Mashed Cauliflower with Cheese and Chives

from 2 votes

Mashed Cauliflower with Cheese and Chives is a healthy, utterly delicious alternative to classic mashed potatoes. This simple four-ingredient recipe is veggie-packed and tastes 100% amazing… so much so that even picky kiddos will enjoy it!

Mashed cauliflower topped with shredded cheese, finely minced chives and black pepper in a blue bowl.

Mashed potatoes have starred in many a crowd-pleasing recipe around these parts. Bravo, mashed potato pancakes! Looking good, mashed potato muffins! Work it, mashed potato waffles! But now, there’s a new starch-free stunner in the spotlight: creamy mashed cauliflower with cheese.

I know what you’re thinking. “There’s no way something that healthy can replace my beloved spuds.” But trust me on this one. A single bite of this cheesy mashed cauliflower will make you instantly forget its potato counterpart thanks to an equally as creamy texture and, dare I say, way better taste. All it takes is a dab of cream cheese, a sprinkle of Parmesan and chopped fresh chives to transform an ordinary vegetable into an extraordinary side dish.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s healthy.
  • It’s just a handful of ingredients.
  • Ready in 20 minutes or less.
  • Easily doubled to feed a crowd.

Ingredients

  • Cauliflower: A whole head of cauliflower is the base for this creamy, dreamy side. Instead of buying a head, you could use pre-cut florets. 
  • Cream cheese: Either regular or full-fat cream cheese works here. If you’re vegan or dairy-free, you could swap in vegan cream cheese.
  • Parmesan: Just a bit of Parmesan amps up the flavor. Again, if you’re going the dairy-free route, swap in vegan Parmesan. 
  • Chives: Fresh chives add a subtly herby, onion element. You really can’t go overboard with chives, so feel free to garnish with as much as you like.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to Make Mashed Cauliflower

  1. Trim and cut the cauliflower. Trim the stem off and cut the cauliflower into small florets.
Cauliflower florets on a cutting board. A knife is beside the florets.
  1. Cook the cauliflower. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the cauliflower and simmer until tender (about 8 minutes). Then, drain the cauliflower. 
Cauliflower florets submerged in water in a Dutch oven.
  1. Add ingredients to the food processor. Add the cooked cauliflower to the bowl of a food processor fitted with an S-blade along with the cream cheese and Parmesan.
Cauliflower florets, grated cheese and cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor.
  1. Make the mash. Pulse until the mixture is smooth.
Pureed cauliflower in the bowl of a food processor.
  1. Add seasoning. Transfer the mashed cauliflower to a bowl, add the chives and season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with additional chives and serve.
Mashed cauliflower, minced chives and black pepper in a glass mixing bowl.

Pro Tip: For evenly chopped chives, simply grab a bunch of chives and snip into itty bitty pieces using kitchen shears.

Kelly’s Recipe Tips

  • No Food Processor?: Instead of a food processor, you can puree the cauliflower mixture in a blender or with an immersion (stick) blender. Avoid trying to do so by hand with just a potato masher: The cauliflower won’t get creamy enough. 
  • Why You Should Salt Water: Salting the water the cauliflower cooks in will allow the vegetable to absorb some of the salt as it cooks. This will make it more flavorful and cut down on the amount of salt you’ll need to add later on.
  • Coring Cauliflower: Cauliflower has a tougher core you won’t want to eat. To easily core and cut cauliflower into florets, first trim off the stem. Then, cut the cauliflower in half vertically. You can use the tip of a chef’s knife (or a paring knife) to make a V-shaped cut and remove the cauliflower core before cutting it into florets. I also find it easy to break it apart with my hands at this point!
Mashed cauliflower topped with grated cheese, minced chives and black pepper in a bowl.

Storage Tips

You can store mashed cauliflower in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make mashed cauliflower less watery?

To make sure your mashed cauliflower isn’t watery, drain it well after boiling. Process your cauliflower until smooth and only add liquid (starting with a tablespoon at a time) if the mixture seems too stiff.

What does mashed cauliflower taste like? 

