Pinterest has all of these freakin’ crazy ideas about food substitutions that will make you look just like the well-toned scantily-clad ab-crunching extremely photoshopped girls that are unfortunately plastered on way too many pins.

“Broccoli so good it tastes like steak!”

“Baked Zucchini sticks that are better than French fries!”

“Whipped Eggplant that you will swear is butter!”

“Tofu Smoothies that will make you think you’re drinking a fruity drink with an umbrella poolside in Aruba while weighing 95 pounds and in a string bikini next to your husband who looks like he just jumped off the GQ magazine! And wait – you two are going for a ride on dolphins immediately after finishing your Tofu Delight, and you still have two weeks of this vacation left and a million dollars of spending money!”

I often find Pinterest to be delusional to the point of needing a straight jacket, if they made one for websites.

But one dish that I will vouch for – with a few caveats – is Mashed Cauliflower.

Mashed Cauliflower: How to avoid the putrid pitfalls and {maybe} get your kids to eat it.

It really is [nearly] as good as mashed potatoes.


There are some very important rules that must be adhered to if you truly want this dish to make you smile rather than gag.

Rule Number One. When boiling the cauliflower, it will smell like an eighth grade boy’s gym bag after being trapped in his locker for an entire semester. If you don’t want to have your stomach turned before you even eat it, you must start boiling the cauliflower and think happy thoughts with a rose jammed up your nose. Or drive ten miles away.

The smell is so strong, in fact, that…

Chris was showering during my dinner prep the last time I made this dish. He was toweling off and caught a whiff. “Is my towel mildewed?” … he sat there for a minute and then caught another whiff. “I swear I just got this towel out of the closet! How can it have turned already??” … a few seconds later he caught a third whiff. “Oh I know what is going on! I bet Rachel’s boiling cauliflower downstairs.”

In its native form, the steam rising off of this vegetable could be used as a weapon in The Hunger Games.

Mashed Cauliflower: How to avoid the putrid pitfalls and {maybe} get your kids to eat it.

Rule Number Two. You must beat the smell back within an inch of its life by stripping the vegetable of its nutritional purity through the process of pelting it with butter, sour cream, and generous amounts of sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Mashed Cauliflower: How to avoid the putrid pitfalls and {maybe} get your kids to eat it.

Because we all know that even whipped sewer water can taste good if properly buttered.

Rule Number Three. This dish must be eaten piping hot. The longer the mashed cauliflower has to sit, the more of its natural musk molecules defeat the Butter Overlords and take back control. So do not plate this dish until you have your spoon in your hand and blessings are prayed.

Rule Number Four. DO NOT, under any circumstances, allow your children to see that this dish was made with cauliflower or that it is associated in any way with the rotting garbage odors that they smelled a few minutes ago. THIS DISH IS TO BE CALLED MASHED POTATOES, nothing more, nothing less. If they’re not familiar with such, then tell them “It’s like the insides of French Fries!”, and that may be just the key you need.

Rule Number Five. Your children still may cry twice and gag three times upon the tasting of this meal. This is no reflection on your ability to turn a putrid-smelling vegetable into a southern tradition. This is only due to the fact that you’ve allowed your children to eat far too many boxed pancakes, chicken and fries, and Lunchables.

(On second thought, Rule Number Five may only apply to me. I’m sure the rest of you have your children trained to eat Spinach and Beet Soufflé three nights a week.)

(My children, on the other hand, find me unqualified to boil water. My three-year-old told me on Saturday, “Don’t forget to spray the pan when you make cinnamon rolls. Remember that time you almost forgot and I had to tell you? That was SO. FUNNY.”)

(I bet The Pioneer Woman never gets such cheekiness when she makes cinnamon rolls.)

Rule Number Six. The odor returns in a different form about an hour after this dish is consumed. Don’t eat this side if you plan on having the Queen of England over for dessert.

Rule Number Seven. If you have leftovers and plan on reheating this dish, simply unplug your microwave, take it to the farthest point of your driveway, run an extension cord, replug your microwave, and proceed to reheat your Mashed Cauliflower. You’ll lose neighbors over it, but at least you won’t singe the entire family’s nose hairs and foul the carpets.

I’m certain that you’re asking yourself by now, “is this a recipe post?” and the answer is that I’m not sure. But if, after all this, you still want to attempt Mashed Cauliflower (which I find absolutely delicious and just as good as mashed potatoes as long as the above seven steps are executed correctly,) here’s what I do:

1. Cut up one head of Cauliflower into large chunks. Cover in water, douse with large amounts of sea salt, and boil until soft – about 10 minutes.

