Weight Watchers punishes you with points pretty severely for eating white starchy carbs and fat (even “good” fats – a teaspoon of olive or canola oil are 1 point, and so is butter), so I’ve basically given up former mainstays of my diet — potatoes, rice, and anything fried in oil or butter.
At Thanksgiving, mashed potatoes and stuffing have always been my favorite things. Just pass me the gravy, and keep that dry-as-dust turkey breast. So to appease the WW gods this year, I decided to find out if I could make cauliflower replace mashed potatoes, or if it’s simply an urban myth circulated by carb-starved stick figures.
As a veggie, I’ve been OK with cauliflower, although you’d never catch me going out of my way to eat it if anything else is available. It’s so bland and white, it seems a nutritional non-entity (although I’m sure it has many fine qualities).
Here’s what I used:
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and diced
- 1 cup 2% shredded cheese (any kind is OK, but I used sharp cheddar)
- 1/2 cup of water from boiling the cauliflower
- some spritzes of butter spray (I used I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!®)
- salt to taste
First, I made a total mess separating the florets from the stems, but it turns out you don’t have to be too picky about that because, once boiled, you really can’t tell the difference between them.
I dumped the florets into a big pot with enough water to submerge them about 2 inches and threw in the garlic. Once the water started boiling, I salted it.
The cauliflower needs to boil like crazy for 10-12 minutes, until it breaks apart when you stick a fork in it. I reserved a cup of the boiling water before dumping the cooked cauliflower into a colander.
Before beginning to mash, I added about ½ cup of the water, salted again, and gave everything a good spritzing of butter spray. Then I added the cheese.
At this point, my almost-new Cuisinart blender turned into a doorstop and dashed any hopes of puréeing, but using a whisk and a big spoon I managed to mash out the lumps.
Here’s my masterpiece, topped with more shredded cheddar and red pepper flakes.
This total dish is only 8 WW points (all coming from the cheese), so a generous 1-cup serving is about 2 points.
You know what? It tastes close enough to mashed potatoes to make me happy, and my family liked it. But, come to think of it, I don’t know if my mother had any — she’s never cooked cauliflower in her life. And it left me more room for stuffing!
(And for the record, my sister’s brined Trader Joe’s turkey cooked in a bag was NOT dry at all. A win-win all around.)