It is that time of year again, filled with family, fun, and yes – FOOD! The holiday season is a great time to make an effort to see family, visit friends, and celebrate togetherness, but it can also be a time of excess. If you are looking for a healthy dish to add to your holiday meal, potluck, or simply everyday dinners, these garlicky, golden mashed “potatoes” are a light and nutritious option that will be sure to turn heads and have your friends and family coming back for seconds.
If you have never tried cauliflower mashed potatoes before, I think you will be pleasantly surprised with how equally delicious they can be, especially when they are done right! This recipe is mostly made from steamed cauliflower, although I decided to add in a small amount of regular potato to make them a bit more smooth and creamy, without adding in too much starchy, calorie-rich heaviness. They are spiced just enough to add in a delicious flavor without being over-powering. The turmeric adds in a touch of flavor, a wealth of healing properties, and excitingly makes for a beautifully golden finish. The garlic is an essential addition (except for Pitta types – sorry!) for enlivening the flavor and really makes this dish come together.
So why cauliflower? Well for starters this nutrient rich veggie is very low in calories, making this recipe a great option during weight loss programs (please follow the Kapha modifications listed below the recipe) or simply for maintaining a healthy weight. Cauliflower is high in vitamins C, B, and K, along with colon healthy fiber and anti-aging, cancer-preventing antioxidants. Because of the high fiber and well-steamed nature of the vegetables, this recipe is excellent for promoting healthy elimination and alleviating constipation. Eating meals with ghee and digestive-enhancing spices such as cumin and turmeric boosts the digestion, alleviates gas and bloating, and allows for better absorption of nutrients. Hooray!
Garlicky Golden Cauliflower Mashed Potato Recipe
*Make this dish more Vata or Pitta reducing with the doshic variations listed below.
- Medium size sauce pan with lid
- Small frying pan
- Knife and cutting board
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Hand blender (use a food processor or standard blender if needed)
- 6 cups chopped cauliflower
- 1 cup chopped Yukon gold potato (or potato of choice)*
- 1 cup turkey, chicken, bone, or veggie broth (salt-free and homemade is best!)
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons ghee, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, whole
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Small to large pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Chopped scallions, for garnish
*If a potato-free dish is preferred, replace the potato with an equal amount of chopped parsnip or chopped cauliflower.
1. Chop the cauliflower and potato into fairly even, bite size cubes.
2. Add the broth of choice along with the chopped cauliflower and potatoes to a medium sized sauce pan. Cover and boil for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the veggies are completely soft and well-steamed all of the way through. Stir every 5 minutes.
3. While the veggies are steaming, heat 1 tablespoon of ghee in a small frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, add in the chopped garlic, black pepper, and cumin seeds. Sauté over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Take the frying pan off of the heat and add in the turmeric powder (or Agni Churna) and cayenne pepper (if using). Stir well and then set aside until needed.
5. Once the cauliflower and potatoes are well steamed, take the pan off of the heat. Add in the sautéed ghee, garlic, and spice blend, along with the salt and the remaining tablespoon of ghee.
6. Using a hand blender, blend all of the ingredients together until a smooth, creamy texture has been formed. Unless desired, there should be no chunks remaining. NOTE: If a hand blender is not available, a regular blender or food processor can be used.
7. Serve warm and garnish each serving with a handful of chopped scallions. Add more salt, pepper, or ghee as needed. Enjoy this dish as a delicious side to any meal, or simply enjoy a small bowl on its own as a healthy snack or light dinner.
Tasty Tip: Make creamy cauliflower mashed potatoes by steaming the cauliflower and potatoes in a steam basket, using water to steam instead of broth. Once steamed, throw away the steaming water. Blend the steamed veggies with the spices and ghee and an additional 3/4 to 1 cup of warm-hot milk. This variation is great for Vata and Pitta types, although it is not recommended for Kapha (sorry!).
Optional Doshic Variations
Cauliflower and potatoes can be gas producing for Vata types; however, due to the steaming process and addition of ghee and spices, this recipe should be digestible for Vata individuals in moderation. The creamy version listed above is a great way to make this recipe more nourishing and grounding for Vata, but is not necessary. The ghee and spices can always be increased, and Vata Churna can be used in place of the turmeric.
Overall this recipe is a bit heating, but with a few modifications we can make this recipe more Pitta-balancing. Cauliflower is great for Pitta types, however, potatoes are part of the nightshade family and can increase inflammation in the system. If you are experiencing inflammatory issues, parsnips, or extra cauliflower can be used in place of the Yukon potatoes. Garlic and cayenne pepper are extremely heating and should be omitted from this recipe. If you are really desiring a garlic flavor, reduce the amount to 1/2 to 1 teaspoon. For Pitta digestive disorders such as hyperacidity and inflammatory issues in the GI tract, Pitta Churna should be used in place of the turmeric. The creamy variation listed above is slightly more cooling and therefore a great option for Pitta types if preferred.
This recipe is Kapha-reducing although some modifications can be made to make it even more Kapha-balancing. White potato is very starchy and can be too heavy for Kapha types. If this is the case, replace the potato with extra cauliflower. Ghee is considered suitable for Kapha in moderation, however, if there is a major Kapha imbalance such as excessive weight or high cholesterol, olive oil can be used instead. The amount of oil should be cut in half. Kapha tends toward a sluggish digestion and therefore extra spices are always welcome; the black pepper and cayenne pepper will be especially beneficial for increasing the digestive fire and boosting the metabolism. Otherwise this recipe is great for Kapha types and during Kapha imbalances, and is a very light and healthy alternative to regular mashed potatoes.