Garlic Mashed Cauliflower: A Healthy Alternative to Mashed Potatoes

As a healthier alternative to mashed potatoes, try making Garlic Mashed Cauliflower. It has all the flavor with fewer carbs and less guilt!

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Mashed potatoes are my ultimate side dish when it comes to any meal. While they are delicious, potatoes are also high in carbs. In high school, I would eat a package of instant mashed potatoes for a snack every day. Now, those carbs get to me a bit quicker. Mashed cauliflower is a great alternative that still tastes delicious.

One of our bountiful basket food co-ops came with a head of cauliflower. I’ve never eaten it before and had no clue what to make with it. I’ve seen many videos that sub cauliflower for potatoes and even pizza crusts, so decided to give it a try. 

Now, pizza is one of my favorite foods, so I haven’t tried to touch that one, yet. But, we did decide to give the mashed cauliflower a try. 

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. But I figured I would rather make an attempt at cooking something that ends up getting tossed rather than letting the cauliflower go bad in the refrigerator and throwing it away before it even gets used. I don’t like waste in the kitchen, especially food waste.

But, I was pleasantly surprised! The mashed cauliflower had almost the same consistency as potatoes and didn’t taste much different, either. I wouldn’t do this every time, but it’s a great alternative and healthier than the starchy potatoes. 

Not to mention, I had this entire recipe prepared in about 15 minutes. I think it took me longer to photograph the results than it did to make it!

Step by Step

Cut the cauliflower into florets. They don’t have to be a specific shape or size, but small enough to work with. 

Use a steamer to soften the cauliflower. You can either use a dedicated steamer pot as I used or a steam basket that goes over any regular pot. Also, some rice steamers come with a steaming tray that can be used. Whatever method you use, steam the cauliflower for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic to the pan and cook for about 2-3 minutes, until it is fragrant and starts to brown. Then remove from the heat while the cauliflower steams.

Put half of the cauliflower in a blender or food processor and blend on high for a moment.

Then add the rest of the cauliflower, garlic, cheeses, salt, and pepper. I used my immersion blender for this and it worked really well.

Continue to blend until the mixture is creamy and there are no more chunks of cauliflower. Serve warm with a pat of butter if desired. 


Originally Published On: October 22, 2018

Last Updated On: October 19, 2019


Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

As a healthier alternative to mashed potatoes, try making Garlic Mashed Cauliflower. It has all the flavor with fewer carbs and less guilt!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword cauliflower
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Calories 106kcal
Author Stephanie Lynch


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese shredded
  • 1 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper


  • Cut the cauliflower into florets
  • Steam the cauliflower for about 10 minutes, until it is tender
  • Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil
  • Add the minced garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant and brown then remove from the heat
  • When the cauliflower is done, add half to a food processor or blender and blend on high for a moment
  • Add the rest of the cauliflower to the blender with the garlic, cheeses, salt, and pepper
  • Blend until creamy and smooth
  • Serve warm with a pat of butter if desired


Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 106kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 446mg | Potassium: 430mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 97IU | Vitamin C: 70mg | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 1mg

View Comments (21)

  • Yum we eat mashed cauliflower at least once a week. sometimes we add smoked cheddar because we like the taste, nut i will definitely be trying the roasted garlic next time :)

  • Recently, my husband and I decided to eat more cleanly. I've been very curious about all carb substitutes. I'm down with quinoa but have been hesitant to try cauliflower. This gave me a little boost to try it!

  • I never tried something like that AND we just happen to look for some new stuff to cook. It looks good and easy to cook, i might try it. Thank you for sharing though!

    • Sounds like this came at a good time, then! It's pretty easy to make, just as easy as making homemade mashed potatoes.

  • Oh my gosh, yes please. this looks scrummy and will be making a nice addition to the Sunday homemade dinner xx

  • I've always thought it would take hours to prepare cauliflower to make into mashed potatoes! Didn't think it would be easy! Now I want to give it a try!

  • This looks so delicious!! And I love how quick it looks like it is to make - definitely trying this soon!

  • I haven't gotten on the cauliflower train yet but this might be just the thing to do it! I have some in the freezer.

    • This was the first thing I really made with it. I haven't been brave enough to try much else, but I want to at some point.

    • I hadn't really had cauliflower much before this, but it was so good! I'm going to have to try a few other recipes with it now.

  • So it really tasted almost the same? Personally I hate the taste of cauloflower, but if you say it was similar, I may have to try this sometime and see if I can fool myself! (since the rest of my family loves cauliflower!)...

  • UPDATE: We tried it tonight for dinner. My husband was shocked to see me eating cauliflower (he watched me make it) and ENJOYING it! My kids said they were the yummiest "mashed potatoes" they had ever eaten, until I told them that what they'd assumed was mashed potatoes was actually something else!

  • You had me at garlic! This looks lovely! I am in fact a big fan of cauliflower,I don't get why so many people don't like it! I like to grill it, as a thick juicy cauli steak and add butter and tons of salt! I will def try this one out!

    • Oh, I've never tried it as a steak before, but it sounds good! I was surprised at how good this was, so I want to try a few new recipes with it soon.