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The Replacements: The Cauliflower Mash That Rivals Mashed Potatoes

We here at Plated love inventive dishes, food hacks, and workarounds in the kitchen. In “The Replacements,” we’re focused on swapping out traditional ingredients for inventive choices to rethink classic dishes. These creative, healthy substitutions can enhance recipes and help you experience your meals in a new way.

While many vegetables pair well as a side dish with protein, few offer the satisfying taste and texture of mashed potatoes. That’s why at Plated we prefer one specific veggie that can beautifully substitute for your favorite starch, partly by mimicking them: cauliflower. We love boiling, mashing, and seasoning this somewhat under-the-radar ingredient. We’ve even used it in our own recipes as a replacement for mashed potatoes, as in our Mushroom-Crusted Flatiron Steak with Cauliflower Mash:

Where does our love affair with cauliflower come from? For starters, cauliflower’s fairly unobtrusive flavor is an asset, because it allows it to work in a wide range of dishes, whether lightly mashed with a fork or puréed into silky oblivion. You can pump up cauliflower’s mild flavor with seasonings like salt, pepper, chives, and more—have we mentioned tossing it in Buffalo sauce?—not to mention the juices from the steak you might serve it with.

In addition, cauliflower has a serious nutritional edge over potatoes in some very important areas. Per 100 grams, cauliflower contains

Fewer calories  (Cauliflower: 25 calories.  Potato: 77 calories.)
Fewer carbs  (Cauliflower: 5 grams.  Potato: 17 grams.)
More vitamin C  (Cauliflower: 48.2 milligrams.  Potato: 19.7 milligrams.)

Another important area to consider is glycemic index (GI), which indicates a food’s effect on your blood sugar. As it turns out, potatoes can raise your blood sugar pretty fast, with an even higher glycemic index than refined white sugar. Comparatively, cauliflower has little to no effect on blood sugar levels. On top of that, cauliflower supports the digestive system and provides antioxidants.

Lastly, making a cauliflower mash is a great way to get another cup or two of vegetables into your daily food intake—or your kids’ meals.

Our own Head of Culinary, Chef Elana Karp, often turns to cauliflower for the same two-pronged reason: great taste and real nutrition. “Cauliflower makes a great substitute for potatoes because of its texture: When boiled and mashed, it becomes creamy and almost starchy, just like potatoes. And the great part is that cauliflower has tons of vitamins and nutrients, and fewer carbohydrates than potatoes.”

So the next time you think, “baked potato or mashed potatoes?” why not try something else entirely? A subtle, seasoned cauliflower mash can not only give you great taste, but also deliver on nutrition.

 

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