Few recipes are as easy to make — not to mention as low in calories — as this cauliflower purée.
Gently boiled in milk with a bundle of fresh thyme, the cauliflower acquires a delicate flavor and silky texture. With just more than 100 calories per serving, this recipe is as delicious and light as it gets.
The touch of crème fraîche at the end makes the purée more luxurious for sure, but if you want an even lower-calorie side dish, you can certainly omit it.
Even better, you can prepare the purée ahead of time and reheat it for a few minutes before you serve it. In my book, that makes it an ideal recipe when cooking a large meal… like a Thanksgiving feast!
- 2 cups milk
- 2 1/4 pounds cauliflower, florets torn into 2-inch pieces
- 1 small bunch fresh thyme, tied in a bundle with kitchen string
- 3/4 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
- Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
- 1 tablespoon crème fraîche (optional)
Bring the milk to a boil in a large pot. Add the cauliflower, thyme bundle, and half of the salt. Reduce heat to medium and partially cover the pan so that the milk doesn’t boil over. Simmer for 10-12 minutes until the cauliflower is very tender. Strain in a colander, reserve the milk, and let stand for 10 minutes until well drained. Discard the thyme bundle.
Place the cauliflower florets in the bowl of a food processor and process with a steel blade until coarsely chopped. Add the remaining salt, pepper, cheese, and 2 tablespoons of the reserved milk. Process for another 30 seconds until very smooth. Add a bit more reserved milk to achieve the desired consistency, if needed. (The purée can be prepared to this point up to 1 day ahead. Transfer the purée to a bowl, let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.)
When ready to serve, place the purée in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat until very warm, stirring frequently. Add the crème fraîche, if using, and stir until well incorporated. Transfer the purée to a serving bowl and serve immediately.