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Mock mashed potatoes

tcamp Jul 14, 2014 07:18 AM

I've tried several times with cauliflower and it just isn't the same as the real thing. Just saw this recipe that includes feta:


What are your low carb secrets for emulating the rich, creamy goodness of mashed potato. Or should I just give up on it?

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  1. hotoynoodle RE: tcamp Jul 14, 2014 07:54 AM

    i steam til VERY soft, then dump in the food pro. whiz a bit. then start adding olive oil, butter, cream, grated cheese, salt, etc. and whiz some more til it tastes "good". it does NOT taste like mashed potatoes, but is its own goodness. the truth is you cannot skimp on the fat and salt here.

    4 Replies
    1. re: hotoynoodle
      pinehurst RE: hotoynoodle Jul 14, 2014 08:03 AM

      That's the trick, I think...you need the fat from the butter and cheese (I use cream cheese as monavano does, plus other cheeses) and you need more salt/pepper than with regular potatoes.

      1. re: hotoynoodle
        weezieduzzit RE: hotoynoodle Jul 14, 2014 08:18 AM

        I agree that it needs salt but I find that I don't add much butter (and I'm not the least bit fat-phobic so I would in a heartbeat if I thought it needed it.) The trick for me is to put the pureed cauliflower in a shallow wide skillet on super low heat for quite a while (I do the cauliflower first and let it sit on the low heat while I'm cooking the rest of the dinner.) Stir often. Once the excess moisture has evaporated off it is thicker and richer, with a much more concentrated flavor, without needing to add much to it at all. I don't find adding stock or cream cheese necessary, though I'm sure both are good. Occasionally a sprinkle of Parmesan is nice if the flavor matches the other items you're making.

        1. re: weezieduzzit
          tcamp RE: weezieduzzit Jul 14, 2014 08:47 AM

          So puree with a stick blender or something in the skillet? My main issues with the cauliflower are excess moisture and grainy texture so your strategy might be helpful.

          1. re: tcamp
            mcf RE: tcamp Jul 14, 2014 09:26 AM

            I nuke it in a covered dish with just enough to steam it, so not waterlogged, and drain it very well both before and after pureeing before adding butter, s and p.

      2. monavano RE: tcamp Jul 14, 2014 08:01 AM

        I almost prefer cauliflower puree to mashed potatoes at this point.
        As posted, steam until very tender, and whiz up in a FP with milk, chx stock, salt, cheeses- cream cheese even.

        3 Replies
        1. re: monavano
          fldhkybnva RE: monavano Jul 19, 2014 06:07 PM

          Me too, I'd definitely choose them over mashed potatoes. I was thinking about Thanksgiving (who does that in July?) and pondering how to jazz them up for the holiday.

          1. re: fldhkybnva
            weezieduzzit RE: fldhkybnva Jul 20, 2014 09:27 AM

            I got them very thick a few nights back and then stirred goat cheese through and they were awesome. I would totally serve that at a holiday dinner.

            1. re: fldhkybnva
              mcf RE: fldhkybnva Jul 20, 2014 01:48 PM

              When in doubt... BACON!

          2. mcf RE: tcamp Jul 14, 2014 08:28 AM

            Fauxtatoes! :-) The original recipe invented, I believe, by a women on usenet named Debbie, called for cream cheese, too. I just use butter, s and p. A small Idaho potato skin and all added to a whole head of cauli makes it almost identical to the real thing, but I don't tolerate the spud well glucose wise.

            The original: http://www.cookingcache.com/fauxtatoe...

            1. tcamp RE: tcamp Jul 14, 2014 08:46 AM

              Cream cheese is something I have not tried yet. I will do some more experimenting with different cheeses and butter. Thanks!

              1. greygarious RE: tcamp Jul 16, 2014 02:34 PM

                Forget the cauliflower. Soak large dried lima beans in water, then slightly overcook them, so many of the skins are splitting. Drain and mash, adding dairy or broth. Season to taste. This will give you more of a "smashed potato" texture. If you want smooth, run them through a food mill rather than mashing.

                I defy anyone to detect a difference in taste/texture from potato. It should be noted that large dried limas are what in canned form are sold as butter beans. The smaller, green lima is NOT what I am using for fauxtatoes.

                6 Replies
                1. re: greygarious
                  weezieduzzit RE: greygarious Jul 16, 2014 02:45 PM

                  At 39 grams of carbs per cup lima beans are a poor sub for cauliflower when the objective is eating low carb, as the OP is. Heck, they have more carbs than potatoes do (26g per cup and cauliflower at 5g per cup.)

