Vegan Cauliflower Mash & Gravy

Holidays are coming up. What's more traditional than mashed potatoes and gravy? Nothing else quite sticks to your ribs either with all the carbs, butter and cream

This simple dish has just as much flavor with same the buttery taste, without the collateral damage. Use this gravy recipe with other dishes too. Cauliflower is in season from somewhere just about all year around as well.








Recipe

Cauliflower Mash

1 pound Cauliflower, cut into 1" florets

24 ounces Vegetable Stock

1 ounce Avocado Oil

As needed Sea Salt


What To Do

Use a deep, covered sauce pot and bring the vegetable stock season with salt to a boil on the stove. Remove the lid and add the cauliflower. Any white part of the cauliflower stem will be just as good in this recipe since you will be pureeing all of it.


Boil the cauliflower until it has a very soft, smooshy, texture and looks a like it is becoming translucent. Like grandma would enjoy. Once it's soft use a slotted spoon and remove all of the cauliflower from the liquid.



I prefer to do the next part in a food processor, but you can also use a hand masher or whisk in a bowl as well if you don't have power tools. The idea is to puree the cauliflower until it's smooth like mashed potatoes would be.


Puree the Cauliflower until it become smooth and creamy, scrape down the sides of the blender bowl with a rubber spatula and add salt to taste and the avocado oil. If the cauliflower wasn't cooked enough, it will have a grainy texture. It's not the end of the world, but goal is...no lumps.


You can always add some of the vegetable stock back into the puree if you feel it is too dry and thick, but cauliflower absorbs a lot of water as cooks so this shouldn't be an issue. Because cauliflower is so absorbent, it's best to cook it in vegetable stock, which adds flavor, instead of just water. Using water is an option if you don't have vegetable stock available, just make sure to salt it.






Part II

Vegetable Gravy

Recipe

8 ounces White or Sweet Onions, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

8 ounces Celery, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

4 ounces Carrots, peel them and cut them to match the celery & onions

3 cloves Garlic, peeled and smashed

4 sprigs Fresh Thyme

1 sprig Fresh Sage

1 sprig Fresh Rosemary

4 ounces Fresh, Ripe Tomato, cut in chunks

3 quarts Cold Water

2 tbs Avocado Oil

4 tbs Corn Starch, with water added to make a slurry


What To Do

Use at least a 6 quart, heavy stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the avocado oil and wait until you see very faint smoke coming from the oil and then carefully add your onions, celery & carrots. Let them sizzle without moving or shaking the pot. If you do, it will cool the pot and the vegetables will release moisture and boil themselves instead of allowing the sugars to caramelize.



After a few minutes, poke the vegetables with a wooden spoon or high temp spatula, not your fingers, and check for browning. If the heat is too high, your vegetables will scorch, aka, burn like hell. That makes them bitter and gross. If the temp is too low, they will sweat which in many cases is OK, but to maximize intense flavors of this gravy, we want to caramelize the sugars before we add any liquid or herbs.


You have to be patient during caramelization. We think we are cool or doing something fancy by shaking and stirring, but save that for the dance floor, just leave it alone.


Once the vegetables have a deep brown color, add your garlic. This doesn't need as much color because it's fragile. Adding it at the beginning may smell nice at first, but it will burn easy.


Next, add the thyme, rosemary and sage. Remember with rosemary, less is better, it gets intense! But, it does taste like Thanksgiving. Stir so the herbs can hit the heat and you should smell the aroma pretty quickly.


Now it's time to add some water, compliments of the city or perhaps you have filtered clean water. Either will suffice. Of course filtered is better. Normally, with a bone stock (fish, beef, chicken, etc) you would want to be careful of boiling the stock too hard to avoid making it cloudy. In this case, we will be thickening the stock to make gravy, so a rapid boil is okay.


Once you add the water, add the tomato too. Let this reduce (aka, evaporate the flavorless water) to concentrate the remaining flavors. Cutting the vegetables to the same size allows them to all cook evenly. The longer a stock cooks for, the larger you'd want to cut the vegetables, especially for bone stocks. Since this is purely vegetables, a medium size dice allows the vegetables to release their flavors quickly, but also hold up to the reduction time, which in this case, is about an hour.


Reduce the liquid by at least half, so down 1.5 quarts. If you have more time, reducing it to 1 quart will give you much stronger flavors. Remove the pot from the heat or turn it off and use a slotted spoon to remove all of the vegetables and herbs and keep the stock in the pot.


Add enough cold water to your corn starch in a small bowl and stir it so it fully dissolves, but is still think to the touch. Return the stock to the heat and bring it back to a boil. Slowly add a few tablespoons of the cornstarch slurry until tight bubbles form. Be sure to whisk the slurry into your stock. Add enough slurry to make your favorite gravy consistency. Season with salt to taste and serve over the cauliflower mash or on the side for your other favorite dishes.


Benefits

Cauliflower has a naturally buttery flavor, especially with adding avocado oil to the puree. No animal products are needed to replicate mashed potatoes. Cauliflower is also significantly lower in carbs than potatoes making this more diabetic friendly and softer on your curves. Without adding butter and cream, this recipe a healthier heart alternative


A plant-based gravy captures more of natures healing benefits with garlic and onions being intense anti-inflammatory ingredients and great cancer fighters too. Once the tomato is cooked, the lycopene is also released into the gravy adding antioxidants to combat free radicals.


Typically a gravy is thickened with a roux, 50/50 butter & flour. High carb, high saturated fat as well. Cornstarch Slurry has no saturated fat and is extremely low in carbs too.


This vegan recipe is guaranteed to fool any carnivores proving a plant based diet does not sacrifice flavor.

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