Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower

Healthy Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower - and the secret to making fluffy, delicious mashed cauliflower that tastes JUST like mashed potatoes!

Don’t let anyone fool you, mashed cauliflower on its own always tastes a bit wet and cabbagey. And gritty. I understand why people make it, I do. It’s mock mashed potatoes… faux-tatoes for a fraction of the calories.

Cauliflower is super healthy, low calorie, and can be pretty darn delicious as a side, cozied up next to meatloaf, or tucked under stroganoff.  But it doesn’t have that same silkiness, that same smooth fluffiness that a mashed potato does.  It’s squashier. And if you haven’t already noted it, I do make up words in my spare time. I also think about the dynamic science and structure of mashed potatoes. I have loads of friends.

Healthy Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower - and the secret to making fluffy, delicious mashed cauliflower that tastes JUST like mashed potatoes!

In an effort to make something light and lovely texture-wise, I combined the two. The cauliflower keep things light, while the potatoes lend to a nice pasty mash to keep things smooshed together. Then I added two of my favorite ingredients to enrich the flavor and make the dish feel less like the poor man’s buttery mashed potato, and more like a unique, healthy spin on comfort food. Sour cream and parmesan cheese. Both give these guys a smooth, creamy richness. A buttery and satisfying smoothness.

Healthy Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower - and the secret to making fluffy, delicious mashed cauliflower that tastes JUST like mashed potatoes!
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5 from 1 vote

Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower

Cauliflower is super healthy, low calorie, and can be pretty darn delicious as a side, cozied up next to meatloaf, or tucked under stroganoff. 
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: mashed cauliflower recipe, parmesan cauliflower, parmesan mashed cauliflower
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 127kcal


  • 1 head cauliflower cut into florets, trimmed of as much of the stems as possible
  • 1 large russet potato peeled and cut into 1" cubes
  • 1/4 cup full-fat sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • Fill a large pot with about an inch and a half of water. Fit with a steamer basket and put the cauliflower and potatoes inside.
  • Cover, bring the water to a boil, and steam until very tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Drain well and return the cooked vegetables to the empty pot on the stove top with the heat turned off.
  • Allow them to stand for about 3 minutes so that the water can evaporate and the cauliflower can dry out.
  • Add sour cream, Parmesan, salt, and pepper, and mash until smooth. Serve with minced fresh chives.


Calories: 127kcal | Carbohydrates: 18.2g | Protein: 5.8g | Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 9.3mg | Fiber: 4.3g | Sugar: 0.6g



47 thoughts on “Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower

  1. Teena

    we seem to share the love for wordinventerism and cauliflower :)
    my favourite recipe still is cauliflower & pear salad but I must try the spudsmash version. have tried a mash recipe with parmesan, and butter – to counter the general healthiness :) and brown onions… but the texture was a bit .. meh. Added spuds might just be it.
    thanks for sharing :)

      1. Teena

        actually just blanched.. or steamed.. but roasted sounds great. must try.. with roasted pine nuts too…
        thanks for the idea :)

  2. Peggy Hogan

    yummmm. just made some last week. I like the idea of throwing in a few potatoes and the parmesan. I like the greek yogurt as a sour cream substitute too!

  3. haya

    honestly, when i saw the title of this post, i was almost about to move on to a different entry in google reader and somehow. SOMEHOW you have managed to sell me on this. HOW DO YOU DO IT?
    i am definitely going to have to make meatloaf next week. and mashed cauliflower. (what an annoying word to spell)

    fake words rock.

  4. ahlterra

    I actually managed to get my father, who hates anything new and different, to try some mashed cauliflower! I added in some potato flakes (yes i know, bad me) last minute to get the right consistency, but he loved them. he even went back for seconds! I can’t wait to try these out on my boyfriend. He’ll probably eat the whole cauliflower before I get it cooked, though.

      1. Stephanie

        I have been making mashed cauliflower for a few months now. I also add low-fat shredded cheese. I have always explained to my friends that it is kind of like cheesy grits with the texture. I will now try the potato with it for a smoother texture. Sometimes I will use greek yogurt instead of sour cream, depending on what I have on hand.

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  6. Katherine

    Am going to try to trick my friend’s mom into eating vegetables with this recipe. Yum!
    Came out amazing, I realized my sour cream went… sour so I just subbed in some milk. And I didn’t cut off all the stalks to the cauliflower because I just don’t follow directions and they did come out a little cabbage-y. Still good though and considering the way I cook pretty fool-proof

  7. Jenny

    I didn’t tell my family this was mostly cauliflower. My husband couldn’t even tell the difference until I pointed it out! I’m making this at least monthly now. Thank you so much for giving me mashed potatoes I don’t feel guilty about.

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  9. Carmen

    I know I’m late to the table, but Thanksgiving is coming and I think THESE will be my mashed potatoes this year! Son and I are trying to eat healthier BUT we also like things to taste good — this seems like it’ll fit the bill :)

  10. Starlight Mama

    I’m a big-time mashed potatoes gal, so these look wonderful. Anytime I see “faux-tatoes,” though, I wonder to myself if parsnips would be a better bet instead. Mainly because my husband hates cauliflower.

    Your thoughts….?

    1. admin

      Ooo, parsnips would work! I think the flavor would be sharper, a little spicier though. Which could actually be a great thing :)


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  12. Kik Bee

    I am not a cook. I am not even one of those people who says they can’t cook…but they really can. BUT….I am determined to be better, do better and get healthy. All while tricking my mind and taste buds into thinking that I’m eating mashed potatoes!!! So I made these tonight and WHAT A HIT!!! So delish and my Handsome loved them too!!! I can’t believe I made something so yummy.
    Oh, I forgot to buy sour cream so I just used a splash of milk-still delish!!!!
    Thank you so much for making me into a veggie eater!!

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  15. Rachel

    I made these tonight to go with dinner and they were amazingly,(surprisingly, I might add) good! Loved them. My husband and I just started eating better, healthier and thought mashed potatoes would be out of the question. Thank you. Your journey has inspired me to reevaluate my relationship with food. I don’t have to give up things I love and find comfort from. I can just find ways to do them differently. You’re awesome. Truly. :0)

  16. jacque

    i also made this without sour cream ( i was out) added 1/4 cup of almond milk, and portabellos left over from the grill.
    The addition of that one potato and the parmesean, is amazing. from grit- to great! thanks

  17. Dawn Royster

    Doing this tonight. What about roasting the potatoes and cauliflower and a little garlic and then putting it in a food processor, then sour cream and parm……… I RARELY cook so maybe this wouldn’t work?

  18. Hilaire

    hey every one I have made these faux tatoes several times and I got my sson to eat them by just using cauliflower I used a handheld blender and the consistancy of the cauliflower was just like whipped potatoes I also tried to get some of the moisture out of the cauliflower by puitting it back on the stove after draining it over med heat for 2 mins stirring constantly th cauliflower will break up while you do his but its ok cause you are just going to mash it up anyway I also added a few leftover bacon crumbles that we had fom breakfast yummy!!

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  22. Sarah

    Hi there! I Found your recipe on pinterest and tried it tonight. I’ve never made cauliflower anything (seriously, nothing) and this was delicious! Not only did I manage to make it without screwing it up, but it was tasty and totally worth the minimal effort. Thanks for sharing! :)

  23. Carol Hansen

    Hi Andie,

    This recipe is fabulous!!! I also added about half a head of steamed garlic and rosemary….I was in heaven….coconut chicken tenders tonight…yay! XOXOXO

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