                  1. re: weezieduzzit
                    greygarious RE: weezieduzzit Jul 16, 2014 03:26 PM

                    But legumes are slower-digesting, so they don't affect blood sugar as much as potatoes. Not to mention the extra protein in beans.

                    1. re: greygarious
                      mcf RE: greygarious Jul 16, 2014 04:53 PM

                      They are said to be slower digesting, but all I can say is they spike my blood glucose just as badly.

                      1. re: greygarious
                        weezieduzzit RE: greygarious Jul 16, 2014 04:57 PM

                        As a non-diabetic who eats low carb I'll just say that lima beans would be very very low on the list of foods to eat- there are too many other veggies that I could eat a much larger amount of for less carbs and much more beneficial ways to incorporate protein. They would be completely out of the question if I were still eating keto.

                        1. re: weezieduzzit
                          mcf RE: weezieduzzit Jul 16, 2014 05:18 PM

                          I guess compared to mashed white potatoes, they are an improvement, though.

                          But yeah, I don't have to portion control cauli, would have to severely limit lima bean puree.

                    2. re: greygarious
                      c oliver RE: greygarious Jul 19, 2014 05:18 PM

                      You truly couldn't pay me to eat lima beans in ANY form. UGH :( But cauliflower as faux-potatoes are great.

                    3. k
                      kathryn RE: tcamp Jul 16, 2014 08:21 PM

                      I've found it'll never be as "thick" as real mashed potatoes no matter what I do, but it sure tastes good with cream cheese/heavy cream/garlic powder/Parmesan cheese/lots of salt and pepper.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: kathryn
                        monavano RE: kathryn Jul 17, 2014 04:41 AM

                        Me too.
                        It's more puree than mash, but that silkiness works nicely in many applications- such as a bed for my veg and meat.

                        1. re: monavano
                          mcf RE: monavano Jul 17, 2014 08:06 AM

                          Yes, that and our favorite with pot roast and other braises, rutabaga puree.

                        2. re: kathryn
                          mcf RE: kathryn Jul 17, 2014 08:06 AM

                          I drain and blot it, have to do the same with white turnip puree. It can be thick like spuds, but with a bit more effort. By nuking it with just enough water in the bottom to steam it, I start out with it a bit drier, too.

                        3. s
                          sedimental RE: tcamp Jul 19, 2014 01:30 PM

                          I have been experimenting with the ideas and benefits about resistant starch. Cooking the grain al dente, putting it in the fridge, then using it room temp. I really liked using 1/2 cup of cooked and cooled millet, processed in with a cauliflower mash, in the FP. Changed the texture nicely and mellowed out the "cruciferous" taste so it was more "potato esque". Very nice. Some diabetics claim that using resistant starch this way is actually beneficial for their blood sugar. I am not diabetic so YMMV.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: sedimental
                            mcf RE: sedimental Jul 19, 2014 02:11 PM

                            I wish! My meter says that for me, starch is starch is starch, is sugar. No starch is ever beneficial for blood sugar, but some may be less damaging to some diabetics. Not worth the risk, IMO, though.

                            1. re: mcf
                              sedimental RE: mcf Jul 19, 2014 04:17 PM

                              Have you read any of the research on resistant starch, retrograded amylose? The positive results for diabetics looks promising. There are many diabetics trying it out with their meters. I am looking into it for gut health, however. I like the results for me.

                              Of course, I am not talking about starch, but resistant starch, digested differently.

                              1. re: sedimental
                                mcf RE: sedimental Jul 19, 2014 04:44 PM

                                Why on earth would adding starch be a positive for diabetics as compared to not having any?

                                Maybe when a cup of starch is as delicious and nutrient dense as a pile of grilled veggies... and not being peddled to try and save corrupt agribusinesses.

                                I use one product, very rarely, that has resistant corn starch in it, but because it's a lot of calories for very little nutrition and because eating carbs causes carb cravings, and I don't get carb cravings thanks to a healthy diabetic diet (extremely low starch and high veggies) I don't eat it more than a few times a year.

                                Don't confuse lower glucose from manufactured foods with benefits; it still takes the place of genuinely nutritious foods. If you want lots of gas and more gut health, eat Jerusalem artichokes. ;-)

                                1. re: mcf
                                  johnseberg RE: mcf Jul 20, 2014 05:45 AM

                                  Your point on carb cravings is very good. I can't blame you for dismissing research funded by National Starch and scattered anecdotal evidence.

