Indian Spiced Mashed Cauliflower

Indian Spiced Cauliflower 1

Is it just me, or does it seem like a lot of folks are eating Paleo these days?  I’m not sure whether it’s because of the popularity of  Crossfit or whether people just find that they feel better cutting out grains, sugar and whatever else it is that Paleo people don’t eat.  Probably a combination of both.

I was skimming some Paleo cookbooks looking for recipe inspiration awhile back and noticed that mashed cauliflower is the go-to substitute for mashed potatoes, although a quick Google search certainly seems to indicate it’s popular dish for both low carbers and Regular Joes alike.   But most of the recipes I found online were loaded with cream or butter to replicate the same taste as the rich original dish.

Cauliflower Florets

Now I have nothing against butter or cream, but plain mashed potatoes aren’t something I often make (or crave) outside of Thanksgiving dinner. But when I came across an Indian recipe for spiced mashed potatoes from my favorite Indian cookbook author, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to try the cauliflower for potato substitution.

Indian Spiced Cauliflower 2

In this vegan and gluten-free dish cooked cauliflower (I boiled mine, but steaming or roasting would also work) is pureed, topped with a spicy mustard seed and turmeric onion topping, and garnished with plenty of chopped cilantro.  No bland cauliflower here- this stuff is like a party for your mouth.

Whether you’re following a Paleo diet, cutting out nightshade vegetables due to an autoimmune issue, or just really like cauliflower, I think this will become one of your new favorites.  It was a definite hit around here…

Indian Spiced Cauliflower 3


Indian Spiced Mashed Cauliflower

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes


* 1 medium to large head cauliflower, cut into florets
* salt
* 2 Tablespoons oil
* 1-1/2 teaspoons yellow or brown mustard seeds
* 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
* 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
* 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro


Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the cauliflower and cook until the cauliflower is easily pierced with a fork, about 6 minutes. Drain very well and return to the stockpot over the still warm (but turned off) burner. Cover and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Place the cauliflower florets in the base of a food processor or high speed blender. Process until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and scoop onto a shallow serving bowl.

In a small saucepan heat the oil over high heat until the oil begins to smoke. Add the mustard seeds and immediately cover with a lid or a splatter screen. When the mustard seeds begin to slow down/stop popping, add the turmeric, cayenne pepper and red onion. Cook, stirring, for about a minute, just until the onion begins to soften. Scatter the mixture over the cauliflower and garnish with the cilantro leaves. Swirl the mixture together just before serving.

Loosely Adapted from/Inspired by Quick Fix Indian: Easy, Exotic Dishes in 30 Minutes or Less by Ruta Kahate

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12 Responses to “Indian Spiced Mashed Cauliflower”

  1. #
    Theresatron — April 22, 2013 at 6:51 am

    I’ve just discovered (or should I say RE-discovered) cauliflower after a long period of animosity between us. Don’t blame me, who wouldn’t be a little irked at being forcible fed cauliflower that has been boiled to within an inch of its and my life! But recently I gave it a second chance with garlic and Parmesan cheese and it was awesome. To think I spent all those years traumatized and missing out on this wonderful vegetable! This will certainly be on my list of meals next week


    • Cate — April 22nd, 2013 @ 6:48 pm

      I totally know what you mean. I think it was a roasted cauliflower recipe that finally made me appreciate it- now I can’t get enough!


  2. #
    Barbara — April 22, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Looks so GOOD! A nice reminder that we haven’t had cauliflower in ages!!


  3. #
    Sarah @ Homestyle Cooking Around The World — April 27, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    I love the looks of this dish- all the Indian flavors and can’t wait to try this!. I have also branched out with the cauliflower and been very pleased at how well it goes with so many different things. I used it recently to make an alfredo type pasta sauce and it was wonderful! I need to try some dishes with it roasted also.


    • Cate — April 27th, 2013 @ 6:34 pm

      An alfredo type pasta sauce? That’s so brilliant! And yes, I definitely encourage you to try it roasted… it’s what finally turned me on to cauliflower :)


  4. #
    Laura @ In Widening Circles — May 6, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Made this tonight to go with some chicken tikka masala. It was amazing!! Thanks so much.


    • Cate — May 7th, 2013 @ 11:53 pm

      Yay! So glad you liked it Laura! Thanks so much for commenting to let me know :)


  5. #
    Jenn from Much to My Delight — May 26, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Made this tonight for dinner… it was excellent! Thank you so much for sharing!


    • Cate — May 26th, 2013 @ 4:18 pm

      So glad you liked it Jenn! Thanks so much for commenting to let me know :)


  6. #
    ginhoegun — September 17, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    Made this tonight as a side with your South Indian Pineapple with Chile and Mustard Seeds and a butter chicken recipe I found elsewhere. I was a little skeptical but your photos persuaded me to give it a try. My hubby was even more skeptical but we were both BOWLED OVER at how good it was! My only change will be to double it next time. A great substitute when you don’t want potatoes or rice and the flavors were just wonderful. Kudos to you and thank you from our happy mouths. It is a keeper!!!


    • Cate — October 4th, 2014 @ 4:25 pm

      Ha- thanks for giving it a try! Glad you guys liked it :)


  7. #
    bristol plasterer — May 28, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    this sounds good. Something new to try as well. thanks for sharing this recipe.



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