Bacon Cauliflower Mash (Gluten/Grain free, Paleo and Vegan friendly options)

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Bacon. Yes, you read that right. Bacon Cauliflower Mash. I made this tonight completely on a wing and a prayer. Little did I know I was creating such a rich, creamy, I don’t miss those starchy potatoes, low carb, BACONY, side dish bliss. It’s just everything you want in a side dish by combining sweet, salty, and spicy. A win win for everyone.

I have made cauliflower mash before with heavy cream and cheese but this time I did it a little differently due to some changes that I’ve made to my diet. Instead of heavy cream, I opted to use coconut cream. Coconut cream is the cream that rises to the top out of a can of coconut milk. Let a can sit overnight in the refrigerator to ensure that the cream will rise to the top. You can use any brand of coconut milk you wish, just make sure you use UNSWEETENED and full fat coconut milk. When you are about to use the coconut cream, open the can carefully to avoid shaking the cream. Scoop out the cream from the top and throw away the water that is left.

I know you’re probably worried about the flavor of the coconut milk coming through in the mash, but it doesn’t. It’s competing with some pretty strong flavor profiles, such as, Parmesan cheese, butter and BACON. Trust me. You can’t taste it. For those of you who can’t handle the butter or cheese, you can leave it out or replace with ghee and dairy free cheese of choice. If you have no major dairy issues, you can use cream, however, I do suggest you just try it with the coconut milk. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. If you don’t have or like Parmesan cheese, you can use whatever cheese you’d like.

Nutritional information: Cauliflower
Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. It is a very good source of vitamin B5, potassium, dietary fiber, manganese, and molybdenum. Additionally, it is a good source of protein, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, and iron. Cauliflower has also been linked to preventing certain kinds of cancer due to it containing antioxidants, aids with detoxification in the body and is an anti-inflammatory food. These three major reasons make cauliflower a cancer fighting bad ass.
For more information about cauliflower and its awesomeness, visit here.

Cauliflower is currently in season and is best enjoyed during the months of December through March. So make sure you visit your local farmer’s market to get your hands on these tasty white trees all while saving yourself some green.

Bacon Cauliflower Mash
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
1/2 head of cauliflower (cut into stems)
1 can unsweetened coconut milk, chilled to have the cream at the top OR any milk or cream of choice
4 Tbsp. Butter or ghee, melted (optional)
1/4- 1/2 C. Parmesan cheese, shredded or shaved (or any cheese/cheese substitute you wish), plus more for topping
4 slices of cooked bacon
1/4 tsp. granulated garlic (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Needed hardware:
Pot with steam basket
Food processor, blender or submersion blender

Directions:
1. Take cauliflower stems and place in a steamer basket with an inch of water underneath at medium high heat. If no steaming basket, you can just put the cauliflower in a large pot with a few tablespoons of water. Cover and let it steam for 8-10 minutes or until fork tender.

2. Cook your bacon during this time if you have not already done so. (Don’t forget to strain the drippings and save them!–it could even take the place of the melted butter!)

3. Take the cooked cauliflower and put it into a food processor. Add the cream of the coconut milk (leaving the water behind), melted butter, cheese, salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and bacon strips. Pulse until smooth and creamy. Taste and season to your liking.

Tips from this little red bird:
* Be sure to not overlook your cauliflower until it turns into mush. It kills the flavor and can make it bitter tasting, plus, you also kill the nutrients.
* To make this Paleo friendly, you can omit the cheese and butter and use the drippings from the bacon. Make sure you use a fine mesh strainer. I also put a paper towel on top of the mesh strainer to ensure no loose particles make its way through. A cheese cloth is good too, if you’ve got it.
* Omit the bacon and add some cooked sweet potatoes and your favorite curry spice. This is a blank canvas and can be manipulated easily by changing spices, starches or protein. Get creative.
* Make sure you visit your local farmer’s market and support your local farmers. Saving you money and supporting your community!

Enjoy.

Charlee

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