by Olena

Smashed Cauliflower Bites

by Olena

5 from 2 reviews

Smashed cauliflower bites with garlic and cheese, and then roasted. Delicious comfort finger food without the guilt. Double the recipe!

I find March to June the worst months to shop for quality produce. I am already tired of squash, kale and citrus. Asparagus – I made broiled asparagus with garlic and vegan asparagus soup. I had enough of fragrant bathroom trips. For almost 3 weeks I couldn’t find organic apples and now that I did they cost an arm and a leg. As I glance through magazines and blogs mentioning spring’s produce bounty I am honestly puzzled where do those people live?! Or are they talking about new greenhouse’s crops?

So, I am done with plastic wrapped cucumbers, cardboard tomatoes and Mexican zucchini. Can’t wait for my local farmers market to open in May. To me fresh produce is local, grown without pesticides and oddly shaped. I love it, I crave it! I can’t wait for fresh organic berries!!!

Smashed cauliflower bites with garlic and cheese, and then roasted. Delicious comfort finger food without the guilt. Double the recipe!

On Monday, as I was frantically looking through produce shelves for affordable, filling and pesticide free vegetables, I saw a head of organic cauliflower for $4.88. I grabbed 2 with no actual plan in mind. This is why meal planning doesn’t work for me. I plan my meals based on what I was able to find at the store which in turn yields a constant stream of new recipes for iFOODreal. I cook what we eat. I barely have an editorial calendar for my blog because I cook depending on what I feel like. To me, cooking is a creative process which needs inspiration. If I wake up and feel like rolling some coconut balls or smothering salmon in cheese, I want to do only that. The day I wake up and drag myself into the kitchen to cook something I have to to someone else’s liking, this blog becomes a job, and I stop it right there.

For quite a while I have had an idea to make roasted smashed cauliflower just like small potatoes but with cauliflower instead. I knew if I sprinkled cheese on top it would melt and create this burnt thin crust I remember as a kid when mom made her meat a la French style.

Smashed cauliflower bites with garlic and cheese, and then roasted. Delicious comfort finger food without the guilt. Double the recipe!

Thinly sliced and pounded beef cutlets coated in salt, pepper and garlic (of course). Placed in a layer on a baking sheet and topped with a shit load of mayo and Ukrainian soft cheese (which I suspect was kind of processed just less chemicals than US one). Nothing healthy but super tasty…

Back to our smashed cauliflower bites. So, I thought cauliflower would be super cool in place of potatoes because it is so much lighter in calories. And I thought if I boiled it a bit, cauliflower would smash. Yipee yep.

Smashed cauliflower bites with garlic and cheese, and then roasted. Delicious comfort finger food without the guilt. Double the recipe!

Honestly, I am surprised there is nothing like this out there. So, I am the pioneer of roasted smashed cauliflower!

The cauliflower in a photo above doesn’t look very smashed but it is. Its florets still perch up and I found the masher, not the back of the spoon, being the best tool to smash. Masher doesn’t flatten cauliflower too much making it separate into pieces – we don’t want that.

Smashed cauliflower bites with garlic and cheese, and then roasted. Delicious comfort finger food without the guilt. Double the recipe!

I topped my smashed cauliflower with a generous amount of olive oil. It helps to make cauliflower more roasted plus cauliflower really is just water so extra fat to make it more filling is spot on. Then I sprinkled some himalayan pink salt and freshly cracked black pepper on top. And then cheese. You could totally skip cheese, no problem.

Now, listen carefully to me – DOUBLE THE RECIPE. Cauliflower doesn’t yield much food and this is to die for! Just like with my cauliflower pizza crust recipe – many had regrets they didn’t double. Enjoy!


Smashed Cauliflower Bites

5 from 2 reviews

Smashed cauliflower bites with garlic and cheese, and then roasted. Delicious comfort finger food without the guilt. Double the recipe!

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 28 minutes
  • Total Time: 33 minutes
  • Yield: 5 servings 1x



  1. Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. In the meanwhile, remove leaves from cauliflower and rinse with cold water. Using a paring knife, cut off large florets from a stem. When water is boiling, add 1/4 tsp salt and cauliflower. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until cauliflower is a bit firmer than al dente. Check with a knife. Drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and line large baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper. Drizzle 1 tbsp of oil and spread all over with a brush. Place cauliflower florets on a sheet and gently smash each with a masher (not the back of a spoon – I tried, doesn’t work!!!) until a bit flattened but not separated .
  3. Drizzle with 2 tbsp of oil, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and garlic, top with cheese. Bake for 15 minutes and then broil for 10 minutes or until cheese is golden brown, rotating once.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.


olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

16 comments on “Smashed Cauliflower Bites

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  1. Hi! This looks great, but reading your story you said that you would top with olive oil.. And your ingredient list says avacado oil. Which one or could you use both?
    Thank you for a fun and new side dish!!!

