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Dolled-up enough for the holidays but easy enough for a weeknight, this creamy mashed cauliflower recipe with smoked gouda is the whole package.

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower with Smoked Gouda
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Why we love this recipe

I’m a huge fan of mashed potatoes. Just thought I’d put that out there right away to avoid any confusion. I like carbs, I really do. In fact, if there’s any food in the world that I like as much as mashed potatoes with gravy, it’s spaghetti.

But much the same way zucchini noodles can be a really good thing even for spaghetti lovers, mashed cauliflower has some serious potential even if you’re a card-carrying potatophile. 

It all comes down to texture and flavor. This mashed cauliflower recipe is:

  • Light yet full-on creamy
  • Packed with flavor from the smoked gouda, nutmeg, and other seasonings — without overpowering the natural fabulousness of the cauliflower itself
  • Keto-friendly, if you’re into that sort of thing, and vegetarian, if you’re into that sort of thing
  • Just. SO. Good.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make mashed cauliflower.

  • Grab a nice big cauliflower. You can refer to the video to see how to prep a whole one easily, but you can also start with florets if you like.
  • Smoked gouda takes this recipe to the next level. You can substitute any cheese you like, though, from cheddar to taleggio to chèvre.
  • Shallot is the perfect allium for this job. It adds a complex layer of flavor without too much moisture, and it purees easily.

How to make it

Here’s what you’ll do to make this recipe. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

  1. Place chopped cauliflower, shallot, salt, and broth into a pot.
  2. Steam until very tender.
  3. Add the sour cream, butter, cheeses, nutmeg and pepper.
  4. Purée until smooth. You can do this with an immersion blender right in the pot or use a food processor or high-speed blender. That’s it!

Expert tips and FAQs

Can you use frozen cauliflower to make mashed cauliflower?

Yes! Use two pounds of frozen cauliflower to substitute for a 3-pound head (since you won’t be weighing the core and leaves). You can make the recipe exactly as it’s written, without any additional changes.

No need to defrost first — just add a few extra minutes to the simmer time if necessary to ensure the cauliflower is very tender before proceeding.

What other cheeses can I substitute?

If you’re not a smoked gouda fan or just want to change it up a bit, you can really use any other soft or semi-soft cheese that you like.

A-game options would include: extra-sharp cheddar, gruyere, taleggio, chèvre, regular gouda, or even a mild, creamy blue like gorgonzola dolce.

Include the parmesan or pecorino regardless.

What’s the difference between mashed cauliflower, cauliflower mashed potatoes, and cauliflower purée?

In my mind, it’s a case of po-tA-to/po-tah-to. They’re all different names for the same dish. Low-carb and keto-enthusiasts seem to use the term “cauliflower mashed potatoes” more often, though there aren’t any potatoes to be found. And restaurant menus seem to err on the side of the fancier-sounding “purée,” which is tough to argue with when you’re puréeing the cauliflower.

Can I make this recipe in advance? How long do leftovers keep?

You can make it in advance and reheat on medium power in the microwave (or in a covered casserole dish in the oven).

Leftovers keep well, tightly sealed in the fridge, for up to a week.

How to serve it

Creamy mashed cauliflower makes an amenable companion to a wide variety of main dishes. We especially like it with:

Round out the meal with some fabulous green beans if you like.

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower with Smoked Gouda

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Creamy Mashed Cauliflower with Smoked Gouda 780 | Umami Girl
4.85 from 19 votes

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower Recipe with Smoked Gouda

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
You can’t go wrong with this extra-special version of mashed cauliflower, whether as a holiday side dish or for a regular weeknight dinner.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
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Ingredients 

  • 1 large head cauliflower, about 3 pounds/1(360 grams)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ cup (118 ml) good vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) butter
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) smoked gouda, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan or pecorino
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions 

  • Core and roughly chop the cauliflower and place in a large, heavy pot.
  • Add shallot, salt and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to simmer and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Spoon the entire contents of the pot into a food processor or high-speed blender, or leave it in the pot if you'd like to use an immersion blender.
  • Add sour cream, butter, gouda, parmesan, pepper, and nutmeg.
  • Process until very smooth. 

Notes

  1. The easiest way to wrangle cauliflower is to remove any outer leaves, then cut the head into quarters. Remove the core from each quarter (discard leaves and core) and then cut up the remaining pieces as directed by the particular recipe. You can see it in action in the video.
  2. Frozen cauliflower (or pre-cut florets) is also fine to use in this recipe. Use about 2 pounds.
  3. Feel free to substitute other cheeses for the smoked gouda. Extra-sharp cheddar, chèvre, taleggio, and many more would all work well. Include the parmesan or pecorino regardless.
  4. You can make this recipe in advance and reheat on half power in the microwave if you like.
  5. Leftovers keep well, tightly sealed in the fridge, for up to a week.

Nutrition

Calories: 220kcal, Carbohydrates: 13.3g, Protein: 13.2g, Fat: 14g, Fiber: 4.4g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Sides
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.85 from 19 votes (19 ratings without comment)

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