Mashed cauliflower! Cauliflower “mashed potatoes” are a creamy and cozy healthier side dish perfect for the holidays or any day. This garlic cauliflower mash recipe is keto and vegan friendly. 

A bowl of mashed cauliflower garnished with chives on a marble countertop. Cauliflower "mashed potatoes" are a creamy and cozy healthier side dish perfect for the holidays or any day. This garlic cauliflower mash recipe is keto and vegan friendly. 

Our family loves mashed potatoes, and with a kid with braces, it seems to be requested even more than it used to. My favorite is this recipe for Truffle Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes, which are so easy to make in the Instant Pot. 

While we love broccoli, cauliflower just isn’t our favorite. So cauliflower that tastes like mashed potatoes is brilliant. This garlic mashed cauliflower recipe is easy to make, creamy, comforting, and makes an excellent side dish. It would be wonderful alongside our Portobello Wellington or Lentil Loaf. Top with our dreamy Vegan Mushroom Gravy, and serve Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts on the side. 

Mashed Cauliflower Ingredients

A beautiful head of cauliflower on a cutting board in a white kitchen. This cauliflower is ready to be cut into florets and steamed for cauliflower mash.

Cauliflower is clearly the star of this cauliflower “mashed potatoes” recipe. It doesn’t have much flavor on its own, though, so we’ll add some other really tasty ingredients. 

  • 1 head of cauliflower 
  • a bit of butter (I use vegan butter from Miyoko’s) 
  • plenty of salt and pepper
  • garlic 
  • fresh chives for garnish 
A head of roasted garlic.

You can use fresh or roasted garlic for this garlic mashed cauliflower recipe. If you’d like to roast a head of garlic, slice about 1/2″ off the top and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap in foil and roast at 425 degrees F until tender, about 30 minutes. You can also find roasted garlic at some grocery stores like Whole Foods in the refrigerated section.  

How to Make Cauliflower Mash

Large cauliflower florets in a steamer basket inside an Instant Pot pressure cooker.

Step 1: Steam the Cauliflower 

You can steam the cauliflower in a saucepan on the stove, but I like to make it extra simple and use the Instant Pot. I steam broccoli and cauliflower regularly in the Instant Pot on a setting of 0-1 minute at high pressure. Be sure to immediately quick release the pressure if using this method. 

Steaming cauliflower florets inside a steamer basket.

Whether on the stove or in the Instant Pot, or even in the microwave if you like, cook your cauliflower until tender, then let some of the water evaporate so it’s not too watery. 

Steamed cauliflower, garlic, butter, and Parmesan or nutritional yeast inside a food processor before blending into mashed cauliflower.

Step 2: Mash the Cauliflower

While my preferred method of mashing potatoes is to use a hand masher to avoid gluey potatoes, mashed cauliflower actually works best blended in a food processor. We tested this recipe with a hand masher and found that the cauliflower never got creamy. 

So, toss that warm, tender cauliflower into the food processor along with a little pat of room temperature butter (we use Miyoko’s), the roasted garlic cloves, and either nutritional yeast or Parmesan. 

Creamy keto cauliflower mashed potatoes inside a Cuisinart food processor on a white kitchen counter.

Don’t go too crazy with the blending, okay? Just pulse, pulse, pulse until it’s reached the desired consistency. I prefer this mashed cauliflower to have some texture, rather than end up a puree. That’s up to you though. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then transfer to a serving dish. 

A bowl of mashed cauliflower, or cauliflower mashed potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh chives sits on a white marble countertop. These creamy cauliflower mashed potatoes are keto and vegan.

Step 3: Garnish and Serve 

Garlic mashed cauliflower really needs some fresh green herbs. Sliced chives are my favorite addition. Serve warm right away. Leftovers are still good the next day. 

Common Mashed Cauliflower Questions

Is mashed cauliflower keto? 

Yes, cauliflower is very popular ingredient for those following a keto diet because it’s lower in carbs than potatoes. 

How many carbs are in mashed cauliflower? 

This will vary depending on what other ingredients are added to the cauliflower. Our nutrition calculator estimates 12 grams for 1/4 of the recipe using a whole cauliflower. Green Giant Mashed Cauliflower comes in at 7 grams per 1/2 cup.  

How do you thicken mashed cauliflower? 

The first few times we made cauliflower mash it ended up too watery and thin. To avoid this, don’t overcook your cauliflower, and be sure to let some of the water evaporate before blending. Go slow when adding butter or milks. To thicken, we like to add grated Parmesan cheese (I use a diary free version from Follow Your Heart) or nutritional yeast. 

Can you freeze cauliflower mash? 

We think cauliflower mash is tastiest when freshly made, and it’s so quick and easy to make, why not? However, if you find yourself with leftovers, you can freeze it in a freezer-safe glass food storage container. Let thaw, then reheat in a small saucepan on the stove, or in the microwave. 

How long do you steam cauliflower for mash? 

  • Stovetop: Bring about an inch of water to a boil in a pot fitted with a steamer basket. Add the cauliflower florets, cover the pot, and steam until completely tender, but not falling apart, about 4-8 minutes
  • Instant Pot: Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot liner and fit with a steamer basket. Add the cauliflower florets and lock the lid with valve set to sealing. Set to pressure cook (high) for 1 minute. When the cook time is finished, immediately carefully quick release the pressure, with hand covered. 
Yield: Serves 6

Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Mashed cauliflower! Cauliflower "mashed potatoes" are a creamy and cozy healthier side dish perfect for the holidays or any day. This garlic cauliflower mash recipe is keto and vegan friendly. 

Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Ingredients

  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • 1 tablespoon butter, room temperature or melted (I used Miyoko's dairy-free)
  • 1/3 cup Nutritional yeast or Parmesan
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
  • sliced chives, for garnish

Instructions

  1. To roast the garlic, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cut about 1/2" off the top of the garlic. Drizzle the cut side with olive oil. Wrap in foil and roast in the oven until the cloves are tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. To steam the cauliflower on the stovetop, bring about an inch of water to a boil in a pot fitted with a steamer basket. Add the cauliflower florets, cover the pot, and steam until completely tender, but not falling apart, about 4-8 minutes
  3. Or, to steam the cauliflower in the Instant Pot, add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot liner and fit with a steamer basket. Add the cauliflower florets and lock the lid with valve set to sealing. Set to pressure cook (high) for 1 minute. When the cook time is finished, immediately carefully quick release the pressure, with hand covered. 
  4. Carefully remove the steamer basket from the pot and let some of the water evaporate from the cauliflower for a few minutes.
  5. Transfer the warm steamed cauliflower florets to the bowl of a food processor. Add the garlic cloves, butter, nutritional yeast/Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Lock the lid and pulse until the cauliflower is creamy and has reached your desired consistency. I prefer this cauliflower mash thick with some texture, while others prefer it completely pureed.
  6. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper, and Parmesan/nutritional yeast.
  7. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with sliced chives and a little drizzle of olive oil. Serve warm.

Notes

  • If you're in a hurry, you can steam the garlic with the cauliflower, though the flavor won't be nearly as deep. You can also find roasted garlic cloves in some gourmet grocery stores and delis.
  • A little drizzle of truffle oil on top is so delicious here.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 108 Total Fat: 5g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 2g Sodium: 213mg Carbohydrates: 12g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 7g Sugar: 3g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 8g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.