Vegan cauliflower mash with balsamic beets

Vegan cauliflower mash with balsamic beets

vegan cauliflower mash balsamic beetroots

Hope your week is going well? The recipe I planned for today is inspired by cool, moody autumn and as luck would have it our weather has totally backtracked and bestowed a few warm and sunny, almost summery days on us after we have said goodbye to summer. I’m not complaining as I have been loving the warmth this week – I took Monday off to sit in my garden and read – but it rendered my recipe a little less relevant. I still decided to go ahead with it today as I’m sure that it will come in handy soon enough. It’s easy to make, cosy and delicious, full of flavour and texture and makes for a fantastic autumn or winter side or a part of a varied mezze spread.

This recipe is in part inspired by a Greek dish called skordalia, which is basically beetroots (cooked usually) served with intensely garlicky sauce or dip based on either ground almonds, starchy potatoes or rehydrated stale bread.

For my dish, I’ve decided to roast my beetroots in the oven as that’s how I enjoy them most and serve them on a bed of creamy cauliflower mash / dip flavoured with roasted walnuts and roasted garlic cloves and topped with a drizzle of tangy-sweet balsamic glaze.

I strongly recommend baking both cauliflower and the beetroots – if you decide to do them both at once, take care not to overcrowd the tray as too much moisture will inhibit the roasting process. You could also steam the cauliflower while roasting your beets, but roasted florets contribute so much more flavour in my opinion.

I’ve made my mash creamy by incorporating a few tablespoons of roasted walnut butter. You can get it in shops these days, but it is so ridiculously easy and quick to make at home that I would not bother. As opposed to almonds or hazelnuts, walnuts are quite soft and oily so once they get beautifully golden in the oven, they get churned into silky smooth butter in no time. My really old and on its last legs food processor only needed about 3 minutes to do the job. It stores for ages and it will bring flavours of roasted cauliflower or celeriac to another level.

The final component that really brings this dish together is balsamic glaze and once again, you can simply buy it, but it’s so easy and quick to make that I prefer to make my own. I detailed how to do that below if you are similarly inclined.

This simple dish is beautiful on its own, but if you want to make it into more of a main meal, serve it with some crusty bread or olive oil crackers, Kalamata olives and a big green crunchy salad. I hope you’ll love it as much as we have.

vegan cauliflower mash roasted cauliflower

vegan cauliflower mash walnut butter

vegan cauliflower mash beets raw

vegan cauliflower mash balsamic beetroots

serves
2-4
PREP
30 min
COOKING
30 min
serves
2-4
PREPARATION
30 min
COOKING
30 min
INGREDIENTS
  • 450 g / 1 lb cauliflower florets (1 medium cauliflower)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 450 g / 1 lb raw beetroot
  • ½ tsp salt, more to taste
  • 120 ml / ½ cup almond (or other neutral tasting) milk
  • 60 ml / ¼ cup roasted walnut butter*, shop-bought or see below
  • 30 ml / 2 tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • black pepper, to taste
  • ½ tsp ground cumin (optional)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic glaze / reduction, shop-bought or see below
  • roasted walnuts, to garnish
  • fresh thyme leaves,to garnish

WALNUT BUTTER (if making from scratch)

  • 200 g / 2 cups walnuts

BALSAMIC GLAZE REDUCTION (if making from scratch)

  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or sugar, adjust to taste
METHOD
  1. Heat up the oven to 200° C / 390° F and grab a very large baking tray. It’s important not to overcrowd the tray so if your tray isn’t large enough, you may need to roast the cauliflower and the beets separately.
  2. Divide cauliflower into medium, same size as much as possible, florets. Stir 2 tsp of olive oil through it and arrange the pieces on one half of the baking tray, cut sides down.
  3. Cut the tops of the garlic head off so that all the individual cloves are exposed, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in the piece of kitchen foil and place on the same tray.
  4. Finally, scrub and peel (you can leave the peel on if you like) all of the beetroots. Cut them into wedges, small ones 4 ways, medium ones 6 ways and really big one 8 ways. Coat in 1 tbsp of olive oil and season with salt. Arrange them on the other side of the tray.
  5. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, flipping the florets and beetroot wedges to the other side 15 minutes in – you want the florets to be charred on one side before flipping them over.
  6. Place roasted / steamed cauliflower florets in a blender (you can use a food processor but the dip won’t be as smooth) together with almond milk, walnut butter, vinegar / lemon juice, squeezed out roasted garlic cloves (I used 6, use as many as you prefer). Process until super smooth – you will need to stop the blender and scrape down the sides from time to time. Season with salt, pepper and cumin. To make the dip / mash extra smooth and indulgent, you may want to add a little bit of walnut oil or extra virgin olive oil.
  7. Spread the cauliflower dip on a large plate / platter and arrange the roasted beets artfully on top. Drizzle with balsamic reduction, scatter roasted walnuts and fresh thyme leaves on top.