Mashed cauliflower has the texture of mashed potatoes and a creamy, fairly neutral flavor. You can taste a bit of the veggie—but it’s really delicious, especially if it’s blended with cheese.

Why is mashed cauliflower good for you? 

Mashed cauliflower has good-for-you carbs, protein and potassium. It also has fiber. If you have specific dietary concerns, though, be sure to consult a nutrition professional or doctor. 

More Recipes for When Cauliflower Calls

Mashed cauliflower topped with grated cheese, minced chives and black pepper in a blue bowl.
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Side Dish

Mashed Cauliflower with Cheese and Chives

Bypass the potatoes in favor of this recipe for light and healthy Mashed Cauliflower with Cheese and Chives.
Author: Kelly Senyei
5 from 2 votes
Mashed Cauliflower with Cheese and Chives Recipe on justataste.com
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Servings 2 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 2 Tablespoons cream cheese (regular or low fat)
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish

Instructions 

  • Trim the stem from the cauliflower and cut it into small florets.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets and simmer just until tender, about 8 minutes.
  • Drain the cauliflower florets and transfer them to a food processor. Add the cream cheese and Parmesan cheese to the food processor and pulse until creamy.
  • Transfer the mixture to a bowl, stir in the chives, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with additional chopped chives.

Kelly’s Notes

  • Instead of a food processor, you can puree the cauliflower mixture in a blender or with an immersion (stick) blender.  Avoid trying to do so by hand/with just a potato masher: The cauliflower won’t get creamy enough. 
  • Salting the water the cauliflower cooks in will allow the vegetable to absorb some of the salt as it cooks. This will make it more flavorful and cut down on the amount of salt you’ll need to add later on.
  • Cauliflower has a tougher core you won’t want to eat. To easily core and cut cauliflower into florets, first trim off the stem. Then, cut the cauliflower in half vertically. You can use the tip of a chef’s knife (or a paring knife) to make a V-shaped cut and remove the cauliflower core before cutting it into florets. I also find it easy to break it apart with my hands at this point!
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

Nutrition

Calories: 168kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 19mg, Sodium: 424mg, Potassium: 916mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 278IU, Vitamin C: 139mg, Calcium: 284mg, Iron: 1mg

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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not republish this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.


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5 from 2 votes

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Comments

  1. Had to look it up because we needed cauliflower mash potatoes now that I’m feeding a family of six. Keep us posted on how to feed two young growing boys healthy.
    Pat

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe was very good. I am a type 2 diabetic, and potatoes spike my sugar. This gave me the texture of a mashed potatoe but the lovely flavor of cauliflower.

    NOTE: I did not have any chives, but I tossed in a pinch of nutmeg, and it was quite yummy.

  3. Making the Cauliflower tater to tonight. Sounds fabulous and I have lots of fresh ones from my garden.
    Thank you for sharing these recipes. Can hardly wait for supper

  4. Absolutely loved this! Thank you for sharing!!! I made this for my mom tonight- some one who is very picky and claims to “hate” cauliflower”- but my mother loved it and when she was prepared to take a wimpy bite she ate an entire serving and I even caught her with her head and a spoon in the fridge later on with the leftovers. Thanks again!!! Loved this healthy alternative to mashed potatoes!

  5. I’ve been shying away from mashed potatoes lately because they just feel so heavy (and I’ve got a wedding dress to fit into). These look like the perfect alternative!! And we still get cheese. Hallelujah!

  6. Yes, please! I just got a food processor and this will have to happen soon! My BF dislikes cauliflower (or so he claims) – perhaps I can make this and see how he feels then!! ;)

  7. I can attest to the creaminess cauliflower can have, and it’s totally underrated. Love this simplicity and healthiness of this!

  8. Hi, I have to be honest, when I saw another cauliflower recipe, I nearly scrolled right past. Food blogs seem awash with them right now – buuuutttt I thought hang on, I love Cauliflower Cheese. So I read and am impressed enough to give it a try. I like the addition of chives, mine are just starting to grow again in the garden. Thanks for an inspired Cauli recipe. Sammie http://www.feastingisfun.com