I’m just gonna lay it out there: straight cauliflower mash is a lie.
Maybe it’s my English-Irish heritage speaking, but if it ain’t got juuuust the right mouthfeel, it’s not mash. I’ve always maintained that while “cauliflower mash” can be tasty, it’s definitely closer to a puree than to anything I think is truly deserving of the title “mash”.
Of course, that’s not helpful to hear if you can’t eat potatoes. So that’s where my parsnip & cauliflower mash steps right up and says, “I got you”.
The blend of the two vegetables helps give that tater-like texture I crave. The parsnips bring the starchiness that really creates a potato-y texture, while the cauliflower lightens up the parsnips’ density and brings some creaminess that makes the combination whip up perfectly.
The other thing I love about this parsnip & cauliflower mash combo is that it doesn’t need any milk, coconut milk or milk-esque alternatives to achieve its full, creamy, silky finish.
When you’re adding a dairy or non-dairy milk alternative, all you’re really introducing is a form of fat that’s in a liquid suspension. But the thing is: cauliflower mash desperately needs to avoid added moisture. One of the key reasons that cauliflower mash fails to quite satisfy is because its low carb nature, paired with its relatively high water content, means you get more of a puree than a mash, like I said earlier.
Adding a milk-type ingredient to cauliflower mash doesn’t help that problem, it exacerbates it.
So here, I’ve only used a little additional fat – scented with plenty of fresh garlic – to help bring my potato-ish mash together.
And there’s one other trick that I use when it comes to cauliflower mash: when I drain the vegetables, I don’t mash them straight away. Instead, I let the parsnips and cauliflower hang out together in the colander until they stop dissipating steam.
It’s an additional 10 – 15 minutes – where you have to do absolutely nothing, effort-wise! – that makes all the difference. So don’t skip it. Seriously.
Letting the steam evaporate before you start to break the vegetables down makes for a creamier, less watery mash than you get if you start mashing them straight after you drain them. With the steam dissipated, you don’t introduce lots of extra water, so you get a thicker and creamier cauliflower mash. for literally no extra effort.
Now I’m not going to fib to you. This blend of parsnip & cauliflower mash does taste like it should: it has a slight sweetness from the parsnips that comes through. I think it pairs gorgeously with the garlic and chives, but although delicious, it’s not quite mashed potatoes.
The texture, however, is pretty damn close to mashed potatoes, especially if you’re serving this with a sauce heavy meal or beneath a generous helping of gravy. At that point, you might just be fooled by this parsnip & cauliflower mash. It’s pretty darn good. Even my begrudging English-Irish inner voice agrees.Print
Creamiest Parsnip & Cauliflower Mash with Garlic & Chives
One simple trick makes the creamiest cauliflower mash, with a hint of sweetness & a more potato-like texture, finished with plenty of garlic & chives. No milk or milk substitutes necessary!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes, plus 15 minutes cooling / draining time
- Yield: 6 cups / 1.4 kg, serves 6 - 8
- Category: side dishes, vegetables
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: English, Irish, American
- 2 lbs / 900 g parsnips
- 1 1/2 lbs / 680 g cauliflower, about one medium head
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml lard, butter or ghee, see notes, I like this ghee
- 1 1/4 tsp / 6 g fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, omit for aip
- 1/4 cup / 10 g fresh minced chives, or 2 tbsp of dried chives like these
SOFTEN: Peel the parsnips and slice them into 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick pieces. I usually chop the larger, thicker ends of the parsnips in half through the core before slicing them. If the inner cores are especially tough, you can quarter the parsnips and then cut out and discard the cores completely.Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, then add the parsnips. Reduce the heat enough to keep the water at an even light boil, then cook the parsnips for about 7 – 8 minutes.
COOK: While the parsnips are getting a head start, chop the cauliflower into evenly sized florets. Add the florets to the parsnips and bring back to a boil. Cook until the cauliflower is fork tender, about another 8 – 10 minutes.
DRAIN: Carefully tip the cooked vegetables into a colander and let them drain completely. Let the drained vegetables sit in the colander until the vegetables almost completely stop giving off steam, about 15 minutes. Letting the steam evaporate off makes for a creamier mash, letting the steam escape instead of blending it right into the vegetables like you would usually do, which creates a soggier, more waterlogged mash. Don’t skip this step, it makes a big difference!
WARM: While the vegetables are cooling, warm the butter or oil of choice in a small saucepan over low medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring often, until the garlic is aromatic but doesn’t start to brown, about a minute or two. Remove the garlic butter mixture from the heat.
MASH: Remove the small pusher from the top of the food processor lid, to give you a large air vent that lets steam escape while you run the food processor. Spoon about half of the vegetables into a large food processor (mine is a 14 cup model) and process until reduced, then add the rest of the vegetables, salt & pepper, if using. Process until smooth and combined, scraping the sides once or twice as needed. Add the garlic butter mixture to the processor and process until light and fluffy. Taste and adjust seasonings, if you like.
SERVE: You can either sprinkle the chives over the top of the parsnip & cauliflower mash for a prettier presentation, or you can stir them through just before serving. (If you like, you can also add them to the food processor at the very last minute, but take care not to over blend the mash at that point or the chives will just disappear.)
If you’re in the elimination phase of the AIP, avoid butter or ghee. You can use the fat of your choice here, but make sure it’s one that you like the flavor of, since it will come through the flavor of the vegetables. Try lard, rendered bacon fat for a smoky flavor, avocado oil or even a mild flavored olive oil.
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