Vegan Mashed Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic

VeganGluten-FreePaleoSoy-FreeRefined Sugar-FreeEasyKid-FriendlyVegetarianEgg-FreeDairy Free

This is a creamy, thick, rich side dish that has a mellow garlic flavor from roasted garlic. Vegan Mashed Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic is a family favorite and I almost always have everything on hand so I can make a batch whenever I want…which ends up being all the time!

Vegan Mashed Cauliflower

We all know and love the classic, comforting Mashed Potatoes. They’re a year-round staple! When I’m craving that flavorful, creamy dish and I want to make it a bit lighter, though, I rely on this recipe for Vegan Mashed Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic. It’s made from immune-boosting cauliflower and gets extra creaminess (and plant-based protein) from Cashew Cream. My kids and husband gobble it up and ask for seconds, and so do I! It’s a perfect plant-based side dish that goes with so many different entrees.

Vegan Mashed Cauliflower

How to Roast Garlic

One of my secrets for perfect Vegan Mashed Cauliflower is taking the time to roast your garlic. This is a simple step that makes a HUGE difference in flavor! Slice the top off an entire head of garlic (just enough so that the cloves are exposed–about 1/4 inch). Wrap the bulb in foil, drizzle it generously with olive oil, and sprinkle with fine salt, and seal the top of the foil so no garlic is exposed. Cook it in a ramekin at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour, then unwrap and let the garlic cool to room temperature. Squeeze the garlic head to release the roasted cloves and discard the skin.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Best Butter for Vegan Mashed Cauliflower

My go-to for vegan butter is Earth Balance. It tastes and melts just like regular butter, making it a dream to cook and garnish with! I like to top each serving of this Vegan Mashed Cauliflower recipe with a little dollop of butter for the best flavor.

Mashed Cauliflower with Vegan Butter

How to Make Creamy and Rich Vegan Mashed Cauliflower

Ever wonder how to make mashed cauliflower? The secret ingredient in this creamy dish is a couple dollops of Vegan Cashew Cream. I make this all the time and always have it in my fridge for adding into soups, pasta sauces, salad dressing…anything that needs a bit of extra creaminess! Cashew cream is made from soaked cashews. Learn more about How (and Why!) to Soak Cashews in this post.

My other trick is to really drain the cauliflower extremely well after boiling it and before pureeing it in the food processor. If the cooking water gets in the food processor the results will be thin and watery and not thick, rich and creamy.

My final trick is to use parts of the cauliflower core in the recipe. You want to discard the end of the cauliflower stem and the leaves but chop up the white cauliflower core and boil that with the cauliflower florets. When pureed it gets nice and thick and creamy and adds body to the end result. Plus, it avoids food waste!

Mashed Cauliflower

All About Cauliflower

I LOVE cooking with cauliflower. There are so many dishes to incorporate it into and I cannot believe how many different forms cauliflower can take. I honestly think of it as a miracle vegetable! Cauliflower is a nutrient-rich cruciferous vegetable that is low in calories while offering dietary fiber, vitamin C and folic acid. This side dish is a delicious way to get more cauliflower into your diet without it feeling like a chore. While at the grocery store or farmer’s market, skip cauliflower heads with brown spots or loose, spread out sections. Look for compact curds with bright green leaves still firmly attached.

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

More Vegan Gluten-Free Cauliflower Recipes

Instant Pot Cauliflower and Chickpea Tikka Masala with Coconut Rice

Cauliflower Chickpea Shawarma Bowls

Cauliflower Steaks with Lemony Mashed Peas and Mint

Crispy Oven Roasted Cauliflower

Hemp Seed Crusted Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Green Tahini Sauce

Baked Crispy Cauliflower Poppers

Perfect Mashed Cauliflower
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Mashed Cauliflower

Vegan Mashed Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic

  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


  • 1 large head cauliflower (2.5 pounds), stem and leaves removed, cut into florets (use the white core in the recipe but not the leaves or end of the stem – see notes)
  • 1 tablespoon fine salt for boiling the cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons cashew creamLearn more about How (and Why!) to Soak Cashews in this post.
  • 2 tablespoons vegan, soy-free butter
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic* (see notes for how to roast garlic and an alternative if you do not have time)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Garnish with diced chives and a pat of vegan butter


  1. Fill a 5.5 quart dutch oven or large pot with water and bring to a rolling boil.  Add 1 tablespoon salt and chopped cauliflower florets.  Return the water to a rolling boil and boil for 8 minutes until cauliflower is fork tender. 
  2. Use a hand strainer to drain and transfer the cooked cauliflower into a 7-cup food processor.  Be sure to drain the cauliflower really well so the mashed cauliflower is not watery.  You might have to run the food processor to make all of the cauliflower fit.  Once all the drained cauliflower florets are in the processor, leave the motor on and add the cashew cream, vegan butter, roasted garlic cloves, salt and pepper through the open shoot.  Process until all ingredients are incorporated evenly and the mashed cauliflower is smooth and creamy.  Taste and adjust flavors if needed. 
  3. Transfer the mashed cauliflower to a serving bowl and garnish with dice chives and an extra pat of vegan butter.  Serve while piping hot.  
  4. Once cooled to room temperature you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.


*To roast garlic: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Slice the top off an entire head of garlic (about 1/2-inch so the garlic cloves are exposed).  Wrap the garlic bulb in foil and place in a small ramekin that is oven safe.  Drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil (about 1 tablespoon).  Sprinkle generously with fine salt.  Cover in foil tightly so the garlic is not exposed. Place the ramekin in the oven for one hour. Remove and carefully unwrap the foil to allow the roasted garlic to cool to room temperature. Squeeze the garlic head to release the roasted garlic cloves. Discard the garlic skin.

If you do not have time to roast the garlic but want to avoid the strong raw garlic flavor you can quickly saute one clove of garlic with the vegan butter.  First, mince the garlic and then add to a small skillet over low heat for 2-3 minutes with the vegan butter.  You want to cook the garlic until it is just slightly browned.  Watch closely and be careful not to burn the garlic.  

In addition to the cauliflower florets, you can use the white core of the cauliflower in this recipe.  Just be sure it is fork tender before adding to the food processor.  It may need to cook a bit longer than the delicate florets.  If you chop it up well then it should cook quickly.  You don’t want to use the end of the cauliflower stem or the leaves.  I find using the white core makes the end result extra creamy and rich!

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 8
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop

Keywords: vegan mashed cauliflower

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  1. Kristi

    I have tried this without the addition of any liquid and it is so soupy. I steamed the cauliflower and drained any liquid out of it. Is it possible that the cauliflower here differs from the cauliflower you get? I have done it 4 or 5 times with the same results. Way too much like nursing home foods for people that cannot eat solids.

    • Elaine Gordon

      Hi, Kristi. Omigosh this makes me so sad to hear! I am honestly not sure what could have gone wrong so many times in a row for you… every time I make it it is thick and creamy. Did you cook the cauliflower for only 8 minutes? Drain well? Include the cauliflower core? Include the cashew cream? I’m not sure where youa re located but the cauliflower should not differ in texture… maybe in size… how much does it weigh? For me it more than fills my 7 cup food processor when I put all the cooked florets inside… to give you a sense of the volume. Please let me know – I would love to help because this is supposed to be an easy fail-proof recipe!

  2. Christina

    This recipe is SO good! Perfect for a holiday meal or a special dinner. It is so creamy and the roasted garlic gives it such a nice flavor. Highly recommend!

    • Elaine Gordon

      Thank you so much, Christina! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed it! Best, Elaine


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