Sunday, February 3, 2013

Cauliflower Puree with Sauteed Zucchini

It's been a while since I've posted, and a lot has happened in the meantime.  We've been pretty busy - Kristin and I have packed up and moved to Wisconsin to start a pair of new jobs.  That's meant a new home, new schedules, and a new kitchen.  As we're settling back into the routine, I'm happy to find more time to think about blogging again.

Kristin and I have few fundamental disagreements when it comes to food.  One thing we just can't see eye to eye on, though, is potatoes.  She - like the rest of the world - loves them.  I - the weird one - hate them.  Since I do most of our cooking, this leaves Kristin tragically craving potatoes.  We may finally have found a good compromise, since this cauliflower puree seems to scratch that itch for her without resulting to the scourge of potatoes.

Here's what you'll need: cauliflower, zucchini, sour cream, some soft melting cheese (I used Neufchatel, and have also used goat cheese here to great effect), a bit of butter, a splash of milk, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

Feel free to vary the ingredients here to taste - much like potatoes, this puree will take to all sorts of flavors, so add, remove, or adjust seasonings to fit your particular meal.

Start by chopping down the cauliflower.  There's really no need to turn it into pretty florettes - you're going to puree it, after all.  The goal here is just to break it down into manageable pieces with a fair amount of surface area for easy cooking.

Throw the chopping cauliflower into a pot of lightly-salted water, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or so until the cauliflower is tender, but not mushy.

If you really want to be a purist, you could stick to just some tasty pureed cauliflower, but I decided to top this dish with some chopped, sauteed zucchini to offer some additional flavor and textural contrast.

While the cauliflower is simmering away, dice your zucchini into nice, small pieces.

Saute the diced zucchini with a bit of butter, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  It should only take a couple of minutes - take it off the heat when the zucchini still has some bite to it, otherwise you'll end up with a much more boring soft-on-soft texture with the finished product.

When the cauliflower is tender, drain it well in a colander.  You don't want watery puree, so drain it really, really well - shake it around, leave it for a minute or two, shake some more, and even consider pressing some water out.

When your cauliflower is well drained, throw it into a blender or large food processor along with a dollop of sour cream, the cheese, and a generous quantity of salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Don't add any milk yet.

This process could also benefit a great deal from an immersion blender if you have one - if so, combine everything in the pot you used to simmer the cauliflower instead and just take the immersion blender to it.

Once everything is in the blender, give it a whir.  If it's being stubborn, add a splash of milk to help it mix - otherwise, there's no need.  Keep blending until you hit a texture you're happy with - just a few pulses for a thicker texture, or longer for a smoother, thinner texture.  Try a bit and adjust the seasonings to your taste.

Serve hot with plenty of sauteed zucchini on top.

Recipe: Cauliflower Puree with Sauteed Zucchini
Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 20-30 Minutes | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 6-8


  • 2 large heads Cauliflower
  • 2 large Zucchini
  • 4 oz Neufchatel Cheese
  • 2 tbsp Sour Cream
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Optional: Milk as needed to blend


  1. Chop cauliflower down into small pieces.
  2. Add cauliflower to a pot of lightly salted water.  Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes until tender.
  3. Finely dice zucchini.
  4. Saute zucchini until just tender in a skillet over medium-high heat with butter, salt, pepper, and a dash of garlic powder.
  5. When cauliflower is tender, drain well to remove as much water as possible.
  6. In a blender or large food processor, combine drained cauliflower, sour cream, neufchatel cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  7. Blend cauliflower mixture to desired texture, adding milk as needed.
  8. Serve cauliflower puree hot topped with sauteed zucchini.

1 comment:

  1. If you've got time and/or stove space constraints, you can use a 16 oz bag of frozen cauliflower instead of fresh. Cook it in the microwave until it's done but not waterlogged, then puree away.

    Chopping fresh cauliflower up, freezing it, and making something like this recipe the next week has saved more than a few heads of cauliflower from my trash can. :]