The Real Difference Between Mashed Cauliflower And Mashed Potatoes

Cauliflower has taken consumers by cruciferous storm, showing up in everything from pizza crusts and pasta to hummus, "chicken" tenders, pretzels, and more (via Eat This, Not That!). Hailed for its low-carb, keto-friendly attributes, cauliflower is being used to replace flour, rice, and even corn in some of our favorite foods (via EatCaulipower). But what about one of America's most beloved side dishes — creamy mashed potatoes (via HuffPost)?

Cauliflower's rise to center stage stems from the popularity of plant-based diets, as well as those that are gluten-free and low-carb (via National Institutes of Health). The versatile vegetable has a mild taste, great nutrient profile, and is undoubtedly low in carbohydrates (via Men's Health). It's recommended that we consume 3/4 cup of cruciferous vegetables daily (via World's Healthiest Foods), and cauliflower is certainly a good option.

Mashed cauliflower has an earthy, nutty flavor that's slightly more complex than potatoes. While the texture is similar, cauliflower mash tastes like cauliflower and mashed spuds taste like, well, potatoes (via Reddit). But what's the nutritional difference between mashed cauliflower and mashed spuds? And, more importantly, can you create a creamy, dreamy mash that satisfies cravings while keeping carbs in check? The answer appears to be a resounding yes; mashed cauliflower is an excellent, low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes (via Delish). And, side-by-side, there are some noteworthy nutritional differences.

Nutrition in mashed potatoes vs. mashed cauliflower

Let's talk stats first. One half cup of cooked cauliflower has 14 calories, 2.7 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of protein, 1.4 grams of fiber, and a glycemic index of 1 (via NutritionData). One half cup of cooked potatoes has 67 calories, 15.6 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of protein, 1.4 grams of fiber, and a glycemic index of 7 (via NutritionData). Cauliflower has one fifth the calories and carbs of potatoes, and a much lower glycemic index. The glycemic index (GI) ranks carbohydrates based on how quickly they raise blood sugar levels (via WebMD). Healthline states that a low-GI diet may promote weight loss, and lower the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Nutritionally, cauliflower is a great source of vitamin C, delivering 100 percent of your daily recommended amount in one cup (raw). One cup also provides one quarter of your recommended vitamin K (via WebMD). Eat This, Not That! says you can swap the cruciferous veggie for mashed potatoes and you'll get more immune-boosting vitamin C and bone-strengthening vitamin K. It's worth noting, too, that you can't over-mash cauliflower the way you can potatoes, which happens thanks to the extra starch in potatoes (via The Kitchn).

Potatoes on the other hand contain potassium, some vitamin C and B6, and, if you include the skin, fiber too (via Healthline). So while you may be getting a better overall boost from cauliflower, potatoes have their own benefits, too.