Brown butter and caramelized onion mashed cauliflower is a delicious paleo recipe that will have you forgetting about the potatoes.

Hi guys! I’m off to the airport today for 2 weeks in northern Italy, visiting family (who we don’t speak the same language as), drinking lots of wine, eating my fair share of gelato and just enjoying not working. 

Katie is guest posting today with this amazing recipe for caramelized onion mashed cauliflower. I hope you enjoy!

Brown butter and caramelized onion mashed cauliflower
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Hello all, I’m Katie and I’ll be sharing a paleo mashed cauliflower recipe in place of Gina today.

I’d first like to thank Gina for having me guest post while she’s off scaling the leaning tower of Pisa and diving into a pool of gelato….. or something like that.

But really, her well thought out, beautifully photographed, and mouth watering posts and recipes always keep me coming back for the next one.

So, I’m truly honored to be posting today on a favorite blog of mine.

cauliflower to make brown butter mashed cauliflower with caramelized onions.

While Gina is twirling in plates of spaghetti, I’m bringing you a grain free recipe. The irony.

I’ve adopted a paleo style diet over the past year or so.

It was a long, slow process but excluding grains, sugar, some starches, soy, most dairy, and corn from my diet has been one of the best decisions I have made for myself.

And in doing so, I’ve tried out lots of substitutions for those things.

Some work well, others…well, not so much.

Cauliflower, however, is one I come back to time and time again for it’s uncanny ability to mimic mashed potatoes.

With some good quality butter (that we’ll brown) and caramelized onions, mashed cauliflower really becomes one delicious side dish that doesn’t even allow you to realize it’s playing a substitute role!

Mashed rutabaga is also a delicious potato substitution and can be prepared just like this mashed cauliflower if preferred.

Organic salted butter used to make paleo mashed cauliflower.

Now growing up, and to this day, mashed potatoes have really not been my thing.

I know, gasp, who am I?

Was I deprived as a child? Nope, in fact my three brothers liked them enough for all of us so I deemed them not worth fighting over and chose other dishes instead.

Like cranberry sauce shaped like a can, mmmmmmmm……

Gina here interjecting – canned cranberry sauce with the can lines imprinted on it was totally my jam too up until an age I’m embarrassed to admit (now I make this 5-ingredient slow cooker cranberry sauce every year). So good!

caramelized onions for brown butter mashed cauliflower recipe.

But something about not being allowed (I use that term lightly) to eat something (aka potatoes on a paleo diet) makes me sometimes crave a buttery, creamy side dish like mashed potatoes.

Go figure.

Enter cauliflower.

Cauliflower is the caveman’s potato, rice, pizza crust, and probably 50 other things that creative paleo eating people have come up with.

50 other things indeed – here are a few of my favorites: Buffalo Cauliflower SteaksCreamy Cauliflower Pumpkin Mash and Salt and Vinegar Popcorn Cauliflower.

You might have seen this mashed cauliflower recipe before.

I’m not reinventing the wheel here, just sharing my own spin on this rich, comforting, creamy side dish.

And by rich I do mean several tablespoons of browned butter kind of rich.

Just roll with it. One forkful and you’ll understand why.

brown butter mashed cauliflower topped with caramelized onions


With just 5 simple ingredients this mashed cauliflower side dish comes together easily.

  • head of cauliflower
  • salted butter
  • garlic
  • coconut milk
  • onion


Slice the onion and place it in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-low heat.

Stir the onions occasionally while cooking for about 15-20 minutes until nice and deep golden brown.

If the pan gets too dry, just add a tablespoon of water to get things moving again. Set aside.


Cut the head of cauliflower into florets. Place them in a casserole or baking dish and fill with a bit of water so that about 1/4 of the florets are submerged.

Microwave for 5-7 minutes until softened.


Place 2-3 tablespoons of butter in a small sauce pot over medium heat. Stir constantly until it starts to brown, about 3-4 minutes.


Transfer the cooked cauliflower to a food processor and add the garlic cloves. Process until finely diced. It will look like riced cauliflower at this point.

Add the brown butter, half of the caramelized onions and the coconut milk to the food processor. 

Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with the remaining caramelized onions on top of the mashed cauliflower.

paleo mashed cauliflower with brown butter and caramelized onions

Yeah, paleo isn’t so bad when recipes like this exist.

Betcha won’t even remember what potatoes are after taking a bite of this brown butter mashed cauliflower!

Need a more traditional mashed potato recipe? This sweet potato souffle checks off all the boxes!

Or, how about another paleo mashed potato alternative like garlic mashed yuca? It’s so incredibly creamy and decadent!


Cauliflower Bacon Gratin
Cheddar Cauliflower Burgers
Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Bison Cheddar Cauliflower Steaks

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5 from 2 votes

Brown Butter Mashed Cauliflower with Caramelized Onions

Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Brown butter mashed cauliflower topped with caramelized onions is a delicious paleo recipe that will have you forgetting about the potatoes.


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 5 tablespoons canned coconut milk
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Slice onion and caramelize in 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Once completely caramelized remove from the pan and set aside. I also threw in the three cloves of garlic towards the end to release some of their flavor.
  • Meanwhile, cut off the cauliflower stem and break into florets. Place in a casserole dish and fill with water until about 1/4 of the florets are covered. Microwave for 5-7 minutes, until they are soft.
  • Place cauliflower and 3 garlic cloves into a food processor (may need to do this in batches if your processor is not large enough) and process for a few minutes.
  • Over medium heat add 2-3 tablespoons of butter and stir constantly until just beginning to brown, about 3-4 minutes, don’t let it burn!
  • Add 1/2 of the caramelized onions, browned butter, and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper to the cauliflower in the processor. Process and start adding in coconut milk until fully incorporated and a smooth, creamy mash has been formed. This may take several minutes depending on your food processor. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.


Serving: 1SERVINGCalories: 174kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 4gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 173mgFiber: 4gSugar: 7g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: American
Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I made this but substituted organic heavy cream for the coconut milk. It was delicious.
    Reni Churchill

  2. I read this post completely on the topic of the comparison of
    latest and preceding technologies, it’s remarkable article.

  3. Saw this the other day and finallybought the ingredients this evening.

    Makes me wish I had a food processor. Mashed by hand. Probably not as smooth as by the processor.

    Really liked it. Very glad I tried it. Now to prepare for my SAD CW friends.

    Thank you