WALNUT BUTTER (makes 240 ml / 1 cup)

  1. Heat up the oven to 180° C / 350° F.
  2. Spread walnuts on a large baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for about 8 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Cool.
  3. Place roasted walnuts in a food processor and process until you obtain a walnut butter. It took my very old Kenwood 3 minutes so it shouldn’t take that long at all. Transfer the butter to a jar and store in the fridge (it keeps for at least 1 month).

BALSAMIC GLAZE / REDUCTION

  1. Place balsamic vinegar and maple syrup (or sugar) in a small pot, mix well and place on a low heat.
  2. Simmer gently to reduce to the desired consistency (the length of time depends on the quality of the balsamic vinegar, the more runny type of balsamic will take longer to reduce). The tricky part here is that it is only possible to judge the reduction once the mixture has cooled down completely so it’s easy to over reduce or not reduce enough. That’s not a problem though – if you over reduced, bring it back with a small splash of water. If not reduced enough, return the pot to the stove and simmer some more.

NOTES
*You can use tahini instead, but roasted walnut butter works so much better and it gives the dish a lovely umami flavour.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
321
16%
sugars
17 g
19%
fats
20 g
28%
saturates
2 g
11%
proteins
9 g
18%
carbs
31 g
12%
*per serving
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5.0
4 reviews, 10 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Els Verheye:
I made this for my bf and me but kept the quantities for 4 people. We finished it all :) Seriously, this may not be enough for 4 people.
I served the dish with a green salad and bread, it was delicious.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Els,
    I'm delighted to hear that you and your boyfriend enjoyed it so much, thank you. It is meant to be a sharing plate so I assumed it's eaten as a side or part of a mezze plate, but I can certainly adjust the recipe to say 2-4. It's really difficult to quantify things like that as people's appetites differ quite widely sometimes. x Ania
Sal Goulding:
Hi, what protein would you serve with this please?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Sal,
    I am not sure you need any protein with it per se (walnuts are rich in protein, for example), but you could always add some beans to the dip so serve the dip alongside a bean dish, like this one here if you wanted to. Hope that helps! Ania
Haley:
This is such a great dish!!!! My friend, who is not so big on being plant based, remarked after, "I think I should try going eating plants instead of meat for like 30 days!" If that isn't a sign that this recipe is AMAZING, I don't know what is!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thank you Haley, I'm so happy to hear that even your veg-sceptic friend loved this dish! x Ania
Harry:
The colour looks very attractive! I like beetroots not only its colour but also its health benefit. It decides us nutrition, vitamin C and B9. Additional the little bit fat of walnut makes this recipe quite healthy. I like to sprinkle more basil.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks for commenting, Harry. I'm glad to hear that it's up your street. Ania
Ewa:
This recipe came to me in the exact, perfect time, which is time for the homegrown beetroot. I baked the cauliflower, as recommended in the recipe, and mixed it with homemade walnut butter (so potent there was no need for additional oil). And of course added all the rest. The outcome is just divine! So yummy, and so filling, love it! Silky cauliflower paste with the texture of beetroot, and crunchiness of the freshly roasted walnuts...purrrrfect!
    Ania
    Ania:
    I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed it, Ewa! And thank you so much for taking the time to review this recipe - I really appreciate it. Ania
Lili:
Would this be good at room temperature, like for a picnic? Thanks
Ps I adore skordalia made with almonds
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Lili,
    Absolutely, room temperature is best, I would say. I guess serving beets a little warm could be nice too but I very much intended for it to be served cold, like a salad. Hope you'll enjoy it! Ania
    PS: Me too! Although I guess because almonds are an expensive ingredient, it is rarely made like that in the tavernas (in my experience at least).
deselby:
Interesting!!! What else can I use the walnut butter for? I have not seen it in stores here
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi,
    You can use it to make dressings, add to vegetable-based (pumpkin, cauliflower, celeriac) pasta sauces and combine with dates or sugar and use as a filling in yeasted buns and breads. Hope this helps! Ania
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