                                  Going against conventional advice, this guy controlled his blood glucose with a very low carb diet, without medication. Crazy, huh? I guess this is the type of person that would experiment on himself with raw potato starch. He blogs about it, here:


                                  1. re: johnseberg
                                    mcf RE: johnseberg Jul 20, 2014 01:55 PM

                                    Yes, I've seen that. I've been keeping my glucose under 120 virtually all the time for over a decade with no diabetic meds.

                                    I also completely reversed long standing advanced kidney damage and severe peripheral neuropathies after many years of undiagnosed diabetes.

                                    Using just a meter and diet. The longer I eat very low carb, the less I react to the occasonal off plan excursion. And by doing it without starches, my diet's nutrient density has done up enormously.

                                    1. re: mcf
                                      mcf RE: mcf Jul 21, 2014 08:24 AM

                                      I didn't launch the medical tangent! (for once!).

                                  2. re: mcf
                                    The Chowhound Team RE: mcf Jul 21, 2014 08:17 AM

                                    We know it's tough not to get too far along on medical tangents here, but we do try to keep this board focused on sharing food advice, not medical advice, so we've removed some posts here. Sorry about that!

                            2. kitchengardengal RE: tcamp Jul 20, 2014 05:01 PM

                              Cauliflower never tasted like potatoes before, so I don't know why people expect them to now just because they puree them. And they're both white. So's a turnip, and it's not going to taste like a potato, either.

                              I love pureed cauliflower, as well as steamed, grilled or roasted. I love turnips, too.
                              If I look for a new recipe for preparing either one of them mashed or pureed, I stay away from any recipe that says 'mock mashed potatoes'.
                              As several posters here have said, any combination of butter, cheese, sour cream and/or cream cheese enhances cauliflower's flavor, but none of them are going to made it a different vegetable.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: kitchengardengal
                                magiesmom RE: kitchengardengal Jul 21, 2014 08:17 AM

                                I agree. It is not fake anything, but real cauliflower.

                                1. re: magiesmom
                                  monavano RE: magiesmom Jul 21, 2014 08:27 AM

                                  Agree, too.
                                  It's cute to call it fauxtatoes or whatever, but for me, it's a similar experience to whipped potatoes.
                                  Not so much the taste, but the application and texture are similar, and I find myself grabbing a head of cauliflower instead of a handful of potatoes quite often now.
                                  Also, I adore that I can knock the dish out early and get the prep, cooking and clean up out of the way.

                                  1. re: monavano
                                    mcf RE: monavano Jul 21, 2014 08:31 AM

                                    You can *really* cut down on cleanup, too, if you do it with a bit of water in a microwave safe covered dish. Especially if it's one you can use a blender stick in. And they make great leftovers.

                                    1. re: mcf
                                      monavano RE: mcf Jul 21, 2014 08:37 AM

                                      I haven't tried steaming in the micro yet.
                                      I start my pot with steamer insert.
                                      Quarter head.
                                      While it steams, I set up my FP and get additional ingredients.
                                      Dump into FP, blend and place in bowl.
                                      Cover and refrigerated for later.

                                      I haven't tried the immersion blender- I'll give the micro/immersion blender method a whirl next time.

                                      1. re: monavano
                                        mcf RE: monavano Jul 21, 2014 08:39 AM

                                        I nuke it whole, 12-15 minutes depending on size, blend in the dish with add ins, chill or serve and done.

                                        I will give it some time on a towel, whole or broken or blot if it seems very wet.

                                        I am One Lazy Cook.

                                        1. re: mcf
                                          monavano RE: mcf Jul 21, 2014 08:48 AM

                                          I'm with you- when I can knock out the better part of the meal/prep early, and clean, I feel so much better than starting to tackle the task after 5pm.

                              2. a
                                Ama658 RE: tcamp Jul 21, 2014 09:47 AM

                                My family LOVES cauliflower puree. But, I don't pretend that it's mashed potatoes--it's not gonna taste like potato :)

                                My current method us to do 1/2 my cauliflower in a steamer and 1/2 in the microwave. I want the microwave part to be dry, so I skip adding water. It's normally getting shriveled & brown on top by the time I finish. I hand mixer them together with plenty of salt & some garlic. No dairy, so a bit of almond milk or water from my steamer as needed.
                                We serve it with steaks & it gets requested. I may have hidden the leftovers last time I made it... ;)

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Ama658
                                  monavano RE: Ama658 Jul 21, 2014 09:49 AM

                                  Cauliflower puree has become our favorite side for our "steakhouse" dinners.
                                  It holds its own, IMO.

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