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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 recipe is incredible! I've tried it many times adding different veg also such as broccoli and zucchini and works wonders. Such a great rich, tasty vegan treat! Thank you
Thank you Holly. I am happy that you have been enjoying this recipe and making those great variations. 🙂
I just made this and it’s awesome! Incredibly creamy and tasty. Next time I’m going to try it with the sautéed garlic.
Go for it Donna! Glad you enjoyed.
This is delicious, actually made it twice already!! Thanks for coming up with such a magic recipe.
I am pleased you liked this recipe Rory. 🙂 Thank you for the great feedback.
Can you use almond milk instead of soy?
Hi Katrina, yes, you can use almond milk instead (or any unsweetened non-dairy milK). Thanks for stopping by 🙂
What is not to love about this recipe?!??! So freaking good!
The leftovers are even better!
Thanks for coming up with it!
My pleasure Chris! Thank you for trying it out. 🙂
my husband and I are only 1 month into being vegan and so far so good. I followed the recipe exactly but did I miss the part where I added crack 🤣 ?? We ate almost the whole pan the first time we tried it. What kind of voodoo is in here??? It’s so unbelievably scrumptious!
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.
Hahaha. I am glad you both enjoyed these cheesy cauliflowers a lot. I hope my other recipes will help you both in your vegan journey.
Can this be made ahead of time earlier in the day and then reheated in the oven. Or will it become too thick?
Hi Joanna, you can prep it entirely, up until the baking step, and then cover and chill. I would leave off the breadcrumbs and add them when you're ready to bake. Thanks for trying the recipe 🙂
Thanks for a yummy recipe. It was too much for us and we have leftovers Can it be frozen? The whole dish I mean.
Hi Sue, yes, you can freeze it for 2-3 months. 🙂
My husband went crazy for the cheese sauce. It is the best we have had! Great recipe!!
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Hi Sarai! We are so happy to hear that you both loved the recipe! Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂
Delicious…followed the recipe ingredients exactly and the flavor was yummy. I’m pretty lazy, so didn’t pre-cook the cauliflower…just added 10 minutes to the covered cooking time.
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Hi Renee! We are so happy to hear that you loved the recipe and that it worked out without prec-ooking the cauliflower 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
OMG thank you for this tip...we only have small pots and it was a mission to try and cook all of it, so I will try this.
I made this. OMG FREAKING AMAZING!!! Who needs dirty dairy with recipes like this. Thanks for bringing this tasty dish into my life!!!
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Hi Leigh! We are so happy to hear how much you loved the casserole! Thanks for giving it a try 🙂
Found this recipe last year and it quickly became a favorite. I make the sauce all the time and put it on (almost) EVERYTHING!
I'm so happy you love it! We use the sauce for a lot of various recipes too. So versatile! Thank you for sharing your feedback 🙂
I love your recipe but I ran out of cashews so I had to modify the recipe a little with violife mozzarella, freshly squeezed lemon, garlic powder, onion powder, 2 small spoon full of grated garlic, nutritional yeast and Italian seasoning
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Hi Maddie! We are happy to hear that the recipe turned out well with the substitutions 🙂
Entire family loved it. Tasted even nicer the next day!
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Hi Terry! We're so happy to hear that! Thank you for giving it a try! 🙂