Merlot Melange and Vegan Cauliflower Mash

A few weeks ago, I shared this snapshot of my potted herbs:

Herbs!  The only things that are worth photographing at the moment.

This assortment is small but mighty.  Rosemary, basil, thyme, and dill.  All four are excellent stand-alone flavors in any dish, but they really shine when they come together.  On summer nights when I want something light and simple, I know that these can do the heavy lifting for flavor.

But first, rewind to a week ago when I was wandering around Wegmans’ bulk section and I discovered nutritional yeast, which I had heard of but neither used nor sought out.  I’d heard of it, but had no idea what one did with nutritional yeast.  On a lark, I bought some, and boy am I glad that I did.

Why, you ask?  Because last week while I was perusing Pinterest in my chiropractor’s waiting room, I spotted Purely Twins’ recipe for Dairy Free Cauliflower Mash, and this dish wash born.

Merlot Melange and Vegan Cauliflower Mash | A beautiful, decadent vegan, gluten-free, and paleo dinner

I’ve modified Purely Twins’ recipe and tossed a merlot-vegetable melange alongside it.  The beauty of this dish?  It lets my herbs take center stage and is ready in under thirty minutes, start to finish.  Also, take a look at the nutrition stats below; this dish is crazy healthy!

So run out to your herb garden and get snipping — we’ve got some veggies to eat.

Merlot Melange and Vegan Cauliflower Mash | A beautiful, decadent vegan, gluten-free, and paleo dinner

Merlot Melange and Vegan Cauliflower Mash*

Serves 2

*Cauliflower mash modified from this recipe at Purely Twins


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic, divided
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill weed, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 5 oz mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup merlot (or whatever wine you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped


  1. Begin by steaming your cauliflower.  I cut the stem off of mine and cut it into large chunks then put it in a covered glass dish in the microwave with a bit of water in the bottom for 15 minutes on high.
  2. While your cauliflower cooks, heat your teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat and add your vegetables group by group, allowing them to cook slightly uncovered.  Begin with your aromatics — onion and one tablespoon of garlic — then move on to your vegetables — carrot, then pepper, then mushrooms.
  3. Once your vegetables begin to brown, add in the wine,  half a teaspoon of black pepper, and your basil, rosemary, and thyme. Stir it all around, and cover it.  Leave it alone to finish steaming up the vegetables.
  4. By now, your cauliflower is probably ready.  Add this, the nutritional yeast, your remaining two tablespoons of garlic, half a teaspoon of pepper, and salt into a food processor.  Turn on your food processor and blend until everything is fully combined and cauliflower is minimally chunky (you may not get it completely smooth, but this is okay).
  5. Add your dill to the food processor and blend the whole thing again.  You want to do this until the dill is completely incorporated and it is in every bite.  Your cauliflower mash is ready to be plated!
  6. Finish your merlot melange by uncovering it and ensuring that the carrots are tender enough to put a fork through (but not mushy).  If you need to, increase the heat to cook off any extra liquid, or move it straight to the plate.
  7. Enjoy**

**A note on plating: as you’ll see from the pictures, I changed my plating halfway through eating my meal.  These components are good alongside one another, but much better with the merlot melange sitting atop your cauliflower puree.  It’s decadent, delicious, and unbelievably healthy.


Servings: 2 | Calories: 252 | Fat: 3 g | Carbs: 43 g | Fiber: 17 g | Protein: 16 g

Merlot Melange and Vegan Cauliflower Mash | A beautiful, decadent vegan, gluten-free, and paleo dinner


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