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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, www.carascravings.com

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