Roasted Cauliflower and Pear Puree

cauliflower, pear, puree, side dish, vegetarian

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I have a hard time when people want to “substitute” vegetables like cauliflower or spaghetti squash for their beloved carbohydrates. If you asked me, honestly, does spaghetti squash taste like pasta? I’d be quite clear: of course not! But just because it isn’t made of flour doesn’t mean it isn’t good. In fact it has a lot more flavor its starchy counterpart and tastes really, really good smothered in meaty pasta sauce. Perhaps even better tossed with swiss chard, chickpeas, feta and cranberries. No joke, that’s one mouth-watering meal I can’t get enough of.


Similarly, mashed cauliflower does not taste like mashed potatoes. But, I never really loved mashed potatoes. I do love creamy cauliflower blended with garlic and goat cheese so much so that I can’t imagine why any tater-lover wouldn’t adore it too. But this is not that cauliflower. This cauliflower gets caramelized first on the stove top and then further in the oven, mingling with leeks and pears. When it’s easily pierced with a fork, it gets blended with a touch of almond milk and nutmeg. It’s an autumn side dish that is decidedly unlike mashed potatoes, yet unexpectedly warm delicious, perfect for giving thanks to fall’s comforts.


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Roasted Cauliflower and Pear Puree

Yield: 2 servings


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 medium cauliflower, chopped into small florets (1lb chopped cauliflower)
2 small Seckel pears, peeled, cored and diced
1/4 teaspoon salt
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons vanilla unsweetened almond milk, warmed
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Heat olive oil in a large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the sliced leeks and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are softened. Add the cauliflower and pears, and sprinkle with salt. Increase heat to medium-high, and cook for another 6-8 minutes, until cauliflower is lightly browned in spots. Turn off heat. Place the sprigs of thyme on top of the vegetables and tuck in.

Transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast for 25-30 minutes, turning once or twice, until the cauliflower is very tender.

Remove the sprigs of thyme, and set aside a few pieces of vegetables for garnish, if desired. Place remaining vegetables in a food processor and add the almond milk and nutmeg. Process until smooth, and serve hot.

Nutrition Facts:

Servings Per Recipe: 2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 228.1
Total Fat 8.1 g
Saturated Fat 1.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 88.3 mg
Potassium 953.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 39.2 g
Dietary Fiber 9.9 g
Sugars 1.7 g
Protein 5.8 g

Cara Lyons,

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31 Responses to “Roasted Cauliflower and Pear Puree”

  1. 1

    Ricki — November 7, 2011 @ 1:10 pm Reply

    Sounds amazing, Cara!  On my must-make list for sure! 🙂

  2. 2

    Georgene Harkness — November 7, 2011 @ 1:28 pm Reply

    I did find that spaghetti squash, in order to taste good, needs to be WELL drained!   And not crunchy, too!

  3. 3

    Barbara — November 7, 2011 @ 1:53 pm Reply

    I love anything to do with cauliflower! Adding some parsnips to the mixture is really good as well! Great recipe

  4. 4

    Lauren — November 7, 2011 @ 5:55 pm Reply

    I've become quite a big fan of cauliflower… I love roasting it as well as pureeing it into "creamy" soups. Pairing it with pears (pair/pear haha) is a great seasonal idea! I bet this tastes fantastic. 

  5. 5

    Natalie — November 7, 2011 @ 6:22 pm Reply

    This sounds so great! What a creative combination!

  6. 6

    Jenn@LeftoverQueen — November 7, 2011 @ 7:22 pm Reply

    This sounds so heavenly!

  7. 7

    Karascrumbs — November 7, 2011 @ 7:31 pm Reply

    Sounds great! Would never have thought to try cauliflower and pear together.  Do you think it would taste as good if the cauliflower is steamed instead of roasted?

  8. 8

    Cara — November 7, 2011 @ 7:33 pm Reply

    I'm sure it would still be good (you'd have to steam the pear as well.) I just wanted to bring out a little extra flavor by roasting.

  9. 9

    Shannon — November 7, 2011 @ 7:59 pm Reply

    wow, i love this dish!  flavors i wouldn't have thought to put together, but i bet they're a winning…  pair 😉

  10. 10

    Becky @ Skinnyfat Girls — November 7, 2011 @ 9:12 pm Reply

    Wow, that sounds delicious! Definitely not something I would have come up with on my own, either. Pairing it with salmon looks just perfect, too. Is it dinner time yet? Yum!

