Recipes Side Dishes

Garlic Mashed Cauliflower (Mashed Potatoes Substitute)

If you eat paleo or have diabetes, you already know that potatoes have a really high glycemic load that spikes your blood sugar. I had gestational diabetes with both my pregnancies and even one small baked potato would send my blood sugar through the roof and send me off for 20 minutes on the stationary bike. But, if you’re anything like me, holiday dinners and roast beef just aren’t the same without mashed potatoes and gravy. When we’re talking about Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, unless you have serious health issues (namely diabetes), my vote is to just enjoy it. It’s only a few times a year.

But for those of you who can’t or don’t want to, or who want a healthier option for everyday mashed potatoes, here’s a yummy substitute using one of my favourite vegetables – cauliflower!

Garlic Mashed Cauliflower makes a great #paleo #glutenfree substitute for mashed potatoes!

Mashed cauliflower is typically made with sour cream, but hubs has issues with cow dairy. After some experimentation, I’ve found a great substitute. Soft, unripened goat cheese makes really tasty mashed cauliflower!

Wash and chop up a whole head of cauliflower into florets. You want to minimize the amount of water in your cauliflower to get creamier, fluffier mashed cauliflower (as opposed to soup), so steam the cauliflower in a steamer basket or cook it in a covered pan with about a quarter inch of boiling water until soft (about 6 minutes).

Drain the cooked cauliflower, removing as much water as you can. Throw the pieces into your food processor and add three tablespoons of soft, unripened goat cheese, half a teaspoon of sea salt, and a quarter teaspoon each of onion powder, garlic powder, and freshly ground black pepper. If cow dairy isn’t a problem for you, you can add three tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese for a little extra flavour.

Process the cauliflower until its texture looks like mashed potatoes. Add a pat of butter on top and garnish with chives or parsley if you like.

This is a wonderfully versatile recipe that you can play with to make your own. Try adding some roasted garlic, cheddar cheese, bacon bits, or cumin for something a little bit different. 

Garlic Mashed Cauliflower


  • One head of cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons soft unripened goat cheese
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder


  • Wash and chop cauliflower into florets. Steam in a steamer basket or in a covered pan with 1/4" of boiling water until soft (about 6 minutes).
  • Drain cauliflower very well and add to food processor with goat cheese and seasonings. Add Parmesan cheese if using.
  • Puree until texture resembles mashed potatoes.
  • Serve with butter and garnish with chives if desired.


As an alternative to steaming, you can boil the cauliflower, but you will need to drain it well and make sure you've removed as much water as possible before processing.
This post is linked up to some fantastic recipe link parties. Check out my Link Parties page to see where I’m linking up and to find some wonderful blogs and more amazing recipes!

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  • I made this this with cumin and a little Parmesan cheese, the family went crazy for it. I blended it longer than necessary so it had more of a purée texture but everyone said they want it again and not to change a thing! Served it with rack of lamb and glazed carrots. Thanks for the suggestion, it’s in our rotation!

  • I may have mentioned to you before that my husband tries to eat low carb. So, I’m always hunting down low/lower carb options and substitutions. While I love mashed potatoes, I suspect I wouldn’t miss them eating this. Thank you for stopping by and linking!

    • Yes, these would be great for low carb, but they still have lots of flavour. Thanks for coming by, and for hosting!

  • Garlic ANYTHING always sounds good, but I love that this is a healthier option for mashed potatoes! Must try! Thanks so much for linking up to DDT!

  • I tried mashed cauliflower before and it was just horrible,this recipe sounds more inviting maybe i will give it a try.thanks