This 6-ingredient Vegan Cauliflower Cheese is irresistible and made with roasted cauliflower, not boiled. The florets are smothered and baked with simple cheese sauce, giving you an indulgent and cheesy casserole.
Looking for more cozy casserole dishes for a Sunday family dinner or your holiday table? Be sure to give my Vegan Tater Tot Casserole, Vegan Scalloped Potatoes, Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese and Broccoli Rice Casserole a try!
What do you get when roasted cauliflower and cashew cheese sauce get together? This indulgent and easy Vegan Cauliflower Cheese recipe!
Cauliflower Cheese is a British dish that is served as a side or vegetarian main. Usually the cauliflower is lightly boiled, then baked in a simple milk-based cheese sauce. I decided to roast the cauliflower first, and of course make it dairy free with an easy but delicious cashew sauce.
This cauliflower cheese bake is essentially vegan baked mac and cheese but without the “mac”. It takes roasted cauliflower and vegan cheese sauce, then bakes them together until you’re left with a golden, bubbly, and cheesy casserole the whole family will adore. Better yet, it only takes 1 hour to put together!
Why I love this cauliflower cheese bake
- It’s like mac and cheese, but without the noodles – I’ll never turn down a bowl of gooey vegan mac and cheese but this cauliflower version is just as crave-worthy as the classic.
- Ridiculously easy – All you have to do is roast the cauliflower, make the cheese sauce, then bake the two together!
- Comforting and cheesy – Roasted cauliflower that’s smothered and baked with cashew cheese is an indulgent meal that’s perfect for holidays or weeknight dinners. You won’t even notice that it’s dairy free!
How to make cauliflower cheese
Lay the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet and toss them in the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven until they’re lightly golden brown.
Meanwhile, soak the cashews by placing them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over top. They can soak for 5 minutes or up to 1 hour.
Drain the cashews and transfer them to a blender along with the vegetable broth, milk, nutritional yeast, and salt. Blend until very smooth.
Tip: Make the cashew cheese sauce in a high-powered blender if you can! My Vitamix is a pro at making completely smooth and pourable vegan cheese sauce in less than 2 minutes.
Transfer the roasted cauliflower to a baking dish. Pour the cheese sauce over top and gently toss to coat.
Bake the cauliflower casserole until the cheese sauce has thickened and is bubbly and golden.
Optional: Finish the cauliflower mac and cheese under the broiler for a few minutes to give the top a deeper brown color.
Garnish with parsley, then enjoy!
Frequently asked questions
This casserole would be delicious with the addition of roasted broccoli florets, green peas, sliced vegan chicken, or leafy greens. You can even give it a crispy crunch by topping it with a seasoned and buttered breadcrumb topping (regular or gluten free), just like in my classic Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe.
Either use the same amount of raw blanched almonds or sunflower seeds instead or use one batch of my Nut Free Vegan Cheese Sauce.
I prefer cauliflower cheese with fresh cauliflower because I think it has the best texture and flavor. If you only have frozen cauliflower at home, feel free to use it instead. Season the frozen florets and roast them as normal (don’t thaw them ahead of time) before assembling and baking the casserole.
You can make the cashew cheese sauce ahead of time and store it in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to cook. To save extra time, chop the cauliflower head into florets and keep them in the fridge until it’s time to season and roast them. You do want to serve it hot from the oven though, it just tastes better.
Cover the cooled cauliflower cheese bake and store it in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. To reheat, simply pop it in a 350ºF oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until it’s heated through. Leftovers are good, but if serving for a holiday I recommend serving it right after baking for best results.
I don’t recommend freezing the leftovers because the cauliflower becomes soggy after thawing.
Vegan Cauliflower Cheese
- 2 pounds cauliflower florets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- few shakes ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and lightly grease a large rimmed pan (or line with parchment paper).
- Place the cauliflower on the prepared pan, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss gently in the pan.
- Roast for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden brown. Once it's finished roasting, lower the heat to 350 degrees F.
- While the cauliflower roasts, soak the cashews – Bring 3-4 cups of water to a boil (I use my tea kettle). Pour the hot water over the cashews and let soak for 5 minutes or up to an hour.
- Drain the cashews, discard the soaking water and add to a high powered blender along with the vegetable broth, milk, nutritional yeast and salt. Blend until very smooth.
- Once the cauliflower has roasted, transfer it to a 9×13 inch baking dish. Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower and gently toss to coat.
- Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, until the cheese sauce has thickened and is bubbly and golden. Place under broiler for a few minutes if desired for a deeper brown on top.
- Sprinkle with parsley if desired and serve warm.
Nut Free Option: Use 1 Recipe of my Nut Free Vegan Cheese Sauce instead of the cashew cheese. Or sub raw slivered almonds or sunflower seeds for the cashews.
- Leftovers will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. I don’t recommend freezing it as the cauliflower will be quite soggy.
- Prep ahead of time: You can chop the cauliflower florets ahead of time, and make the cashew sauce. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before roasting the cauliflower and baking the casserole.