Mashed cauliflower casserole is loaded with cream cheese and cheddar cheese and served with bacon and green onions. This easy recipe is perfect for a low-carb holiday side dish!
This post is sponsored by the American Dairy Association Mideast. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Want to get right to the recipe? Scroll down to the bottom of this post, just above the comments. 👍
What a fun and full weekend we had!
J had his last soccer game, we too, the kids to the Renaissance Festival here in N.C. and we also took them to the Panthers football game.
Oh, and my husband and I had our 11th wedding anniversary. ❤️
ALL the family fun right here!
And today I'm tagging along with said husband to NYC for a super short work trip. He has a conference, I'll be working from the hotel in the morning.
His sister lives there and I'm so excited to hang out with her and visit one of my most favorite cities for a bit!
But now, let's talk FOOD!
Recently I shared my healthy mashed cauliflower and today we’re taking that recipe up a few notches.
Cause the holidays are coming, y’all, and our side dishes need to be a little more special, a little more impressive, a little more outstanding!
(But oh, please, keep them easy and not intimidating, right?! And when possible, keep them a tad bit lightened up. We can do healthy without sacrificing flavor. True story. 😉)
Case in point, this mashed cauliflower casserole with cheese and bacon.
It ticks all the boxes and will seriously have you coming back for more.
I mean, y’all know I adore me some potatoes, right? Serious potato lover right here. And I don’t miss them ONE BIT with this dish!
I’m also so happy to be partnering with the American Dairy Association Mideast to share this recipe.
I was fortunate enough to get to travel with them through Ohio last year and watch the story of milk, from visiting a dairy farm and feeding a baby calf to seeing cheese be made to enjoying some homemade ice cream.
(If you ever go to Cleveland, I highly recommend stopping by Mitchell's for a scoop. 🍦😍
And because y’all know I’m a big nerd, I had to share some of my favorite dairy facts:
- 85% of Americans don’t get enough dairy each day. Yikes! The nutrition editor in me cringes a bit.
- Cheese is the #2 source of calcium for Americans. Woo hoo! 🧀💛
- Milk, cheese and yogurt contain 9 essential nutrients, including potassium and vitamin D, which most of us need more of as well.
- Dairy farmers don’t get holidays. They work 365 days a year. On Thanksgiving and Christmas, they still have to make sure their cows are fed and milked. Their dedication and hard work is really amazing. 💕
Want to learn more about all things dairy? Drink-Milk.com is a great resource.
As far as cooking with dairy goes, I love using nonfat Greek yogurt in recipes (like the one today) to lighten things up but also add a punch of protein to make the dish more filling.
Cream cheese is another great way to lighten recipes up without sacrificing flavor. Which is why I used it here too.
So this mashed cauliflower casserole has Greek yogurt, cream cheese, cheddar cheese and bacon.
I mean, really, how can you go wrong with that combination of ingredients?!
The mashed cauliflower is so smooth and creamy, so rich and tasty, and is just over the top with the bacon and green onions sprinkled on it.
I literally go back for huge spoonfuls of seconds. I kind-of can’t be trusted around this cauliflower side dish. It’s so addictive!
And you certainly won’t be missing the carbs from regular potatoes. Maybe that’s why I go back for more and more of this… it just doesn’t weigh you down like regular mashed potatoes.
(An especially helpful thing if you’re serving this alongside a huge holiday spread of dishes at Thanksgiving or Christmas!)
So, I use cream cheese and Greek yogurt in my mashed cauliflower potatoes because I like the soft smoothness of the cream cheese and the tanginess from the Greek yogurt.
It’s a great balance with the two together.
However, you can substitute sour cream for the Greek yogurt or just add more cream cheese. I’ve done that before and it was still super tasty.
You know I like to keep it easy for you!
Notes + substitutions for mashed cauliflower casserole:
- You’ll want to pat your cauliflower dry with paper towels or a dishtowel after they’ve steamed so you don’t have watered down mashed cauliflower. No bueno.
- You'll need 2-4 tablespoons of milk, as needed, to get the mashed cauliflower, cream cheese and cheddar to come together and have the right consistency. I use skim milk but 2% or whole milk would be fine here as well.
- I always use white cheddar cheese (no added coloring), which is why my casserole looks light like this.
- As mentioned above, feel free to substitute sour cream or extra cream cheese for the Greek yogurt if you don’t have any on hand.
- Finally, the bacon for this recipe needs to be cooked, so please plan accordingly. You can fry some in a pan on the stove while the cauliflower is steaming or you can bake it in the oven or cook it in the microwave.
The other great news with this loaded cauliflower casserole is that you can make it ahead of time! Get it prepped and in your casserole dish and then refrigerate it until you’re ready to go.
(I've got details on that in the notes section of the recipe card below.)
I know prepping and cooking ahead is always a lifesaver at the holidays when you have 238 other dishes and recipes and fixings vying for your time, attention and oven space.
I hope you give this a try, whether you have low-carb friends and family or not, because it really is THAT good!
Happy holidays and enjoy!
P.S. Check out these other great holiday side dish recipes to round out your menu:
- Southern-style green beans with bacon and buttery breadcrumbs
- Turkey sausage and apple dressing
- 15-minute easy cranberry sauce
- Green beans with mustard butter sauce
- Easy sesame asparagus
- 2 medium heads cauliflower, cut into florets
- ¼ cup plain cream cheese (I use ⅓ reduced fat)
- ¼ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt (or use sour cream or more cream cheese)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 2-4 tablespoons skim milk (see notes)
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 5 slices cooked, crumbled bacon
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Place the cauliflower florets in a steamer basket in a pot with water, cover the top, bring to a boil and steam for 10-15 minutes, until very tender. (The exact time will depend on the size of your florets.)
- Drain the cauliflower well and pay dry.
- Transfer the steamed cauliflower to a food processor. (You may need to do this in batches.) Add the cream cheese, Greek yogurt, butter, salt and pepper and process until smooth. Add 2-4 tablespoons of milk, as needed, to get it to come together and get the right consistency.
- Taste and add salt, pepper and more butter if needed.
- Stir in 1 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese.
- Transfer the mixture to a 1 ½ quart baking dish that’s sprayed with cooking spray (or brushed with melted butter, if you prefer).
- Smooth the top to make it even then sprinkle with the paprika and the remaining cup of cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, until the dish is warmed through and the cheese is melted.
- Top with the cooked, crumbled bacon and sliced green onions. Serve hot and enjoy!
You’ll want to pat your cauliflower dry with paper towels or a dishtowel after they’ve steamed so you don’t have watered down mashed cauliflower.
I use 2-4 tablespoons of milk, as needed, to get the mashed cauliflower, cream cheese and cheddar to come together and have the right consistency. I use skim milk but 2% or whole milk would be fine here as well.
You can prep this casserole ahead through step 8 where you assemble it in the casserole dish. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to go. Let it come to room temperature and then bake as instructed. Or, if you are taking it to the oven straight from the fridge, I’d say add an extra 10 minutes of baking time to get everything warmed through. And you can of course also cook the bacon ahead of time and store it in a tiptop bag or small bowl until you’re ready to use it.
Feel free to substitute sour cream or extra cream cheese for the Greek yogurt if you don’t have any on hand.
Finally, the bacon for this recipe needs to be cooked, so please plan accordingly. You can fry some in a pan on the stove while the cauliflower is steaming or you can bake it in the oven or cook it in the microwave.
For more information about dairy nutrition, to find delicious new recipes and to meet Ohio and West Virginia dairy farmers, visit, and follow the American Dairy Association Mideast on , , and .