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30 min or less, Comfort Foods, Easy, Fall Favorites, Gluten Free, Oil free, Side dishes, Under 400 calories, Vegan Recipes

Mashed Cauliflower

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This Mashed Cauliflower is a healthy alternative to mashed potatoes and filled with flavorful garlic, leeks, chives, and thyme. It’s also easy to whip up in just 20 minutes!

Overhead shot of mashed cauliflower in bowl with spoon.

Mashed Cauliflower vs. Mashed Potatoes:

You might be wondering- since mashed potatoes are so good, why not just make those?

Well, if you are here, you are probably looking for a healthier alternative (or maybe you have some extra cauliflower lying around). =) And it IS healthier, with nearly a quarter of the calories of potatoes. It’s also just as satisfying.

Add fresh herbs like chives or thyme, garlic, vegan butter, or even vegan sour cream/cream cheese, and you’ll find you will hardly miss those mashed potatoes.

Or top it with this homemade Mushroom Gravy for the full “mashed cauliflower and gravy” experience.

How to make cauliflower mashed potatoes:

This Mashed Cauliflower recipe is super easy to make!

First, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower and boil for 10-15 minutes or until soft. Drain and leave sitting in a colander in the sink to let any steam escape (note: this helps the puree to be smoother and not mushy).

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the unsalted vegetable broth (or olive oil if you desire) over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and finely chopped leeks, and cook for about 3-4 minutes or until the leeks are tender, stirring occasionally.

A medium skillet with chopped leeks cooking on stove.

Remove from heat and transfer the leeks/garlic to a food processor.

Then to the food processor, add the nutritional yeast, vegan butter, almond milk, chives, thyme, salt, and pepper (STEP 1 below).

Next add the boiled cauliflower once all steam is released (STEP 2). Cover and blend, starting on low speed and increasing the speed, until creamy (STEP 3). You may need to stop the processor and stir in case some of the cauliflower florets get stuck at the top.

3 images of the process of blending the ingredients for mashed cauliflower.

Taste and add salt, pepper, or additional nutritional yeast as desired. 

This recipe makes about 4 cups mashed cauliflower (serving size may vary a little depending on the size of the cauliflower head).

Tips to making this cauliflower puree smooth:

  1. To get a smooth puree, first I recommend using a food processor. You can also try a high powered blender, although it won’t have as much room to spin around so you may have to stop, stir and blend a few times until it’s smooth. Or you can also use an immersion blender.
  2. If you prefer a more textured mash (not as smooth), you can add all ingredients to a large bowl and mash use a potato masher.
  3. The other important key to getting it smooth is to make sure all of the steam escapes the cauliflower after boiling. I leave it in the sink for a few minutes after boiling (in a colander) before adding it to the food processor.
Overhead shot of 2 bowls of mashed cauliflower and a small bowl of nutritional yeast.

Substitutions/Additions:

  • This basic mashed cauliflower recipe is one that I generally use as a side dish to many dishes (including my One Pot Curried Lentils with English Peas). But feel free to make it a fuller meal by adding this Mushroom Gravy on top of the mashed cauliflower (and maybe even some sweet corn).
  • As noted in the recipe, you can use olive oil, or if you are trying to cut back on fat, use unsalted vegetable broth.
  • You can swap out fresh rosemary for the thyme. Add more vegan butter or even vegan sour cream/cream cheese to make it extra creamy.
White gold-rimmed bowl filled with mashed cauliflower and chopped chives.

Do you love cauliflower? Try these recipes…

Helpful Tools:

  • Food Processor– I’ve been using this one for years. I had to replace the blade once (found it on Amazon), but otherwise, it has worked well for many years.
  • Immersion Blender– I use this hand blender, which includes an immersion blender attachment. It’s one of my favorite kitchen tools.
  • Potato Masher– If you opt for mashing the cauliflower by hand, this masher works well.

If you try this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your photo with #veggie__chick on Instagram. I just love to see my recipes being made in YOUR kitchen!

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Mashed Cauliflower (Vegan)

Mashed cauliflower in a small white bowl topped with chives.

This Mashed Cauliflower is a healthy alternative to mashed potatoes and filled with flavorful garlic, leeks, chives, and thyme. It’s also easy to whip up in just 20 minutes!

