Lighter Mashed 'Potatoes'
My Recipe for Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

What does it take to create nearly the same mouthfeel and flavor of traditional mashed potatoes, except low-calorie and low-carb? Ditching the potatoes! For anyone looking for a low-cal and low-carb substitute for potatoes, try mashing cooked cauliflower and turnips with the usual butter and milk plus a splash of Tabasco which – do not ask me how or why, it stumps me – makes all the difference in the taste.

Lighter Mashed 'Potatoes' (Cauliflower Mashed Poatoes)

Turns out, there are two ways to concoct a steaming bowl of light ‘n’ fluffy mashed potatoes. The first calls for a dairy’s worth of butter and cream. The second calls for – get this! – ditching the spuds entirely!

These ‘potatoes’ are really cauliflower and turnips, cooked and mashed. Texture-wise, the mouthfeel is like traditional mashed potatoes except lighter. Taste-wise, once the ‘feel’ of mashed potatoes is present, the two vegetables are subtle enough that you just might not notice!

Now before Mr. Potato Head accuses me of potato-ism, please know that I love potatoes! In fact, you just might say that only a potato fiend fan would collect this many potato recipes.

But not everyone eats potatoes, either by choice or by prescription. There are the dieters, the whole low carb craze and all. And there are the diabetics, whose blood glucose skyrockets when confronted with too many carbs.

The great news is that this recipe for 'low-carb potatoes' is delicious for everyone. I recommend serving it with something, say under a bowl of stew, rather than on its own.

Now to be honest, when my dad first tried my new low-carb 'potatoes', he sniffed, "There's no substitute for the Irish potato." But another taste-tester with certified culinary credentials thought otherwise, "This could pass for potatoes, no question."

Which camp is yours? Decide for yourself!

CELERIAC MASHED "POTATOES" If you like, substitute celery root (also called celeriac) for the cauliflower. It adds a subtle touch of celery flavor that’s quite lovely. Celeriac is expensive, however, so use a small head with one to two pounds of turnips. The celeriac takes longer to cook so cook them alone for about 15 minutes before adding the turnips.

CAULIFLOWER IS THE LOW-CARB SUBSTITUTE FOR POTATOES & OTHER STARCHES I'm especially fond of Cauliflower Spanish 'Rice' and many people love this no-potato Cauliflower "Potato" Salad.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. What's your favorite trick to avoid carbs? Just send me a recipe via e-mail, How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Mashed cauliflower and turnips, really,
but so close, your mouth will do a double-take.
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes about 4 cups
  • Salted water to cover
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 head cauliflower, trimmed, core removed, cut into large florets
  • 1/2 pound (or more) turnips, trimmed and cubed
  • 1/4 cup whole milk or half & half (fat-free half & half works great, so does buttermilk)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or sage
  • Tabasco to taste (don’t skip)
  • Salt and white pepper to taste

Bring the salted water and bay leaf to a boil; add the cauliflower and turnips as they’re prepped. Reduce heat to maintain a fast simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through. Drain well and transfer to a food processor (see TIPS) and process until smooth.

TO SERVE IMMEDIATELY Return to the hot pan on medium high heat. Stirring often, cook off the excess liquid, about 5 – 10 minutes. (Do take the time to cook off the liquid, otherwise, the wateriness will mar the final product.) Stir in remaining ingredients. Transfer to serving bowl. Serve and enjoy!

TO MAKE AHEAD After mashing, stir in about 4 ounces of low-fat cream cheese along with the milk, butter, herbs and Tabasco. Transfer into a well-greased baking dish. Sprinkle with additional chopped fresh herbs. Cover with foil and refrigerate. Return to room temperature. Bake for about 30 minutes at 300F or until hot clear through.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Half Cup: 66 Calories; 3g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 8mg Cholesterol; 76mg Sodium; 8g Carb; 3g Fiber; 4g Sugar; 3g Protein.
WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 1, PointsPlus 2
Adapted from Greene on Greens by Bert Greene.
ALANNA’s TIPS I’ve tried hand mashing, an immersion blender and a hand mixer. Sorry, none really work. It takes more power to get closest to the texture of mashed potatoes. There's some irony there, in that putting potatoes themselves into a food processor creates a mucky mess of glue-like potatoes, not recommended. If you like, ‘doctor’ the mashed cauliflower and turnips however you do mashed potatoes. The familiarity may help your family adjust!

A Menu To Experiment with Lighter Mashed 'Potatoes'

Fresh Vegetables with Easy Radish Spread
Beef & Mushroom Stew
Lighter Mashed 'Potatoes' (recipe above)
Lettuce Greens with Buttermilk Balsamic Dressing
Lemon Pots

More Ways To Serve Lighter Mashed 'Potatoes'

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Cranberry Sauce Chicken with Creamy Cider Gravy Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

from A Veggie Venture, my food blog
~ more cauliflower recipes ~
~ more turnip recipes ~
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I've become totally converted to using a ricer for my mashed potatoes. I wonder how these would work in that...

  2. A ricer may well work, since you can exert hard pressure to push the vegetables through. It sure is worth a good try, Ellen!

  3. I used to make these when we were doing Adkins, and they really are very, very good. Tip: cauliflower can also be turned into a great Spanish rice!

  4. While I still drool at the thought of REAL mashed potatoes, I've discovered the joy of mashed cauliflower and another favorite is a mash of turnips, carrots and parsnips. They may not be the same as potatoes, but they are truly tasty none the less and perfect for low-carb dieting.

  5. Sally ~ Spanish rice! More info, please, dear!

    Ruth ~ Yummy combination. I know that my whole family is already fiendish for Mashed Potatoes & Carrots so converting to turnips, thanks to you, is my next project! Thanks for the inspiration.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna