You can’t go wrong with vegan cauliflower cheese! Made with cashews and potaotes, the cheese sauce is rich, savory, and incredibly delicious with cauliflower as a classic side dish. You won’t believe that this dish is entirely dairy-free, and how easy it is to make!

Vegan cauliflower cheese recipe

Cheesy cauliflower? Yes please! I used to eat cauliflower cheese all the time before I went vegan. It was one of my go-to comforting dishes, and mum was always more than happy to make it as she loved it too. But, we both love this vegan version even more! I first developed this recipe a few years ago, and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to finally share it.

But regardless, here we are. You won’t believe that there’s no dairy or cheese at all in the cheesy sauce. Give it a go, you won’t regret it! Even if you don’t like cauliflower, this may help you change your mind!

Dairy-free cauliflower cheese with breadcrumbs

About this vegan cauliflower cheese

One of my favourite ways to eat cauliflower, as well as making cauliflower wings, has to be putting it into a cauliflower casserole. Pop it in the oven, and that’s all you need for guaranteed cosiness and deliciousness. With a recipe like this one, cauliflower can transform from boring to massively exciting with just simple ingredients.

Closeup of vegan cauliflower cheese

Of course, the best part is the cheesy, savory sauce. It uses soaked cashews and cooked potatoes for the best flavour and texture. The other ingredients all work very well together, so don’t worry about the sauce tasting like cashews. Mix it with the cauliflower, sprinkle some crunchy breadcrumbs on top, and it’s good to go.

Closeup of cheesy cauliflower in a casserole dish

Cauliflower cheese is perfect as a side dish as a side dish, but it works really well as a main course too. I love serving it for a weeknight dinner with a side salad and a protein source like crispy tofu.

Ingredients you’ll need for a perfect cauliflower bake

Here are all the ingredients, plus substitutions. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for full amounts.

Ingredients for vegan cauliflower cheese
  • Cauliflower florets.
  • Potatoes. Any potato variety will work for this recipe.
  • Cashews. Soak these for at least 4 hours in lukewarm water, or cook them in a saucepan for 15 minutes to soften.
  • Plant based milk of your choice.
  • Nutritional yeast. This is added for an amazing cheesy flavor.
  • Mustard. Ensure vegan.
  • Cornstarch. You can also use tapioca flour. This is added to thicken the sauce.
  • Tamari or soy sauce. For a soy-free version, use coconut aminos.
  • Spices: paprika, garlic powder and cumin. Adjust the amounts you use depending on personal preference.
  • Garlic cloves. Garlic is perfect for adding plenty of earthy flavor easily!
  • Lemon juice. You can also use apple cider vinegar.
  • Olive oil. This is used for cooking the red onion and the sauce.
  • Red onion.
  • Vegan cheese. This is optional, but very much recommended for plenty of flavor and deliciousness!
  • Breadcrumbs. If you want to make this dish gluten-free, you can use gluten-free breadcrumbs.

How to make vegan cauliflower cheese

It’s super easy! Start by, first of all, preheating the oven to 180 degrees C (350 F) and greasing a casserole dish.

Meanwhile, simmer the potatoes for 10-12 minutes, and steam the cauliflower for 7-8 minutes, until both are fork-tender.

When the potatoes are cooked through, drain them and transfer to a blender or food processor together with cashews, plant based milk, nutritional yeast, mustard, cornstarch, tamari, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, garlic cloves and lemon juice. Blend until very smooth.

Now, heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, until softened. Next, add the steamed cauliflower florets and the sauce, stirring for 2-3 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Transfer the cauliflower to the casserole dish and add the breadcrumbs on top. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, until crispy and golden brown on top.

