By Hitha Palepu
The chill of winter begs for warm, comfort foods. This creamy cauliflower recipe warms the bones and soul while packing a rich, nutrient punch. Creamy cauliflower makes the perfect side dish or satisfying vegetarian meal when combined with vegetables and a bit of cheese.
Creamy Cauliflower Mash
8 cups bite-size cauliflower florets (about 1 head or two bags of frozen cauliflower)
4 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk (no buttermilk? Mix 1 cup of milk with one tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar)
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Snipped fresh chives for garnish
Cook the cauliflower and garlic, either by steaming in a basket over boiling water for 12 to 15 minutes or cook the cauliflower and garlic in the microwave by adding ¼ cup water, cover and cook on high for 3 to 5 minutes. Place the cooked cauliflower and garlic in a food processor. Add buttermilk, 2 teaspoons oil, butter, salt and pepper; pulse several times, then process until smooth and creamy. You can also blend the ingredients in a mixing bowl with a immersion blender. Transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and garnish with chives, if desired. Serve hot. For a hearty one-dish meal, place the mash in a square baking dish, top with caramelized onions, wine-cooked mushrooms, and shredded Parmesan or goat cheese, and bake for 12-15 minutes at 350°F.