All The Creaminess None of The Cream

This was not my idea.  But it was so good that I took it, adapted it, tested it, loved it, and am now writing about it. The idea for using cauliflower as a highly nutritious, low-fat “bread spread” is one I stole from a Danish chef whose food I had the pleasure of eating recently.

It’s a simple cauliflower puree that you use as a substitute for butter, creme fraiche, cream cheese or mayonnaise.  His version was simply pureed cauliflower plus some browned butter, but I took it a step further and made two versions, one with horseradish (great with thin slices of salmon or beef or thinly sliced roasted beets as shown), and one with mustard (excellent on a turkey sandwich as a sub for mayo.) I also used olive oil rather than butter.

With salmon on rye…

… or a vegetarian/vegan option (also excellent with sliced cucumber).

Get the recipe for cauliflower spread. 

I could not write about cauliflower without mentioning my hands-down favorite way to eat cauliflower – roasted with olive oil, salt and rosemary.  The purple variety tends to be a bit more flavorful than white (or maybe it’s just the color that makes my mouth think it tastes better, but in any event, I always buy it if I can find it).

For shear beauty alone, this is worth making. 

Ever experimented with interesting ways to eat cauliflower?  Or just some new twists on the classic roasting style?

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  • Three-Cookies

    This sounds interesting. I wonder about other vege’s like parsnip, potato etc which may produce an even creamier result. One small potential downside is that cauliflower is rich in purines which can have a negative effect on some people. But I suppose every food can cause some kind of harm if taken in excess. In any case cauli butter could be a healthier alternative to cow butter!

    • Michelle Madden

      You could probably use potato but that has a lot of starch, so it won’t give the lightness that cauliflower does…

  • Angela@Spinachtiger

    A few time a year I do a no cheese, etc. cleanse. This would work well for those weeks Interesting idea. I love cauliflower roasted, not crazy about it mashed, but I’m willing to try.

  • Somad

    thanks for the puree recipe….now i want to know what you put in those sandwiches!!!!  (as always the most incredible photography….!)  What’s in the vegan-version…beets yes, but i can’t work out what’s on top of that….? Thanks!

    • Michelle Madden

      So the beet sandwiches shown are just thin slices of red beets and yellow beets! I should have made it clearer though, that although I photographed them, the actual sandwiches were made by the Danish chef from who I stole the idea from!

  • Kathryncorinne

    Roasted in olive oil with salt, red pepper flakes and capers. (the capers turn very dark almost burnt looking but are delicious and packed with flavor.) Can’t think of anything more delicious.

  • Judy@SavoringToday

    Gonna try this one for sure! Love the idea of using cauliflower like this, thanks for passing along the good stuff :)

  • Itsmejenny

    this is a wonderful idea that i will def try. thanks michelle. as a somewhat newly dairy free person i am particularly thankful. also, would like to add that i recently discoved the most amazing cream cheese substitute at organic avenue. they have a scallion cream “cheese” made with cashews and probiotics. unbelievably good… granted i hadnt had cream cheese in nearly a year.

  • Kim

    Pureed cauliflower is also a wonderful substitute for mashed potatoes.  My family has done this at holidays for a relative who was limiting their carb intake and it was a huge hit all around the table.

  • Alicia

    I make a whipped cauliflower mash in place of mashed potatoes (so many less calories).  I use coconut oil to make it have a buttery creamy flavor, fresh rosemary, lemon juice and sea salt.  It is my low-carb got comfort food! :)

  • es4d

    must try!! i wonder if i could trick my boyfriend (who has the pallette of a 4 year old) into eating cauliflower? has anyone had any success in picky eaters falling for this? thank you for another beautiful post!

  • Jenniferedit

    I’m another fairly new dairy-free person (not by choice but allergy).  I have milk, ice cream and cheese substitutes but haven’t yet dealt with what to do with recipes calling for sour cream or any other “fancier” dairy products.  Do you think this would work? Any other thoughts out there?  Thanks!

    • Michelle Madden

      In most cases, substituting caulifllower puree for sour cream will not leave you with quite the same texture and taste — it really depends though on what they dish is … if you give me a specific recipe/dish,then I can give you recos of what you might substitute for the sour cream…

  • Alicia Nakamura

    It doesn’t work for the no dairy concept, but a nice lighter side (instead of mashed potatoes) is steamed cauli mixed with a little sour cream and then mashed or pureed. Quite yummy!!

  • consciouscrumbs

    Love the spread idea! And we’ve got some smoked trout in the fridge… My current cauliflower favorite is to toss it with a little olive oil and grated nutmeg and roast it. Recently had a roasted cauliflower sandwich with an apple chutney on it–so, so good–who knew. Thanks for the new idea!

  • juliana

    what a fab photo, M.  I normally roast it with curry or cumin and garlic cloves, but I must try this – the color combo is fab.  just about to pack the entire herb garden into my ice-cube trays for the winter, so this will be a great use for the giant rosemary bushes gone wild.  Thanks

  • Body Rocker Annes Lane

    Aye! I’m learning to appreciate cauliflower as I’ve never really come to terms with its taste, but this is something I’d like to put into action. Thanks.

  • Jen

    I’m going to have to try this! Just curious…I have steamed purple cauliflower and the remaining water is a deep shade of pthalo blue, which looks anything but natural. Do you know how the “purple” gets into the cauliflower? Is it a dye, a genetic mutation, or something else?

    • Michelle Madden

      Definitely not a die! It’s a hybrid, but totally natural. Often when you cook vegs some of the color will come out (this happens with greens), so try to limit the cooking. When I make cauliflower soup for ex (with purple cauliflower!) I cook it IN the broth so I don’t lose any of the vitamins to the water I might have steamed it in … or I’ll roast it !
      PS–let me know if this response came to your Inbox….I think it will if you’ve selected this option when you first signed up to leave comments …

      • Jen

        Thanks! Good to know. Didn’t come to my inbox, but I came back to find your reply. Next time I’ll click that box.

  • phi in berlin

    Great post! I love this idea, especially since I’m newly lactose intolerant and can no longer eat the creamy spreads that I used to love. Does the Danish chef you mention have a restaurant in Denmark by chance? I will be there this weekend and would love to check it out.

    • Michelle Madden

      yes!  noma is the name.