Tips for success

  • If not using a high speed blender, be sure to soak the cashews very well, for at least 4 hours. Otherwise, the texture may not be completely smooth.
  • Use an unsweetened plant based milk, because this will make sure that it doesn’t interfere with the flavor. Coconut milk from a can can also work well and make the sauce even creamier.
  • To save time cooking the potatoes, be sure to chop them up very finely before cooking.
  • As you cook the onion, feel free to add other vegetables of your choice, such as zucchini, peppers and carrots. This dish is great for cleaning out the fridge! You can also stir in leafy greens of your choice, like kale or spinach.
  • Keep a close eye on the casserole while in the oven to make sure that the breadcrumb layer doesn’t start to burn.
Cheesy cauliflower with breadcrumbs in a bowl

Can I make a vegan cauliflower casserole ahead of time?

Yes, and there are different ways to do so. You can, first of all, cook the potatoes and cauliflower ahead of time as part of your meal prep routine, and keep them in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Then, all you need is 5 minutes to make the sauce, assemble the casserole, and pop in the oven.

Vegan cauliflower cheese recipe

You can also assemble the casserole together with the sauce, wrap in cling film and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Then, simply bake it as instructed when ready to eat.

How to store and freeze vegan cauliflower cheese

  • You can keep this cauliflower dish in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days in an airtight container. Reheat in the microwave, or in the oven for around 10 minutes.
  • In order to freeze, allow to cool completely and then place in freezer bags. Keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. In order to reheat from frozen, place the frozen cauliflower in a casserole dish, add extra vegan cheese and place in the oven for 35-40 minutes.
Bowl of vegan cauliflower in a bowl with a cheesy sauce

Can I make this dish gluten-free

You can make a gluten-free cauliflower casserole simply by using tamari rather than soy sauce and gluten-free breadcrumbs. If you can’t find gluten-free breadcrumbs at the store, you can also make your own, or use ground almonds.

Bowl of cheesy vegan cauliflower

Other delicious cauliflower recipes

Vegan cauliflower cheese recipe

Let me know in the comments: what’s your favourite way to cook cauliflower? If you give this vegan cauliflower cheese a go, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@earthofmariaa) and leave your feedback in the comments below together with a star rating. I’d love to hear from you!

Vegan cauliflower cheese recipe

Get the Recipe: Vegan Cauliflower Cheese

This vegan cauliflower cheese is incredibly rich, savoury and easy to make. The cheesy sauce is made using cashews and potatoes, and it's perfect as a side dish or a cosy main course. You won't believe this meal is completely dairy-free!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 1/2 cups cashews, soaked
  • 1 cup plant based milk
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup vegan cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs

Equipment

  • Conventional oven
  • Casserole dish
  • Saucepan
  • Blender or food processor
  • Frying pan

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 F) and grease a casserole dish.
  • Simmer the potatoes for 10-12 minutes, and steam the cauliflower for 7-8 minutes, until both are fork-tender.
  • When the potatoes are cooked through, drain them and transfer to a blender or food processor together with cashews, plant based milk, nutritional yeast, mustard, cornstarch, tamari, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, garlic cloves and lemon juice. Blend until very smooth.
  • Now, heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, until softened.
  • Add the steamed cauliflower florets and the sauce, stirring for 2-3 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  • Transfer the cauliflower to the casserole dish and add the breadcrumbs on top. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, until crispy and golden brown on top.

Video

Notes

Instructions for storage and freezing
  • Keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days in an airtight container. Reheat in the microwave, or in the oven for around 10 minutes.
  • In order to freeze, allow to cool completely and then place in freezer bags. Keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. In order to reheat from frozen, place the frozen cauliflower in a casserole dish, add extra vegan cheese and place in the oven for 35-40 minutes.
How to make ahead of time
  • You can cook the potatoes and cauliflower ahead of time as part of your meal prep routine, and keep them in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Then, all you need is 5 minutes to make the sauce, assemble the casserole, and pop in the oven.
  • You can also assemble the casserole together with the sauce, wrap in cling film and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Then, simply bake it as instructed when ready to eat.
Calories: 247kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 425mg, Potassium: 508mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 131IU, Vitamin C: 34mg, Calcium: 86mg, Iron: 3mg
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Vegan cauliflower cheese