  • Author: Christin McKamey
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 20
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop/Food Processor
  • Cuisine: Comfort Food
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head white cauliflower, (discard core and leaves and break into florets)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted vegetable broth (or can use 1 tablespoon olive oil)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 leek, trimmed and chopped fine 
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter, optional
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. To begin, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, add the cauliflower and boil for 10-15 minutes or until soft. Drain and leave the cooked cauliflower sitting in a colander in the sink to let any steam escape (note: this helps the puree to be smoother and not mushy).
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the unsalted vegetable broth (or olive oil if desired) over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and finely chopped leeks, and cook for about 3-4 minutes or until the leeks are tender, stirring occasionally. Add to a food processor.
  3. Then to the food processor, add the nutritional yeast, vegan butter, almond milk, chives, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  4. Once the cauliflower has let out all the steam, add to the food processor. Starting on low power, start blending and increase speed until creamy. You may need to stop the processor and stir in case some of the florets get stuck at the top. This recipe makes about 4 cups mashed cauliflower, or roughly 1 cup per serving. Taste and add salt, pepper, or additional nutritional yeast as desired. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Notes

  • The nutritional information below does not include the olive oil.
  • The serving size will vary a little depending on the size of your cauliflower head. 
  • To get a smooth puree, I recommend using a food processor (as noted in this recipe). Or, you can also try a high powered blender, although it won’t have as much room to spin around so you may have to stop, stir and blend a few times until it’s smooth. Or you can also use an immersion blender. If you prefer a more textured mash (not as smooth), you can add all ingredients to a large bowl and mash use a potato masher.
  • Make sure all of the steam escapes the cauliflower after boiling. I leave it in the sink for a few minutes after boiling (in a colander) before adding it to the food processor.
  • This basic mashed cauliflower recipe is one that I generally use as a side dish to many dishes (including my One Pot Curried Lentils with English Peas). Feel free to make it a fuller meal by adding Mushroom Gravy on top of the mashed cauliflower (and sweet corn!).
  • You can swap out fresh rosemary for the thyme. Or add more vegan butter or even vegan sour cream or cream cheese to make it extra creamy.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: about 1 cup
  • Calories: 174
  • Sugar: 3
  • Sodium: 441
  • Fat: 2.2
  • Carbohydrates: 18.4
  • Protein: 18.4

Keywords: mashed cauliflower, vegan mashed cauliflower

Update Notes: This post was originally published in May 2015, but was republished with new photos, tips and FAQs in September 2019.

Hi, I'm Christin- thanks for stopping by my happy place! Here you will find healthy, original meat-free recipes. No matter where you are in your health journey, I hope I can help and inspire you. Read more...

12 Comments

  • I wonder if it would be healthier and ok to steam the cauliflower instead of boiling it?
    I look forward to making this tomorrow!

    Reply
    • Hi Ruth, yes I bet you could definitely steam the cauliflower! As long as it’s soft, it will work. =) And when combining with the other ingredients, just be sure to add the least amount of liquid to start (and go up from there) so the mashed cauliflower doesn’t get too liquid-y. =)

      Reply
  • I’ve made mashed cauliflower before, but this recipe is far superior! I didn’t add everything in (went without butter, chives, and leek), and I substituted almond milk with coconut milk because it was what I had on hand. However, the punch of flavor was there. The garlic really does wonders.

    Reply
    • Aww thanks Schuanne! I’m really happy you loved it! =)

      Reply
  • I mash 1/2 of the cauliflower ( for texture ) it makes this more like homemade mash potatoes.

    Reply
    • Great idea Ann! I’m sure it makes it a little more chunky. Thanks for the tip =)

      Reply
  • Never had mashed cauliflower, going to give it a try 😀

    Keep it up Christin!

    Reply
    • Thanks so much Jesse!! =) Enjoy!!

      Reply
  • Isn’t cauliflower the best? I love how it can be transformed into decadent dishes like your cauliflower mash! The addition of fresh thyme sounds like a delicious detail!

    Reply
    • Thanks Michelle! Yes, I just love cauliflower! Very versatile. =)

      Reply
      • I like to add a spoonful of ground flax seeds to the food processor.

      • Great idea John! I like trying to add nutrition where I can get it. I’m currently drinking a smoothie and I added some hemp seed. =)

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