This Loaded Mashed Cauliflower recipe is a low carb version of everyone’s favorite side dish, the loaded baked potato. Creamy mashed cauliflower is mixed with shredded cheddar, crisp bacon, and fresh green onions for a satisfying gluten-free, keto recipe.
The Best Loaded Mashed Cauliflower
Loaded. Mashed. Cauliflower.
Just let that deliciousness sink in for a few minutes.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a potato just as much as the next girl, but sometimes you need to switch things up a bit and bring a different kind of veggie to the mix. That being said, the last thing I ever want to do is compromise on flavor, so if we are going to do mashed cauliflower around here, we have to do it right.
Thankfully, this recipe could not be anymore delicious or satisfying. This loaded mashed cauliflower recipe has shredded cheddar, crisp bacon, fresh green onions, and plenty of fresh garlic to keep things interesting. It’s so good you may find yourself choosing cauliflower over potatoes and, as good as this recipe is, I honestly would not blame you.
Cauliflower: The Perfect Low Carb Potato Substitute
What can cauliflower NOT do? These days we have cauliflower rice, pizza crust, gnocchi, and it seems there is a new way to use cauliflower every other day.
One of my personal favorite ways to use cauliflower is to mash it like potatoes and make a creamy mashed cauliflower. I won’t lie to you and say something crazy like, “it tastes just like mashed potatoes” (it just does not, y’all), but what I will say is that mashed cauliflower is absolutely delicious in its own right and a great way to add another veggie and more fiber to your meal.
The Ingredients You’ll Need for this Recipe
While mashed cauliflower with a little salt, pepper, and ghee is a delicious starting point, when you add fresh garlic and those classic loaded baked potato ingredients you end up with a mashed cauliflower that is out of this world good. Here is a rundown of what you need to make this recipe.
Fresh cauliflower: For this recipe I prefer to use fresh cauliflower instead of frozen florets or cauliflower rice. One large head of cauliflower, or roughly 8 cups of fresh cauliflower florets should be enough.
Garlic: To get the most flavor, this recipe uses fresh garlic cloves instead of garlic powder for that garlicky flavor. Do not worry though, there is no need for you to mince or chop the garlic. Just throw the whole cloves into the water when you are boiling the cauliflower.
Full fat coconut milk: Full fat coconut milk is my milk of choice when making mashed cauliflower or mashed potatoes. Full fat coconut milk is canned which means it is shelf stable until opening, which is a great option if you do not tend to eat or cook with a ton of dairy.
It is also a great substitute for heavy cream. Of course, if you prefer, you could use half and half, heavy cream, or even buttermilk if you would like.
Ghee: Ghee helps to give the cauliflower that delicious buttery flavor. You could use regular butter if you don’t have ghee.
Green onions: Ok, now it is time to talk about all of the ingredients that pack in that “loaded” flavor. First up are fresh green onions which add the classic flavor of a loaded baked potato.
Bacon: Next on the list is bacon. You cannot have loaded mashed cauliflower without plenty of crispy chopped bacon.
Shredded cheddar cheese: Last, but certainly not least, is the shredded cheddar cheese. I prefer to use a medium or sharp cheddar cheese for maximum flavor, but feel free to use a mild variety if you would like.
How to Make Loaded Mashed Cauliflower?
Step 1: The first step in making this loaded mashed cauliflower is to cook the cauliflower. To do this, trim a large head of cauliflower and cut it into large florets. Add the florets to a large pot and cover with water. Add in the fresh garlic cloves and boil the cauliflower for 15-20 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.
Step 2: Next, drain the cauliflower and garlic using a colander. Once all the water is drained, transfer the cauliflower to a food processor. Add in the coconut milk, salt, pepper, and ghee, and then pulse until smooth and creamy.
Step 3: Transfer the mashed cauliflower to a bowl and add the cheese, green onion, and chopped bacon. Stir until well combined and then top with the extra bacon, cheese, and green onion for garnish.
My Tried and True Tips for Making The Best Loaded Cauliflower
Tip #1: Drain the cauliflower well. Cauliflower has a higher water content than potatoes, so for the best results be sure to drain the cauliflower well. I like to let the cooked cauliflower drain in the colander for a few minutes before transferring to a the food processor.
Tip #2: If you prefer a chunkier mashed cauliflower texture instead of the smooth and creamy texture, you can use a potato masher instead of a food processor. This will give you a chunkier mash with more texture.
Tip #3: Shred your own cheese! I know it may be a little extra work, but I find that the cheese melts a bit creamier when I shred it myself, and we all want that creamy cheese pull.
Add the cauliflower florets to a large pot and cover with water. Add in the fresh garlic cloves and bring the cauliflower to a boil. Boil the cauliflower for 15-20 minutes until tender.
Drain the cauliflower and garlic using a colander. Once all the water is drained, transfer the cauliflower to a food processor. Add in the coconut milk, salt, pepper, and ghee, and then pulse until the cauliflower is smooth and creamy. Give it a taste and add more salt if you prefer.
Transfer the mashed cauliflower to a mixing bowl and add the majority of the cheese, green onion, and chopped bacon, reserving some for garnish. Stir until well combined and then top with the remaining bacon, cheese, and green onion. Serve immediately and enjoy!