  11. 11

    Kelly — November 7, 2011 @ 11:32 pm Reply

    I agree with you on a few fronts.  One, I too dislike when people speak to things as substitutes.  I once got a vegan raw cookbook that was especially bad, telling me that sliced avocado would taste like fries.  That said, even though cauliflower purees and mashes are not like mashed potatoes, I love them in their own right.  I made a version with apples a few years ago and pears sound like a fantastic add as well.

  12. 12

    Kate — November 8, 2011 @ 1:23 am Reply

    I made cauliflower last night with dinner.  And it was one of the first times I actually liked it.  Although I totally cheated cooked it with a white sauce and parmesean.  TOTALLY cheated. 

  13. 13

    DeliciousDish — November 8, 2011 @ 2:40 am Reply

    This sounds incredible. It sounds like so much more than a replacement for mashed potatoes. I love cauliflower and know I would enjoy this dish.

  14. 14

    Joanne — November 8, 2011 @ 4:06 am Reply

    I will be the first one to admit that fake bacon does NOT taste like real bacon and that tofu does NOT taste like chicken.  But that doesn't mean they're not delicious! Same goes for this mash. Love the original flavors!

  15. 15

    Emily @ A Cambridge Story — November 8, 2011 @ 5:01 pm Reply

    Wow, never would have thought to combine these two flavors – but I love cauliflower puree.

  16. 16

    Brittany — November 8, 2011 @ 5:50 pm Reply

    Cara,You are killing it with these recipes! Cristie and I are ridiculously excited to try this. I love fall menus!

  17. 17

    Lizzy — November 8, 2011 @ 8:48 pm Reply

    Such a creative recipe- mixing pear and cauliflower but I could totally see how that would work! I also love that you roasted the mixture- to me, nothing is better than roasted veggies!

  18. 18

    Barbara Williams — November 8, 2011 @ 9:26 pm Reply

    Very interesting combo, Cara. I love cauliflower roasted but would never have thought ton pair it with pears. Looks wonderful!

  19. 19

    Nisrine M. — November 9, 2011 @ 10:28 pm Reply

    Cara, this is so creative and must taste delicious. I love the sound of sweet pears with cauliflower.

  20. 20

    Kim-Cook It Allergy Free — November 10, 2011 @ 8:21 pm Reply

    Cara, I make roasted cauliflower puree a lot but had never thought about adding pears to it. Not sure why, considering I used to make my own baby food and would always mix my cauliflower puree with the pureed apples or pears that I had. Both my boys loved that combo. Great idea to make an more grown up version of it now! 😉 

  21. 21

    Carol — November 11, 2011 @ 1:49 am Reply

    Sounds and looks wonderful!

  22. 22

    Maggie — November 11, 2011 @ 4:26 pm Reply

    Cara this looks and sounds so comforting!  I love it and I can't wait to try it! 

  23. 23

    Kerstin — November 12, 2011 @ 9:02 pm Reply

    Sounds like the perfect healthy side dish when you want to mix things up and don't feel like mashed potatoes.  I like the leek you added in too!

  24. 24

    Rachelsdigestif — November 14, 2011 @ 5:41 pm Reply

    This looks so yummy!  I would never have thought of joining cauliflower with pear, but now that I've seen it done, I want to try it out!

  25. 25

    Dave Scott — November 17, 2011 @ 5:45 pm Reply

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  26. 26

    Cynthia Scarpa — November 29, 2011 @ 8:51 pm Reply

    I made this last week with a little ricotta, because I forgot the almond milk. It was fantastic! Never would have thought of pairing the two together on my own!

  27. 27

    Cara — November 29, 2011 @ 9:13 pm Reply

    oooh, ricotta sounds delicious!

  28. 28

    Abby — November 10, 2012 @ 6:41 pm Reply

    Just made this tonight! Only had one pear, so I used some fresh figs and some apple. Savory & sweet: just perfect. What a great idea!!

    • 28.1

      Cara — November 11, 2012 @ 10:14 am

      Glad you liked it! Sounds wonderful with apples and figs too!

  29. 29

    Womens Fitness Program — November 29, 2012 @ 9:34 pm Reply

    This looks so Good and it’s only 228 calories. These are types of meal’s we all should be eating. Nothing but healthy. Great recipe better post thanks

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