My first memories of holiday dinners are of my mom and grandmothers working the day away in the kitchen preparing a huge feast for us. They were all amazing cooks and it was a dinner we looked forward to all year long. As I got older and had a family of my own, it was still important to me that we have a special holiday dinner. Gathering around the table and taking a breather from our hectic lives to reconnect is just so important.
I didn’t want to spend my whole day stuck in the kitchen away from all the fun and while the foods that my mom and grandmothers served was really delicious, it was also laden with many ingredients that just weren’t that good for us. Several years ago, I took on the task of finding some new dishes that embraced the spirit (and flavours) of our traditional ones while being healthier and much quicker to prepare.
Over the years, our long-standing family tradition of mashed potatoes with gravy turned into roasted garlic mashed potatoes (no gravy needed) and now that has evolved into this dish which satisfies our desire for the potatoes in a much healthier dish. My family loves it! To save even more time, I’ve even prepared this recipe on the day before and heated it up on the day of our holiday feast!
Roasted Garlic and Caramelized Onion Mashed Cauliflower – Makes about 4 servings
1 large head of fresh cauliflower
1/3 – ½ large onion, chopped (I use Vidalia onion)
1 – 2 heads of garlic
Salt and pepper if desired
¼ cup low fat milk or almond milk or fat free sour cream
Olive oil – about 1-2 tablespoons
Cut the top off the garlic to expose the bulbs inside. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over and wrap in aluminum foil. Roast the garlic for 25-30 minutes in a 400 degree F oven. You want it to be soft and lightly brown in colour when it comes out of the oven.
While the garlic is roasting, pour about ½ T. of olive oil into a frying pan and sauté the chopped onions over low heat until caramelized, about 30-40 minutes. The onions should be lightly browned, translucent, and softened.
Shortly before the onions and garlic are ready, you can begin steaming the cauliflower. Use a steamer or a colander over gently bubbling water and place a lid over it. Steam for about 10 minutes until tender.
Once the onions, garlic, and cauliflower is done, it’s time to put it all together. I used a potato ricer to mash mine but an old fashioned hand potato masher, hand blender, or food processor will all do the trick. Combine all the ingredients together and blend until smooth – the consistency of mashed potatoes. Add in the milk or sour cream to further enhance the texture and flavour. Season with salt and pepper or other seasonings of choice (nutmeg is quite tasty in this but makes it taste slightly less like mashed potatoes) if desired.
You can also sprinkle with a bit of turkey bacon bits and low fat shredded cheese to make it have more of “loaded baked potato or twice baked potato” taste to it. You can still serve gravy with this if you want or another yummy way to present it is with a balsamic vinegar reduction (heat the vinegar in a saucepan over low heat until it reduces by half).
My family doesn’t even miss the mashed potatoes! What’s your family’s favourite healthy holiday recipe?
Do you have a family holiday recipe that everyone should try? Take the #BetterFoodForAll Challenge with Sobeys and you could win $1,000 in groceries! Or follow the #BetterFoodForAll hashtag on Twitter and Instagram for more holiday recipe inspiration from Canadians.
Disclosure – I received compensation in exchange for sharing one of my family’s favourite healthy holiday recipes. All ideas and opinions are my own.
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