Posts in Sides
Garlic Cauliflower Mash + Coconut Mushroom Gravy

The holidays can be hard for the plant-based folks of the world. It can be hard to go to the numerous holiday parties and Thanksgiving dinners knowing that most people don’t share your food philosophy. This year, I want you to do your best to relinquish control when it is out of your hands. Pull the “mostly” card. Enjoy time spent with friends and loved ones around the table without feeling guilty about the food on your plate. You can only control so much!

Now, that said, when you get a chance to bring a dish of your own, let’s try and show some of our friends to see that plant-based food can be just as delicious. Let’s pack the dishes that we prepare with veggies and trojan horse them onto the buffet line. And let me tell you, this garlic cauliflower mash, topped with coconut mushroom gravy, is the perfect way to make it happen. Cauliflower compliments the potatoes in a really subtle way, but still deliver all the benefits that cruciferous vegetables bring to the table. And don’t even get me started on this gravy!

I’ve been searching for a plant-based gravy for quite some time. Folks, we’ve found THE ONE. Adding coconut seems a strange proposition, but it makes this recipe shine. It is a flavor unlike any animal-based gravy you’ve had, and highlights how plant-based cooking can be uniquely delicious, introducing flavor profiles you hadn’t considered before.

So, make the mash, top with gravy, and show the world how the holidays can highlight more than roasted birds and beef!

Cauliflower Mash + Coconut Mushroom Gravy (vegan)


Garlic Cauliflower Mash-

1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets

2 large potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch dice

3 tablespoons vegan butter

3 cloves garlic, minced

salt + pepper, to taste

Coconut Mushroom Gravy-

1/4 cup vegan butter

1.5 cups white mushrooms, sliced

1 small onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups veggie broth

1 cup canned coconut milk

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour

salt + pepper, to taste


1) Make the garlic cauliflower mash. Boil the cauliflower and potatoes together until fork-tender, about 25 minutes and drain. In a 4 quart pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and lightly saute for a couple minutes. Add the cauliflower and potatoes and mash until mostly smooth. Use an immersion blender, if you like your mashed potatoes smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2) Make the coconut mushroom gravy. In a large skillet heat the vegan butter over medium heat. Once the vegan butter is hot, add the mushrooms, onion and garlic. Saute for about 4 minutes, until the onion and mushrooms are tender. Add the veggie broth, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, thyme and bring to a boil. Add the flour and whisk thoroughly to prevent clumps. Add the salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the skillet from the heat and let it sit, uncovered, for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens.

Cauliflower Mash adapted from Oh She Glows

Coconut Mushroom Gravy adapted from Nom Yourself

SidesKristen CarliComment
Red Chili Flake + Crispy Garlic Broccolini

Sometimes, you just need to let the ingredients speak for themselves. Broccolini is one of my favorites. It is similar to broccoli, but retains a nice crunch when lightly sautéed, and has a lightly bitter flavor. So, we want to add a few things that set broccolini up for success and round out the palate. Crispy garlic brings the savory, a bit of lemon juice brightens, and red chili flakes offer the slightest bit of heat. Each of these elevate the naturally great flavor of the broccolini to give you a side dish everyone will love.

Red Chili Flake + Crispy Garlic Broccolini


8 oz broccolini

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

a squeeze of lemon juice


1) Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the garlic and chili flakes. Stir and heat until fragrant.

2) Add the broccolini and saute for 3 minutes uncovered. Then cover and continue to cook for 5 minutes or until tender and slightly charred.

3) Add the squeeze of lemon and serve immediately.

SidesKristen CarliComment
Lemony Sauteed Spinach with Pine Nuts

So let’s talk about spinach for a second. I am starting to feel badly for this leafy green. For a veggie that has such a reputation for building strength (thanks, Popeye), it sure withers away when the heat turns up! We’re on to you, spinach!

Thankfully for us, though, what it loses in size is our gain. Because spinach wilts so much, it is the perfect delivery vehicle for some powerful nutrients. We often forget how amazing spinach is—it has been living in the shadows of kale for the last few years. But it is one of the veggies that I think everybody should be eating more of. It has a neutral flavor itself, but easily takes on the flavor of aromatics (think garlic, herbs, onions). For this dish, we keep it simple and sauté with oil, finish with lemon juice, and garnish with pine nuts.


Yield: 1 serving


6 oz spinach

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon pepper

1/2 of a lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons pine nuts


1) Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add spinach and stir until spinach is wilted.

2) Add lemon pepper and lemon juice. Toss with pine nuts. Serve!

SidesKristen CarliComment