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This veggie-loaded Vegan Cauliflower Casserole is layered with ooey-gooey cheese, topped with buttery breadcrumbs and then baked to perfection. It's easy and delicious!
Autumn is right around the corner and that means it's time for everything warm, comforting and definitely cheesy! Am I right? So, to celebrate, I'm sharing this Cheesy Vegan Cauliflower Casserole to kickoff the season.
It will fit right into your weeknight dinner routine, weekends or for your holiday table. It'll be on our Thanksgiving table along with my Meatless Loaf, Sourdough Bread Stuffing, Vegan Greenbean Casserole, and my Sweet Skillet Cornbread Recipe. I can't wait!
This veggie-packed casserole is also kid-friendly. I mean, who wouldn't eat their veggies when they are smothered in a cheesy sauce?
How to Make Vegan Cauliflower Casserole
(full ingredient amounts in recipe card below)
Combine the breadcrumbs, garlic and melted butter together. This will create a buttery and crispy top to your casserole!
Note: You'll need to soften the cashews first for the vegan cheese sauce. To do this, boil water in a small pot and remove from heat. Add cashews and cover for 15-20 minutes until they're softened.
Cover and steam the cauliflower in about 1" of water in a Large Pot. Cover and steam until just tender (about 7-10 minutes). Uncover and remove from heat.
Note: You can also boil the cauliflower until just tender (about 5 minutes). Drain really well before putting in the casserole dish.
Time to make the vegan cheese sauce! To get started, drain and rinse the cashews (discard soaking water). Now place all cheese sauce ingredients in a High-Speed Blender. Blend until cashews have completely broken down and the sauce is smooth.
Note: If you don't have a high-speed blender, the cashews might not completely break down and this could result in a gritty texture. You can try soaking the cashews longer for 12 hours or more.
Now for the stretchy cheesy goodness! Pour blended vegan cheese sauce into a medium skillet/pot over medium heat (I used the same pot for steaming the cauliflower). Cook for 4-5 minutes until it thickens up a lot and becomes slightly stretchy. Stir often to prevent it from burning and sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Note: If the cheese sauce is too thick for your taste, you can add a little soy milk or broth to thin it out. Taste for seasoning and add more if needed.
Pour half of the vegan cheese sauce into the greased casserole dish and spread along the bottom. Now add the cauliflower florets on top in mostly one layer.
Top with more vegan cheese sauce! Pour the remaining cheese sauce on top of the cauliflower and spread out evenly. You can sprinkle the top with fresh-cracked pepper if desired.
Now sprinkle the top with prepared panko breadcrumbs and cover with foil. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is hot and bubbly. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until breadcrumbs are light golden brown.
- Fresh-Cut Parsley
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Vegan Parmesan Cheese
- I recently switched to Sari Foods Nutritional Yeast. I like it better because the vitamins and minerals are naturally occurring. They don't add any synthetic vitamins, so it's better for you and it doesn't taste as bitter either. It's a few dollars more than most brands but so worth it. (*It doesn't contain B12, so you'll have to supplement if you depend on nutritional yeast for that)
- If you have Vegan Lactic Acid, you can use that in replace of the lemon juice. It adds a similar tangy flavor that cultured cheese has. I usually add 1 ¼ teaspoons in place of the lemon juice. You'll need to add a few tablespoons of broth or non-dairy milk to make up the liquid portion of the lemon juice.
I'd love to hear from you
If you make this Vegan Cauliflower Casserole, let me know what you think by ★ star rating it and leaving a comment below. It would really make my day. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me. Just tag me @veganhuggs and hashtag #veganhuggs so I don’t miss it.
Cheesy Vegan Cauliflower Casserole
- 1 large head cauliflower , cut into bite-size florets (about 2.5 pounds)
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (GF if preferred)
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter , melted (+ more for greasing dish)
- 1 cup raw cashews , soaked in very hot water
- 2 cups unsweetened soy milk
- 1 cup vegetable broth , low sodium
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup tapioca flour/starch
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic , (+ a pinch for breadcrumbs)
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion
- 1 ¼ teaspoons sea salt , more to taste
- Fresh-cut parsley
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C). Lightly grease a 3-quart casserole dish and set aside.
- Combine the melted butter, breadcrumbs and a pinch of granulated garlic in a small bowl. Set aside.
- To soak cashews, boil water in a small pot and remove from heat. Add cashews and cover for 15-20 minutes, until softened (*see note).
- While the cashews are soaking, you can steam the cauliflower. Place about 1 " of water into a med/large pot that will fit your steamer basket. Place your basket on the bottom and cover pot with a lid. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat to med-low to maintain a low boil and place cauliflower florets into the basket. Cover and steam for 7-10 minutes, until just tender. Uncover and remove from heat.
