This vegan mashed cauliflower with kale, onion and mushrooms makes a healthy and delicious side dish any night of the week.

A bowl of mashed cauliflower with kale and mushrooms sitting on a grey napkin on a white surface.

Love mashed potatoes but looking for an alternative? Cauliflower mash makes a great option! Especially this version that’s loaded with kale, mushrooms, onions and garlic for a flavour-packed side everyone will love.

This dish is such a great way to vary your vegetable intake too. Cauliflower is packed with nutrients and this is a delicious way to enjoy it.

Recipe Features

  • Dietary Needs: This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, nut-free and can be made oil-free.
  • Nutrition Features: Low in fat, low-carb, keto and paleo-friendly.
  • Try mashed cauliflower as an alternative to mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving or Christmas.
  • Makes an excellent healthy side dish for a variety of mains.
  • This recipe keeps well so can be made up to 4 days in advance and reheated as needed during the week.
  • Easy to customize with whatever veggies and seasonings you have on hand.

Ingredient Notes

  • Cauliflower: You’ll need 1 large head of cauliflower, 2 small ones or about 1.5 kg.
  • Olive Oil: To make the recipe oil-free, this can be substituted with broth or water for cooking.
  • Garlic: I like to blend whole cloves of garlic into the cauliflower mash and saute additional garlic with the mushrooms and onions.
  • Onion: White, yellow or red onion all work.
  • Mushrooms: Don’t like mushrooms? No problem. Just leave them out!
  • Kale: Also optional or try it with spinach instead.

Cauliflower Seasonings: If you’re just making the mashed cauliflower and not the veggies, try adding nutritional yeast, sour cream or cream cheese, butter or cashew cream when you blend the cauliflower to add creaminess and flavour.

How to Make Mashed Caulilofwer

Step 1: Cook the cauliflower. The cauliflower can be boiled, steamed or cooked in an Instant Pot.

To boil the cauliflower, add it to a large pot of boiling water for 6 minutes. To steam, you’ll need about 15 minutes.

Once it’s fork tender, drain it well to remove excess water and then let it sit for 10 minutes.

Quick Tip: Letting the cauliflower stand for 10 minutes allows excess water steam off so you don’t end up with watery mashed cauliflower.

Step 2: Blend the cauliflower. You can blend the cauliflower right in the pot using an immersion bender or transfer it to a high-speed blender or food processor and mix until smooth.

Be careful not to over process the cauliflower and turn it into soup! You can serve the mashed cauliflower now or proceed with the kale, onions and garlic.

Tips: For a cheesy flavour, try adding a 1-3 tbsp nutritional yeast. Other additions that work well are a scoop of dairy-free sour cream or butter.

Step 3: Cook the mushrooms and kale.

You can do this in the same pot you cooked the cauliflower in or use a large skillet.

Add the olive oil, onions, garlic and mushrooms to the pot and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened an starting to brown. Stir in the kale and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Quick Tip: For an oil-free recipe, use water or broth to saute instead of oil.

Step 4: Combine the veggies and mashed cauliflower.

You can either add the mashed cauliflower to the skillet and mix everything together or transfer everything to serving container and mix. Once it’s all mixed up, it’s ready to serve!

Quick Tip: Try it served with a few pats of vegan butter and a generous sprinkle of fresh chopped chives, parsley or scallions.

Mashed cauliflower with kale, onions, mushroom and garlic in a large skillet.

Notes & Tips

For a more traditional mashed potato-style cauliflower, skip the kale and mushrooms and simple blend the cooked cauliflower with 1-2 tbsp vegan butter, garlic and salt to taste. You could even use this version as the topping for vegan lentil shepherd’s pie.

For an amazing comforting meal, serve mashed cauliflower alongside this chickpea meatloaf or nut roast with vegan mushroom gravy.


  • Let cool before storing.
  • Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days and reheated on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through.
Close up of a bowl of mashed cauliflower with kale and mushrooms sitting on a grey napkin on a white surface.

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Close up of a bowl of mashed cauliflower with kale and mushrooms sitting on a grey napkin on a white surface.

Mashed Cauliflower with Kale and Mushroom

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  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
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This delicious alternative to traditional mashed potatoes is packed full of nutrition and flavour but low in fat and carbs. Try it topped with a vegan mushroom gravy to really take it next level!


  • 1 large head cauliflower, stems and leaves removed and cut into florets (approx. 1400 g)
  • 6 cloves garlic, divided
  • 13 tbsp nutritional yeast, optional
  • sea salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 a medium onion, diced (135 g)
  • 227 g (8 oz) white mushrooms, sliced (approx. 2.5 cups chopped)
  • 45 cups chopped kale, stems removed (160 g)


  1. Place the chopped cauliflower in a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook until fork tender, about 5-6 minutes (or steam for 15 minutes).
  2. Drain the cooked cauliflower well and let sit for 10 minutes to allow excess water to steam off.
  3. Add the cauliflower to a food processor with 3 cloves of the garlic and the nutritional yeast, if using. If needed, add 1-3 tbsp plant-based milk, butter, sour cream or broth to help with blending and creaminess. Process until smooth but avoid over blending or it will start to resemble soup. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.
  4. The mashed cauliflower can be served as is or you can proceed with the rest of the recipe if you’re adding kale, mushroom and onion. 
  5. Mince the remaining 3 cloves of garlic and add to a large skillet with the olive oil, mushrooms and onions. Saute for 5-6 minutes until softened and starting to brown.
  6. Stir in the kale and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Add the blended cauliflower to the skillet with the kale and mushrooms and stir to combine and heat through.
  8. Serve right away topped with fresh chopped parsley or chives and vegan butter, sour cream or mushroom gravy on the side.


If you’re just making the mashed cauliflower and not the added veggies, additional flavourings that work well are 1-3 tbsp nutritional yeast or dairy-free cheese for a cheesy flavour or 1-4 tbsp dairy-free sour cream or cashew cream and/or 1-2 tbsp vegan butter for flavour and creaminess.

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat as needed stovetop or in the microwave.

Originally published March 28, 2016.