A creamy, flavorful, and healthy side dish perfect for Thanksgiving.
T-minus 5 days until Thanksgiving! I cannot wait. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. What is there not to love? It’s a day to spend time with friends and family and eat delicious food! A win win!
This year, we are celebrating Thanksgiving with my husband’s family and I am pumped. Their thanksgiving is an absolute blast and I look forward to it all year long. I hit the jackpot with my family-in-law. They are a fun, crazy group that know how to have a good time. I genuinely love spending time with them and they make holidays memorable and exciting.
We start the day with a 5K – which gets pretty competitive with the cousins. My husband had been the reigning champion for a few years, but his old age is catching up to him and his younger cousins stripped him from his title 😊
After the 5K, we head back to my husband’s parent’s house for a Bloody Mary party. Not only does my father-in-law excel in the old fashioned department, he also makes a mean Bloody Mary! This is not your average Bloody Mary party. First, there is a decked out Bloody Mary bar with all the fixings you can imagine to create a spectacular bloody Mary: cheese, sausage, shrimp cocktail, olives, celery spices, sliders, and MORE. The family then divides into teams and compete for the wildest, most creative Bloody Mary cocktail. Here are some examples:
Last year, the winning team created a nautical inspired Bloody Mary (the first picture). After the winner is crowned, we enjoy a few cocktails, snack, on apps, and watch football.
Finally, later in the evening, we get dressed up and head over to my husband’s aunt and uncle’s house for the big dinner. Everyone contributes and brings over a dish. They have all the classics: Brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes, salad, stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls, and an assortment of pies. Did I mention that my husband’s family is also full of amazing cooks? Everything taste delicious – I always leave with a very full belly. To top it all off, one of my husband’s uncles spends all day smoking the turkey to perfection. It is AMAZING! You can see why I look forward to this big event!
I have a new recipe I am sharing this year that I think (fingers crossed) everyone will love: roasted garlic ricotta mashed cauliflower.
This is a great, healthy alternative to your typical mashed potato recipe. But it is still packed with flavor. You really can’t even tell that cauliflower is substituted for the potatoes. I swear!
Let’s get to cooking.
The first step is boiling the cauliflower to soften it and prepare it for mashing. You want to cut your cauliflower into small chunks and put them in boiling vegetable broth (or chicken broth). The smaller the chunks the faster they will cook. You should boil them for about 12-15 minutes or until fork tender. I also use vegetable/chicken broth as my boiling liquid because it imparts a lot of the flavor into the cauliflower.
Let’s take a minute to give cauliflower some much deserved praise. Cauliflower is a rockstar vegetable. It has so many health benefits: helps fight inflammation, improves digestion and detoxification, and even reduces cancer. It is also low in fat and carbs. And, since it is mild in flavor, you can use it in so many different applications: it can be used as rice, a pizza crust, hummus, or a thickener in a smoothie. You can stay traditional and simply season it and roast it. I have even used it to make vegetarian buffalo bites. Or, as I did this time, you can mash it up into creamy goodness. The possibilities are endless. Thank you cauliflower for being so great and easy to use….ok let’s get back to the recipe!
Once the cauliflower is fork tender, drain the broth and place the cauliflower back into the pot. Add the ricotta, onion powder, roasted garlic, butter, salt and pepper and mash until all the ingredients are well incorporated and it is the consistency of mashed potatoes.
How to roast garlic: Roasting garlic is easy. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Take a head of garlic and peel away the paper like, outer layer. Toss the garlic in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Wrap the garlic in foil. And roast for 30-40 minutes or until the garlic is browned and caramelized. You will only need 2 teaspoons for this recipe, but you can store the remaining roasted garlic in the fridge for a week or so. And trust me, you will want to use the rest of the roasted garlic. Roasted garlic is magical – sweet, nutty, and garlicky. It is good just smeared on a baguette or toast. You will love it.
The roasted garlic, with its sweet, nutty aromas, adds so much wonderful flavor to the dish. The ricotta makes it creamy and delicious, so it mimics the texture of traditional mashed potatoes. Finally, the butter adds a little fat and richness to the dish.
I topped the mashed cauliflower with lemon basil olive oil, cracked black pepper, and fresh chopped parsley. It adds just a little more zing of flavor and a pop of color, so the dish looks pretty on your Thanksgiving table. If you do not have flavored olive oil, you can simply use fresh squeezed lemon juice and regular olive oil.
I am excited to share this recipe with my family this Thanksgiving. I think they will be pleasantly surprised to learn that this dish is made from good ole cauliflower. With its creamy texture and bold flavor, I am confident it will rival the other great dishes at the Thanksgiving table.
I hope you all enjoy it too!
Roasted Garlic Ricotta Mashed Cauliflower
Roasted Garlic Ricotta Mashed Cauliflower
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/3 cup ricotta
- 1 T butter
- 2 tsps. roasted garlic
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut cauliflower into small chunks. The smaller, the better (because they will cook faster).
- Add vegetable broth (or chicken broth if not vegetarian) and cauliflower chunks to a pot. Bring to a boil and let boil for 12-15 minutes, or until cauliflower is fork tender.
- Drain cauliflower and add back to pot.
- Add ricotta, roasted garlic, butter and onion powder to a pot.
- With a potato masher or immersion blender, mix all the ingredients until well-combined but still a little chunky.
- Add in salt and pepper. Taste and adjust as needed.
- Serve and Enjoy!