This Vegan Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole is baked au gratin style in a luscious cashew cream sauce and a crispy panko topping. This is the perfect vegan and gluten free Autumn and Winter side dish.
Wintertime is comfort food season. And this Vegan Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole is a warm au gratin style dish and its the ultimate wintertime comfort food.
Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables to keep on hand. Its delicious roasted, sautéd, grilled, pureed, and riced. You name it, cauliflower can do it. It also stays fresh in the refrigerator for well over a week, which means I really can always have it on hand without worrying about it going bad.
Cauliflower: One small to medium head of cauliflower cut into florets.
Cashews: Cashews give the cheese sauce its creaminess.
Non-Dairy Milk: Use any unsweetened non dairy milk you like. I like So Delicious Coconut Milk.
Nutritional Yeast: Nutritional yeast gives the cream sauce its cheesy flavor.
Garlic and Onion Powder: These add flavor to the sauce.
Dijon Mustard: Dijon adds a bit of tang and depth.
Cornstarch: To thicken the sauce.
Salt and Pepper: For seasoning.
Panko Bread Crumbs: I used GF panko to keep this Vegan Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole gluten free.
First, make the cheesy sauce. Combine soaked cashews, plant milk, nutritional yeast, onion and garlic powder, dijon and salt and pepper in a blender.
Then, blend on high until the sauce is completely smooth.
Next, blanch the cauliflower in a large pot of boiling water. Drain it and return the pot to the stove.
Now, pour the cashew cheese sauce into the pot and cook until thickened.
Then, add the cauliflower to the cheese sauce and combine.
Finally, transfer the cauliflower in the vegan cheese sauce to a 1.5 QT casserole baking dish, top with panko and bake!
Tips for Success
To achieve a creamy cashew sauce for the Vegan Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole, its imperative to first soak the cashews.
Soaking softens the cashews so the blender can blend them into a completely smooth sauce.
I use my tea kettle to pour boiling water over the cashews. Then, I allow them to soak for 30 minutes.
You need a blender for this recipe.
I have a high speed blender, which I realize not everyone has.
This recipe will also work in a magic bullet style blender, but you may need cut the plant milk in half to make sure it fits.
Then, once the sauce is blended add the remaining plant milk.
But, there are many brands to choose from so use what is accessible. OR if you don't need to avoid gluten, go with the traditional panko!
To store, transfer to an airtight container and place in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
I don't recommend freezing.
I recommend reheating in a toaster oven over a microwave.
Looking for More Cauliflower Recipes?
Vegan Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole
- 1 Blender High Speed or Magic Bullet Style
- 1 4 Quart Pot
- 1 1.5 Quart Baking Dish
- 1 Whisk
- 1 Rubber Spatula
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
For the Cashew Cream Sauce
- ½ Cup Raw Cashews, soaked in hot water for at least 30 minutes
- 1 ¼ Cup Non-Dairy Milk I used So Delicious Coconut Milk
- ¼ Cup Nutritional Yeast
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 2 teaspoon Cornstarch
- Black Pepper to Taste
For the Gratin
- 1 Medium Head of Cauliflower, cut into florets 6-7 Cups of Florets
- ¼ Cup Gluten-Free Panko Bread Crumbs
To Make the Cashew Cream Sauce
- Combine soaked cashews, non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast, dijon mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, cornstarch salt and pepper in a high speed blender and blend on high until completely smooth, scraping the sides down with a spatula as necessary.½ Cup Raw Cashews, soaked in hot water for at least 30 minutes, 1 ¼ Cup Non-Dairy Milk, ¼ Cup Nutritional Yeast, 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder, 1 teaspoon Onion Powder, 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard, ½ teaspoon Salt, 2 teaspoon Cornstarch, Black Pepper to Taste
To Put the Gratin Together
- Preheat oven to 400* F.
- You will need a 1.5 quart baking vessel. Shape doesn't matter, so to test which baking vessel is the right size, add the raw cauliflower to see if all of it fits. Set the baking dish aside.
- Fill a 3-4 quart pot with water and bring to a boil. Add salt to the water and then the cauliflower florets. Boil for 3-4 minutes, until the cauliflower is just starting to get tender.1 Medium Head of Cauliflower, cut into florets
- Drain the cauliflower into a colander. Leave the cauliflower in the colander but return the pot to the stove.
- Pour the cashew cream sauce into the pot and turn the burner onto medium. Whisk constantly until the mixture starts to thicken and just comes to a boil. Then, remove from heat.
- Add the cauliflower into the thickened cashew cream sauce, gently stir with a spatula to coat everything.
- Transfer into an approximately 1.5 quart baking dish. Top with panko bread crumbs.¼ Cup Gluten-Free Panko Bread Crumbs
- Bake in a 400* oven for 20 minutes, then turn the broiler on and broil just until the panko topping is browned, 3-5 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Let me know how you like this recipe!