutes during baking. It turned out great! Thanks for sharing and I now prefer this over mashed potatoes :)

  38. Sorry, but I need to take issue with the over-cooking and then over cooking again by backing this recipe. Whatever nutrition there may be in this delightful vegetable (and it’s one of my favs) is moot point – by the time you finish this recipe, it’s a dead food from over cooking.

    I make mashed “potoatoe” cauliflower frequently by steaming the cauliflower until slightly soft, blending it with a bit of the water it cooked in, season it with raw butter or coconut oil, himalayan salt, fresh ground pepper, and a few herbs that suits my mood of the moment. Done. Still living enzymes are there to support me body and the flavor to tantilize me tongue.

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