    1. Hi Rebecca. I know. I used both. Ideally it is better to use avocado oil for high T cooking because the word is olive oil becomes rancid when heated over 350. So healthier is avocado but honestly I said olive oil because many people still use it and do not have avocado oil and I would have 100 questions. Or maybe they do?!

  2. So much to say…first the recipe is genius!! Second, smart to use parchment paper, I need to start doing that. Do you ever use silpat? I wonder how it will hold up with roasted veggies.
    I think in Florida we are spoiled because our produce seasons are so long and different from every where else. But, I’ve been buying boring grocery store produce for too many months and you have woken me up to visit my local produce shop that has so much variety and local and pesitcide free options. and CHEAP!
    also…what you said about meal planning, I’m the same!! I try to have loose plan, but it always stems from the produce I find at the store. I usually keep a stocked freezer of the meats so I can just shop from the freezer then add on anything else I find that inspires me. And yes about cooking for yourself that keeps the blog going, I only post what we eat too. And I’ve experienced the other side too (the one when it feels dictated) and I’ve learned my lesson. No editorial calendar here 🙂
    Love your blog and love your style girl!!!

    1. You are lucky, my friend! White sand beaches, pools everywhere and fresh produce year round.:)
      I have never used silpat but I have seen others roasting veggies on it. At first I couldn’t afford it. Now I have silicone spoons and they absorb dishwasher detergent smell.I don’t like that. I love my unbleached parchment paper. I always use it in all baking.
      Thank you! I love you too!

      1. I made this tonight, and it was possibly one of the best side dishes we have had all winter! I know it is April, but it’s cold today. I had one small head of cauliflower, and about four tiny roasted 1 1/2″ russet potatoes leftover so I smashed them too, and fixed right along with the cauliflower.

        Skip the cheese? I didn’t, not after seeing the golden crusty goodness in your photographs! Oh my gosh, Olina, it’s just two people here now, but my husband and I could hardly stop eating the vegetables! All I had for cheese was an organic aged cheddar and It really didn’t need very much because it was pretty sharp. My husband left only two of the small potatoes. We love the idea of the cauliflower being a lighter, healthier option for us anyway. I had the cauliflower par coked earlier in the day and it took just minutes to finish it just before dinner. So easy and so delicious! Thank you, and my husband asks me to thank you for him too! I can cook anything really, but I am lacking in ability to instinctively know what works together! I have tried enough of your dishes to know that wherever your thoughts are taking you, it’s going to be something We will really enjoy, have the ingredients for, and not have to spend hours working on and cleaning up after.

        1. And you know what? We ate them with our fingers! I know…how awful our manners! We just dove in, as soon I sat the pan done, they never even made it to,my serving dish! Roasted Smashed Cauliflower is so good you can’t wait to eat them.

          1. Well, some bloggers do use fancy ruffled handkerchiefs in their food photography, lol! Was never one to dress my one and only little girl in lace or ruffles! I was admiring your mothers seamstress skills in your costumes. Very talented, such fine handwork with all the tiny detail! I loved sewing for my kids but nothing like that! My daughter now designs and sews figure ice skating dresses and she has far passed my skill level, making her own custom patterns from measurements. I am just not as creative, like with cooking, I need a recipe, sewing, I need a pattern!

            I made soup for dinner tonight and my husbanded wondered if there were any “cauliflower gems” left! I reminded him that he ate the last two with last nights dinner. (Canned salmon salad!)

          2. I do like ruffled handkerchiefs in food photos! Make me think of English tea time lol. As a kid, all movies we watched were historic.
            Yes, my mom could sew. So, did my grandma. My mom also knit really well. So, did I. I was knitting my own sweaters in grade 7. Mom brought a lot of unique yarn when she visited the UK in the 90s and I have knitted a few sweaters and a skirt.
            The costumes she made for me were from her old clothes and for decoration she used finely broken christmas tree ornaments.
            Ice skating dresses sounds very creative and complicated. Wow. Good for her!

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