Let’s face it cauliflower is one of those vegetables that can be either “oh so boring” (think: boiled and bland) or “can’t get enough good” (think: roasted with turmeric, black pepper, and a dash of cayenne). The key is preparation method. Although it’s colorless, it can add fiber and a lot of vitamin C to your diet. One cup of cauliflower alone can provide > 80% of your daily dose of vitamin C. Not sold yet? Meet mashed potatoes’ newest (and dare I say more nutritious) competition: cheesy garlic cauliflower mash. In this recipe you’ll add antioxidant rich, anti-inflammatory garlic to cauliflower and your immune system will thank you. Specifically, it’s the compound in garlic called alliin which converts to allicin when chopped or crushed that has these health benefits and will give you the breath that will let me know whether or not you tried my recipe – just kidding (sort of). Anyway, if you have heard me walking around mumbling recommendations like fill half of your plate with non-starchy veggies…. this counts. Yes, pile this high and satisfy your craving for comfort food while supporting your immune system this season. Eat well & be well!

1 head of cauliflower 6-8” diameter (cut florets away from stalk)
~2-5 small cloves garlic if you like it (more if you love it)
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup parmesan cheese (shredded or cut into small chunks – since it will be blended)
1-2oz cream cheese
1/8 tsp black pepper
Fresh chopped chives (optional)
Extra parmesan or cheddar cheese (optional)

Makes ~3-4 cups

1 – Rinse and steam cauliflower pieces. If you don’t have a vegetable steamer or steaming basket, add cauliflower florets to a saucepan along with ½ inch of water until the florets are fork tender. (Be careful not to overcook or your mash will be runny!) Drain excess water and remove from heat.
2 – Peel the garlic. Using a wide knife, hold it sideways (safely!) and press down to break the coating. The peel should slide right off. Chop into small pieces – these will be blended so a rough chopping will work.
3 – In a small pan, heat olive oil (on low) and garlic until softened (about 2-3 minutes). Remove from heat. **Please do not add oil to the pan that had hot water for steaming… the oil won’t be happy and you may feel the burn.**
4 – Transfer half the cauliflower to a food processor or high speed blender – cover and blend on high. You’ll want this to be warm enough to melt the cheese. Blend in garlic, parmesan cheese, cream cheese, and black pepper. Add the rest of cauliflower, blend, stop, and stir as needed until the consistency is creamy.
5 – Top with chives and more cheese or whatever you desire, enjoy!

Note: If your mash is not as smooth as you would like, blend blend blend, and you may want to add a little extra cream cheese or a few drops of liquid (milk, cream, etc). If your mash is runny, try to press the florets in paper-towel next time to rid them of some water absorbed in cooking. If someone picks up on the fact that its cauliflower and just won’t try it, mix this with your favorite mashed potato recipe to cut the starch in half and sneak in some extra fiber!