20-minute meals

Okay, this is more like 20-minute side dishes, but I’m such a sucker for alliteration. And if any readers out there are also vegetarians, you know that 95% of our dinners are really a congregation of colorful side dishes anyhow.

Before I go on and on about how delicious and simple and did I mention utterly yummy cauliflower mash is, let me just tell you: you don’t have to like cauliflower. Yet. Believe me, I think cauliflower is possibly the most boring, tasteless veggie on its own. College dining halls almost ruined it for me: steaming it and serving it in a puddle of yellow water. Uck.

But I had cauliflower mash at a french restaurant ages ago and couldn’t believe how I almost underestimated the white mash of deliciousness on my plate. I know you love mashed potatoes, how can you not, but these are in fact lighter, milkier and faster than mashed potatoes! Oh, and while we love starchy potatoes, did you know one cup of fresh cauliflower delivers almost 92% of our daily value for Vitamin C and contain 28 calories? Oh yeah: 28. Unlike mashed potatoes, I only need to add trivial amounts of fat to thicken and flavor my mash.

I don’t buy fresh cauliflower often—my husband freaks out if he spots in on my chopping board. I made this quick and creamy side dish with frozen cauliflower, onion, garlic, and plain fat-free yogurt (fantastic , healthy substitute for sour cream—it’s all I use). I used a mini food processor, but a blender also gets the job done.

Since this was just one serving size (see husband excuse, above), I only used one slice of yellow onion. I heated about one teaspoon of olive oil and sautéed the pieces until tender and slightly brown.

Since I love garlic (specifically when it’s slightly browned and turns sweet), I added one clove of minced garlic. Do you mind if I take this moment to tell you something special? An awesome way to have garlic finely and evenly incorporated into a dish is to use a microplane! Yes, I know, you know it’s an essential kitchen tool and yet you couldn’t find enough things to do with it! Well, when you’re not shaving chocolate and shredding cheese and zesting citrus rinds with your microplane, do use it for fresh garlic!! So little clean up, and you don’t have to dirty a chopping board 🙂

Now since garlic burns very easily, I added it just towards the end of things to let it release its sweetness.

I did use frozen cauliflower and could have steamed it all the way in the microwave, but since I love foods with that crispy browning flavor, I added in the cauliflower here with enough water to just cover the surface of the pot.

I realize now this would have made more sense in a skillet, but so long as you use something with a lid. Cover at this point and steam the cauliflower until so soft it breaks easily with a spoon.

Once everything was tender and browning (even the cauliflower a bit), I tossed it all in this handy little gadget, my Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus. Use a blender if you don’t have a food processor. This little fella holds 2 cups and is awesome for

salad dressings

homemade peanut-butter

quick hummus

chopping nuts

mincing veggies

cauliflower mash!

I added one tablespoon of plain yogurt (identical flavor and consistency to sour cream but waaaay healthier), and a little shredded parmesan. Whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, and done!

Add salt and pepper as you like, and increase sour cream/yogurt or milk amounts to reach desired consistency. Remember to taste first—you may be surprised by how milky the cauliflower is on its own. I added just a sprinkling of fresh parmesan and found I didn’t even need that much.

amounts I used for one improvised serving size of cauliflower mash:

  • 1.5 cups cauliflower florets (thawed if frozen)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/8 cup onion
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon plain yogurt/sour cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon shredded parmesan (and I found this too much)
  • pinch of salt and bigger pinch of pepper (say that 10 times)

Take home message: give new veggies a chance : D

Thanks for reading.


the vegetarian

P.S. For more 20-minute meals, click the Lickety-Quick category!


4 responses to “20-minute meals

  1. Lynette

    OK – I think we are related – cauliflower mash – love it. I am dying to try it your way as I have never added onion/garlic. I will beg you to try a parsnip(steamed first or even roasted) in the mash – just about half of one if it is just for you. Adds a whole new dimension and a pinch of nutmeg really sends it over the top. What are ‘we’ cooking tomorrow??!?!?!?! Cannot wait!

  2. DebbieT

    Hi Lindsey,

    I love cauliflower, … raw, cooked, plain, sauced, roasted, …this week I steamed a whole head of cauliflower, (used the steaming water later also) mashed it well and added it to a pot of chili made with turkey, ground beef, and lots of various veggies. I made my husband a very low cholesterol version with lots of veggies and just a little ground turkey, and rotel tomatoes for extra kick.

    I will be eager to try your mashed cauliflower, love the pictures as I am a visual learner, ..and will be looking for a very low cholesterol hummus recipe.


  3. Alice Seegers

    What a wonderful idea! I’ve never heard of cauliflower mash, but intend to try it out. I’m fairly certain, however, that my husband may have the same reaction to it as yours. Wonder why?

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