Trick Vegetable?

My husband sits down at the kitchen table and I present him with his dinner:  mashed cauliflower, whole roasted carrots and purple potatoes, baked tofu, marinated in tamari, maple syrup, and a dash of liquid smoke.  He raises his fork, plunges it into the cauliflower, puts it in his mouth.

“Is this a trick vegetable?”

I look over at him and grin.

“Depends on what you mean by trick.  It’s mashed cauliflower.”

“Is it supposed to be instead of mashed potatoes?”

“Nope.  But it might remind you of them.  Not a trick, though.  Just a different way to try cauliflower.”

“And these?  Potatoes?  Purple?”

There is a twinkle in his eye; he has had purple potatoes many times before.  He’s just enjoying giving me a hard time tonight, despite the fact that I have clearly gone to a lot of effort to make this meal.

“Well, you wouldn’t want two kinds of potatoes on your plate, now would you?”

But I bet he would.  He loves mashed potatoes. I don’t, so I hardly ever make them.

My daughter pipes up.

“Didn’t you just make twice-baked potatoes the other day?  Where are those?  I’d like some of those!  They looked really good!”

“Mom made those to take to Nana and Papa.  Sorry.  None for us.”

“I’ll make them again soon.  I promise.”

My daughter dejectedly looks down at her plate, but her face lights up when she remembers we have recently acquired some vegan bacon bits.  She loads them onto the cauliflower, and all is right with the world for now.

It’s hard to find new ways to eat vegetables.  I steam them, roast them, pan-sear them, eat them raw in salads.  But sometimes I just need a change.  A simple change.  While watching Dr. Oz one day, there was talk about mashed cauliflower.  Okay, it may have been meant as a trick vegetable, a substitute for mashed potatoes, but a new way to eat cauliflower sounded good to me.  I didn’t look up the recipe, but went with what I thought made sense.  The first time was just okay.  I steamed the cauliflower until very tender, then used first a fork, then a pastry cutter to mash.  I added some margarine, soy milk, salt and pepper.  It tasted a lot like very well-done cauliflower.  The second time, though, I nailed it.

Mashed Cauliflower


1 head cauliflower, washed, trimmed, and separated into large florets

1/2 c unsweetened rice, almond, or soy milk

4 T nutritional yeast

2 T vegan margarine, such as Earth Balance

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

vegan bacon bits (yummy, but optional)


Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the cauliflower and cook for about 8 minutes, or until very tender.  Alternatively, use a steam basket and steam cauliflower until tender, about 10 minutes.

Drain the cauliflower in a colander.  Place drained cauliflower in a large food processor, along with the milk, margarine, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper.  Process until smooth.  (This is the trick part.  It should look like mashed potatoes!)  Taste and correct seasoning, adding more margarine, salt, pepper, or nutritional yeast as desired.

Serve hot, with vegan bacon bits on the side for sprinkling.  (I transferred the mashed cauliflower to a greased baking dish and heated it in a 375 ° oven for about 15 minutes, until it was steaming hot.  The cauliflower became much fluffier when baked after mashing.)

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5 Comments on “Trick Vegetable?”

  1. Charlene Says:

    Sounds awesome! I’ll have to give it a try!

  2. Craig Says:

    As soon as my mind let my tongue stop trying to expect potatoes, as was well. Better than well, it was great. How did you figure to bake them on a sheet after mashing them? You are a magical cook.

  3. Alex Says:

    Yum i wish i was home for dinner for that!

  4. I wish you were, too! Love you, and thanks for reading!

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