Purple Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes" with Pesto

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Purple Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes with Pesto

I'm a huge fan of any recipe that uses the entire fruit or vegetable, especially when you consider that we waste 50% of our food here in the United States. So the more I can get out of something, the better.

Plus, it makes it a lot cheaper to eat!

Which is why the pesto in this recipe is not the traditional recipe you are used to. It is made from the green leaves of the cauliflower plant. Yes, we are going use it all!


Here is what you will need:

  • 1 Cauliflower
  • Pine nuts (about 1/8 cup)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Garlic powder (optional)
  • Sea salt (optional)

If you're wondering why I chose a purple cauliflower, well there were two reasons. One, it is pretty. Yah, I'm that shallow. But regular cauliflower also doesn't photograph as well. The purple pops! Secondly, purple cauliflower has a sweeter and nuttier taste. It's subtle but it is there. And since I was going to use pine nuts in my pesto, I figured it would pair nicely. And it did.

Purple Cauliflower

1. Remove the cauliflower's leaves and chop the head and the stalk.

I prefer to clean cauliflower after it has been chopped. It's all those nooks and crannies.

2. Using a large mixing bowl, cover the cauliflower with about an inch of cold water and add 1 tablespoon of vinegar. It helps get the dirt out. Let it soak for about 15 minutes and then rinse it thoroughly. You don't want your "mashed potatoes" to have a vinegar aftertaste.

3. Bake the cauliflower (any parts that aren't leafy) for about an hour at 350 degrees until it is very tender.

purple cauliflower in baking dish

4. To create the pesto, finely chop the leaves and the pine nuts, and combine them with some olive oil in small mixing bowl. You want to use just enough olive oil to coat the ingredients.

making pesto

5. Once the cauliflower is done baking, puree it in a food processor or mash it.

6. Mix in some garlic powder and salt.

While I use fresh garlic 99% of the time, I really wanted the flavor you find in garlic powder for this recipe. I do something similar in my pasta sauce. I will use both fresh oregano and dried oregano; they taste different but add something special to the dish.

Cauliflower in food processor

You can serve the cauliflower now by finishing it with the pesto or serve it twice-baked as I did in the video.


Purple Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes with Pesto