2. Drain, put into food processor with 4 tbsp of Butter, about 1/3 c. of sour cream, and extreme amounts of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Blend until your kid’s ears bleed from the noise.

3. Keep sealed in the blender until you lop it onto your kid’s plates.

4. And never forget. It’s MASHED POTATOES.

What Pinterest Food Hacks have you found that are actually edible?

33 thoughts on “Pinterest and The Potato Substitute.

  1. So Cauliflower with Sour cream and massive amounts of butter is healthier than potatoes with massive amounts of butter?

    Maybe just barely.

    Sexy abs here I come!!

    1. It absolutely is healthy if you’re eating a low-carb high-fat diet. I don’t have the sexy 6-pack yet but 22 lbs down so far! :)

  2. PS. I signed up for Pinterest a few weeks ago. It overwhelmed me. I panicked, and I haven’t tried to look at it again. I was planning a Sesame Street party for my 2 year old. Some people ACTUALLY had themed Sesame Street party and gave away goldfish in little baggies as the “thank-you-for-coming-to-my-party-gift.” As in, Elmo’s pet goldfish, Dorothy.
    If Pinterest is about stinky cauliflower parading as creamed potatoes and take home gifts of goldfish for 2 year old birthday parties…. then NO Thank you, I’m OUT!

  3. I made these last night for my crew. One thing I sometimes do is use half potatoes/half cauliflower if I have a partial bag of taters around. I steam the cauliflower and use the mixer to get it all whipped together. And yes, it’s always mashed potatoes no matter the potato content :)

  4. I’ve made a few smoothies and desserts from Pinterest recipes, but nothing too ambitious. The one thing I could not tolerate was a green smoothie–it didn’t matter if I used kale or spinach, it always turned out gross.

  5. I have to wonder if 100+ years ago they’d always made mashed cauliflower & then discovered the potato & if Pinterest had been around then the potato would’ve been the “it” food. “Tastes just like mashed cauliflower but without the smell!!!” Lol

  6. Also I typically microwave my cauli to avoid most of the smell issue. Leftovers ARE pretty stinky but typically fine once reheated. :)

  7. I haven’t tried mashing cauliflower yet, but I’ve been subbing riced, sautéed cauli for regular rice for awhile now and love it. I may actually prefer it.

  8. Mmmm cauliflower! My mother, and now I too, always baked it. I bet the smell is why. I’ll take your word for it.

  9. I found one to get cupcakes to rise instead being flat tops. It was just modifying the cook time and temp by a smidge but it worked! Boiled cauliflower and boiled cabbage are two smells that I just can’t do though!!!

  10. My husband HATES cauliflower so there is no way I could get away with this. And my kids don’t like mashed potatoes (were they born in a barn??) anyway. I am continually amazed by those Pinterest posts. Either these people don’t have taste buds or they truly are delusional! The Kale “potato chips” taste nothing like potato chips. More like you’re eating a dried out leaf you found on the sidewalk. And the “healthy no bake cookies” made with bananas….”sweetened cardboard guaranteed to make you gag” is more like it. Apparently I’m just not made to like “health” food.

  11. We love cauliflower at our house! Our favorite recipe is Cauli-rice. We put the raw cauliflower in the food processor and pulse it until it is in tiny rice size pieces. Then we heat it in a frying pan with coconut oil and season to taste. It’s so quick and easy and goes well with any meal that normally calls for rice. And it doesn’t smell nearly as bad as the mashed cauliflower.
    P.S. I posted this. because I saw your facebook post. :-)

  12. I’m sorry. I have tried the cauliflower mashed potatoes multiple times, and they still just taste like cauliflower to me. And I hate cauliflower. My mom likes to make the cauliflower/potato blended version often, and I can’t stand that either.

    Another low carb fail for me: Spaghetti Squash. Looks like spaghetti, tastes like squash.

    Kale chips, on the other hand- one of my favorite foods. Seriously, I could eat them every day. It’s all in how you season them prior to roasting, though. (I like Malt Salt, real sea salt, and both real lemon juice and True Lemon crystals. Reminds me of Salt & Vinegar chips.) You also have to use plenty of oil- olive and/or coconut.

  13. I just tried asparagus fries last night and loved them. I like asparagus anyway, but having them crusted with panko and parmesan was delicious! With the green showing through the breading, though, you definitely couldn’t just sub them for regular fries.

  14. I roast my cauliflower first instead of boiling, and throw in some garlic, red peppers and onions on the same tray, so the smell is rather pleasant. Then, I puree them all together with yogurt and seasonings. It smells good, tastes good, and my children still look at me funny when it’s on the table!

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