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Rosemary-Honey Chicken with Smashed Cauliflower is a delicious comfort food dinner made with a lovely rosemary simple syrup. This easy and complete meal is perfect for a variety of wellness diets and most people, including Paleo, AIP, Keto, GAPS, Gluten-free and Low vitamin A.
Look for the few variations to meet different dietary needs.Jump to Recipe
My husband says this is the best cauliflower he’s ever had. And we all love Smashed Cauliflower better than mashed cauliflower.
Mashed cauli is a fun Paleo, AIP or GAPS alternative to mashed potatoes, a boon for many of us. But smashed cauli is waaay yummier, in our estimation.
What is Smashed Cauliflower? — Get a better texture, and a better flavor by fully puréeing just half of the cooked cauliflower. The other half is smashed in or remains is soft larger pieces. Because fully mashed cauliflower doesn’t have the best texture, the smashing adds interest and perfection to the outcome.
My cauliflower smash is made with the pan juices of the baked chicken, so yummy!
How to make Rosemary-Honey Chicken
This baked chicken is made with an easy rosemary-honey simple syrup.
There’s almost no prep involved with this recipe; but infused honey water (although it sounds fancy it’s almost no work) makes the recipe taste complex, which the flavors actually are.
Dijon mustard is also added — but can be left out for the AIP and GAPS version and will still have your family saying what a yummy dinner you’ve made.
Serve the moist chicken atop the smashed cauliflower, and spoon pan juices over all. Add a bit of fresh rosemary too; and you have a pretty feast.
Rosemary-Honey Chicken with Smashed Cauliflower
- 3.5 to 4 lbs chicken thighs skinless, boneless (OR with skin and bone, if preferred)
- ⅓ cup water
- ⅓ cup honey Use low carb honey for Keto.
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard (Omit for AIP and GAPS.)
- 2 large sprigs fresh rosemary
- salt and pepper
- 1 large head cauliflower
- ½ to ¾ cup pan drippings from baked chicken
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
Rosemary-Honey Simple Syrup (Do this step first, at least one hour before you intend to bake the chicken.)
- Bring water to boil in a small saucepan. Turn off heat. Add honey, stirring to dissolve. Add rosemary, and cover to steep for 1 to 2 hours. Remove any twiggy rosemary branches. Stir in optional Dijon mustard, until fully incorporated.
- Preheat the oven to 350℉. Choose a large casserole dish (with a lid for GAPS).
- Wash cauliflower and remove outer green leaves. Place whole cauliflower (uncut) into a steamer basket over simmering water. Allow cauliflower to simmer or steam until very fork-tender, about 40 minutes. While cauliflower steams, prep and bake the chicken.When the cauliflower is very fork tender, carefully transfer it to a saucepan to cool slightly.
- Break cauliflower into small chunks with a spoon. Transfer ⅓ to ½ of the cauliflower to a blender. Set aside until the chicken is done cooking.When the chicken is done cooking, use the pan juices: Measure out about ⅓ (to ½) the total pan juices, enough to puree the cauliflower to a creamy "baby food" consistency. Also add ½ teaspoon sea salt to the blender. Puree cauliflower till smooth, adding more pan juices as needed.Stir puree back into saucepan of small cauliflower chunks, smashing some of the cauliflower with the back of a fork. Place saucepan over lowest heat to heat gently.
- Place chicken in large casserole dish. Spoon rosemary syrup over chicken. Drizzle olive oil over chicken. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover for GAPS; otherwise, bake uncovered. Place in preheated oven for 45 minutes, until juices run clear when poked deeply with a knife. Remove chicken from the oven, and pour off pan juices needed for the cauliflower. Turn the oven heat down to 250℉.
- Place Baked Chicken back into the warm 250℉ oven to keep it warm until you're ready to serve. Allow both chicken and cauliflower to get toasty hot, increasing heat and stirring the cauliflower, as needed. Serve with extra pan juices spooned over the top of both.