- Drain and rinse cashews (discard soaking water). Now place all cheese sauce ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend until cashews have completely broken down and the sauce is smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
- Pour cheese sauce into a medium skillet/pot over medium heat (I used the same pot for steaming the cauliflower). Cook for 4-5 minutes until it thickens up a lot and becomes slightly stretchy. Stir often to prevent burning. If sauce is too thick for your taste, you can add a little soy milk or broth to thin it out. Taste for seasoning, and add more if needed.
- Pour ½ the cheese sauce on the bottom of the greased casserole dish. Now add the cauliflower on top in one layer. Pour the remaining cheese sauce on top of the cauliflower. Now sprinkle with prepared breadcrumbs and cover with foil. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is hot and bubbly. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until breadcrumbs are light golden brown. Remove from oven. *Sprinkle with optional fresh-cut parsley and crushed red pepper flakes. Enjoy!
This is the best recipe to go with a roast!
It is a great side dish indeed! 🙂
This was delicious and easy to prepare. Even the non vegans enjoyed it.
That is amazing! Hope you all had a great celebration. 🙂
This is my updated comment , after prepping the sauce and the cauliflowers make sure you drain them in a colander . My sauce wasn’t thin fairly thick but pourable I topped it with one slice of follow your heart smoke Gouda breaking small pieces . I didn’t know if the sauce was going to get thinner with the cauliflowers once in the oven that’s why I am writing a second comment . If you have a party you can make it ahead of time it won’t change the texture and taste I baked it in the oven covered the first 15 minutes at 350f than uncovered for another 15 minutes .. just to let everyone know the sauce will not separate or get thinner so make the sauce with consistency you like it’s the result you will get once baked . I used a pretty purple pie plate so I can serve it from the oven on the table sprinkle with chopped parsley ..I seasoned my vegetables with smoked paprika a nice homemade seasoned salt , pepper and poured the sauce over , my husband and I we loved loved loved it !!!! Seriously it will be on our thanksgiving diner table ..it’s difficult to find holiday worthy vegan recipes , specially when you host for non vegan meat and cheese lovers , you want to serve them vegan food to show them it still can taste good 😊 thank you
Thank you for sharing your experience and feedback about this recipe, Brigitte. I am so pleased you and your husband loved this recipe and will be making it for your Thanksgiving feast! ❤️
This recipe is 10/10. I get asked to make it every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. It’s definitely one of my favorites!
This is so nice to hear! Thanks for the great feedback. 🙂
What are your thoughts on putting in a smoker instead of oven? Still cook until bubbly?
Thanks for dropping by to give your feedback, Jennifer. 🙂
OH MY WORD was this delicious!!! I used broccoli and cauliflower and gluten free panko bread crumbs but followed the recipe closely and I was seriously impressed. I cook 5-6 nights a week (dairy free, meat free, gluten free) and this recipe may be the most tasty thing I’ve made in a long time. It has such a comfort food feel with none of the guilt. My whole family loved it. Even my meat eating husband. Definitely making this again!
Hi Kirsten, your feedback made my day! Thank you so much for trying this recipe and for taking the time to provide us with an awesome review! Hope you can try more of our recipes in the future. Cheers! 😊
I enjoyed this dish very much! I ended up cooking this dish a bit longer. I drizzled truffle oil on the top when it was time to dig in 😋
Wow, the truffle oil sounds perfect. Thank you for trying the recipe and sharing your feedback. 🙂
This was really good! I added some paprika to the cheese sauce and was really pleased with how it came out. The crispy panko topping is a great addition. We had it as the main with a side of a wild rice, amaranth mix. Thank you for sharing this!
Glad you enjoyed it Stacey.:)
This was amazing I didn’t have any cauliflower so I used broccoli instead. It was still amazing!
I am pleased you still tried it and made it work with what you have! That is awesome, Mike. Thank you. 🙂
Can you make sauce in advance and refrigerate it?
Hi Mary, yes, you can make the sauce in advance. If it's too thick on the reheat, just add a few splashes of broth or water to thin it out. 🙂
This looks delicious and very easy to make. I’m wondering if granulated onion and garlic are the same as onion and garlic powder. Thanks for the recipe.
Thank you, Stacey. Yes, they are different, but you can use the powder if that's all you have. Just use about 1/2 the amount because it's more potent. Sometimes granulated garlic is actually labeled 'garlic powder'. It can be confusing but the easiest way to tell is by the color and texture. True granulated garlic is somewhat golden and has a thicker grind. Garlic powder is white-ish and powdery. Usually, onion powder is labeled correctly. I hope this helps. 🙂
Can this be made the day before? Or the last step of baking it done before serving the next day?
Thanks in advance.