Fauxtatoes: Garlic Mashed Cauliflower Recipe

Garlic and creamy cauliflower blend seamlessly in this delicious, healthy mashed potato alternative.

Mashed cauliflower is a carb-conscious stand-in for mashed potatoes on the Thanksgiving table.

Mashed cauliflower is a carb-conscious stand-in for mashed potatoes on the Thanksgiving table.

Mashed cauliflower is a carb-conscious stand-in for mashed potatoes on the Thanksgiving table.

Thanksgiving in nearly upon us. Turkey with gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes (sometimes covered in sticky marshmallow), casseroles, cranberry sauce, pies galore and perhaps a glass or two of wine. On the day of the great feast, the average American will consume nearly 4,500 calories and almost 500g of carbohydrates. Kicking off a holiday season full of rich food and mountains of cookies, candy and festive libations, by the time the year has come to an end, it’s not uncommon to see weight gains of 5 pounds or more.

Turkey is fairly low in calories and contains not a single carb. It’s one of those glorious sides and desserts that are to blame.  For carb counters, mashed potatoes, a favorite at many holiday tables, can contain a whopping 35 grams per cup.

While most of us are unlikely to forgo the favorites we’ve grown up with on turkey day, in recent years we’ve made a sneaky substitution to the menu: fauxtatoes!

At first glance, mashed cauliflower is a dead ringer for the starchy mashed potatoes we love so well. The mouth feel is similar and the flavor profile is in the ballpark. My family has come to prefer the taste of this easy-to-make alternative and, with roughly a fifth of the calories and a tenth of the carbohydrates, it’s a great way to reduce the impact of the biggest meal of the year.

While we are usually content to disregard the calorie counting just this once, this simple swap cuts back on the calories and carbs in a way that won’t feel like you’re giving anything up. Treat mashed cauliflower as you would mashed potatoes. The same herbs, spices or other additions you’ve enjoyed in your Thanksgiving potatoes will be right at home in this carb-conscious alternative. 

Every little bit helps. Still, I'll be having a second piece of pie. It is Thanksgiving, after all.

Fauxtatoes (Garlic Mashed Cauliflower)

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Green onions (for garnish)

Cut cauliflower into florets.

Place florets in a pot and cover with water.

Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer until cauliflower is tender (about 10 minutes).

While cauliflower cooks, saute garlic in butter.

Drain cauliflower and transfer to food processor.

Add sautéed garlic (with butter), cream cheese, salt and pepper to food processor and pulse until smooth.

Garnish with green onions.

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