You know what I love?
I love potatoes.
Baked. Sweet. Chip…ped. Fried.
Oh sweet, sweet french fries. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a life without french fries is a life without joy. No matter how many pounds I may need to lose down the road or how many doctors insist that I stop shoving them directly into my arteries, I could never abandon them for good.
But that’s neither here nor there.
I want to focus the conversation on mashed potatoes for a minute. I love them. Next to fries, they’re probably my favorite preparation. For Thanksgiving last year, I made Pioneer Woman’s mashed potatoes.
I don’t need to tell you that those were not not decadent.
These are not those potatoes.
In fact, those aren’t potatoes at all.
Last night after returning home after an exhausting day of work, I wanted vegetables. And comfort food. And while potatoes are technically a vegetable and most certainly comfort food, I was leaning toward something a little…leaner.
Having some cauliflower left from a week or two ago, I decided to get crazy and mash up some of that instead of a potato.
I’m going to tell you right now that I hate diet “alternatives”. Of course, I’m severely, spiritually, viscerally against sugar and fat substitutes (those fat free chips will give you anal leakage, in case you missed that memo from the ’90s), but I’m also against taking a healthy, naturally low-calorie food and passing it off as full-fat deliciousness.
“These pieces of squash taste JUST LIKE that deep fried chicken you’ve been craving!!”
No. They don’t.
So I’ll tell you right now, this is a CAULIFLOWER recipe. It’s not potatoes. It doesn’t pretend to be potatoes. If you hate cauliflower, you won’t like these.
If you hate plain, steamed cauliflower, you might love these, though. They’re way better.
Cheesy Chili Mashed Cauliflower
1 cup raw cauliflower florets
1/8 cup shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
1 T diced, green chiles (I used canned Hatch chilis)
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Bring a pot of water to boil, salt and add cauliflower.
2. Boil for 5-10 minutes until fork tender.
3. Drain cauliflower well (you don’t want any water left on them or they will be a little soggy) and mash with a potato masher or fork. Or if you’re ghetto like me, abandon the fork method and use the back of a slotted spoon because it’s faster. And fun.
4. Stir in the cheese and chilis, allowing the heat from the cauliflower to melt the cheese. Add salt and pepper.
I’m not fancy and didn’t run this through a calorie calculator, but I’ll tell you that this contains a lot fewer calories than most (ahem, PW’s) mashed potatoes.
And I even made an extra veggie to go with them because I thought there should be something on my plate without any cheese in it (secret: there’s cheese in that tortilla, too).
So, they aren’t potatoes. But they’re definitely comfort food.
Then again, there’s cheese in them. You could melt cheese over a boot and I’d be happy.