Vegan Cauliflower-Creamed Spinach Recipe

The Food Lab

Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science.

Vegan Cauliflower-Creamed Spinach Recipe

[Photographs: J. Kenji López-Alt. Video: J. Kenji López-Alt and Vicky Wasik]

This vegan creamed spinach uses cauliflower purée as a stand-in for the cream. The most amazing part: The dish tastes just as creamy, but is actually more intensely spinach-flavored as a result, since dairy can mute flavors. It's a win-win.

Why It Works

  • Puréed cauliflower forms a creamy base to bind the spinach.
  • Eliminating dairy means that the spinach flavor comes to the forefront, bright and clear.
  • Yield:Serves 4 to 6
  • Active time: 30 minutes
  • Total time:45 minutes


  • 6 ounces cauliflower florets (170g; about 1/3 of a small head)
  • 6 ounces almond, soy, rice, or cashew milk (2/3 cup; 170ml)
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 8 ounces; 225g)
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 pound (450g) mature curly or flat-leaf spinach, washed well and roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. 1.

    Combine cauliflower and milk in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, cover, reduce heat to lowest setting, and let cook until cauliflower is completely tender, about 10 minutes. Blend into a smooth purée using an immersion blender or countertop blender. Set aside.

  2. 2.

    Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a large saucepan until melted. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add nutmeg and stir to combine. Add spinach one handful at a time, stirring and folding until each handful of spinach is wilted before adding the next.

  3. 3.

    Add cauliflower purée to spinach mixture and stir to combine. Bring to a bare simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is completely tender and mixture is creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.