Vegan Cauliflower Mac And Cheese

Mac and cheese is a prodigy. There is nothing in the world that can go wrong with a perfect portion of freshly baked cheesy, creamy, comforting, and delightful mac n cheese. It is a simple dish that can win your hearts within minutes. It is made from pasta and cheese. Who knew two simple ingredients could create something so utterly delicious that have people all over the world swoon for it! See Vegan Mac And Cheese and Instant Pot Vegan Chili Mac And Cheese.

When you a vegan, you see all the delicious and hearty dishes from a different perspective. You look for not just flavors but for healthy and vegan ingredients as well. So, when you talk about mac and cheese in front of a vegan. His mind will instantly process the ingredients and their health benefits.

Being, a vegan, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the luxuries of flavors and texture. It is all about being creative, looking outside the box, and selecting plant-based ingredients to replicate the flavors and textures. It is quite interesting, actually, how vegan dishes often are a perfect imitation of non-vegan dishes.

cauliflower mac and cheese on a white plate in the foreground

What Is Vegan Mac And Cheese?

Mac n cheese is a casserole that has its origins dated back to the 14th century in Italy. And why not? Both pasta and cheese are adored by Italians. However, it wasn’t until the 1770’s that it made an appearance in the modern cookbooks of that time.

But it wasn’t until the 1930’s that Kraft came up with a boxed version of mac n cheese that you can heat in the oven and eat. This single product changed the history and perception of mac n cheese. People loved it so much that soon the dish became the most favorite dish of people all over America. Today, it is loved by people of all dietary preferences and ethnic backgrounds.

The answer is pretty obvious. A vegan mac n cheese is a version of the traditional mac n cheese that uses vegan ingredients. If you talk about the traditional mac n cheese, the only non-vegan ingredient is the cheese. You can replace it with vegan cheese sauce, and that’s it. Read About The Difference Between A Vegan And A Vegetarian.

However, because your aim is healthy food, so we are going to take things a little further and skip pasta altogether. Instead, we are going to use cauliflower florets.

Today, we are going to talk about one such dish and how we have meticulously turned it into a healthy, delicious, gluten-free, and vegan version.

So, without any more waiting, let’s head towards our version of mac n cheese!

cauliflower whole and florets on a wooden cutting board

Components Of Vegan Mac N Cheese

We all know that a traditional mac n cheese is made from two main ingredients, i.e., pasta and cheese. Well, for the vegan version, the count stays the same, with a bit of topping to make things interesting. Here are the three essential components in a vegan mac n cheese:

  • Because we are not using pasta, we are going to replace it with cauliflower florets. It is a more flavorful and healthy ingredient.
  • Instead of cheese, we are going to create our very own version. The vegan cheese sauce has the right texture, consistency, and creaminess that you love. Here is another version of . 
  • To top things up and give an additional element of crunch, we are going to use panko bread on top. Yum Yum

ingredients for cauliflower mac and cheese, steamed cauliflower, cheese sauce, breadcrumbs

Ingredient Breakdown

Vegan Mac and Cheese Cauliflower is a very simple dish, and you don’t need expensive or fancy ingredients for this one. The ingredients are fairly common in every vegan kitchen pantry. Here is everything you will need for this delicious dish:

  • Cauliflower: The pasta of your dish is the cauliflower. Everyone loves cauliflower for its unique flavor and texture. There is something about it that makes it a perfect substitute for pasta. It is crunchy, holds the body, and just perfect. For this recipe, I have used the cauliflower florets only and ditched the stem completely.
  • Vegan Cheese Sauce: Where traditional mac n cheese is loaded with cheddar or mozzarella cheese, we have created a vegan cheese sauce of our own. This cheese sauce is creamy, rich, thick, delicious, and healthy. Here is what you will need for this sauce.
  • Cashew: the main ingredient of this sauce is cashews. I have used raw cashews for this purpose. You can soak them for about 2 hours before blending them to ensure ultra-smooth consistency if you don’t have a high-speed blender.
  • Water: You will need water to blend the cashews.
  • Red bell pepper: It adds a sweet flavor to the vegan cheese sauce.
  • Nutritional yeast flakes: Nutritional yeast flakes are perfect for intensifying the flavors of the ingredients.
  • Seasoning: For more flavors, I like to season the sauce with onion powder, garlic powder, and salt.
  • Cayenne pepper: To bring in a bit of heat and spice things up, I use cayenne powder.
  • Breadcrumbs: the top layer of this mac n cheese is covered with panko breadcrumbs. I have used the Rice Panko because it is gluten-free. It gives the dish not just the color but adds an element of crunch as well.

Cauliflower mac and cheese preparation, pouring the cheese sauce over steamed cauliflower

How To Make Vegan Mac N Cheese

Making vegan mac n cheese is the easiest thing you can do. And it gets even easier if you have vegan cheese sauce already stored in your refrigerator. Here are five simple steps that will give you delicious Vegan Cauliflower Mac and Cheese 30 minute slater:

Step 1: Cut the cauliflower into florets and boil them in water for about 5 minutes until they are tender. Drain and set aside.

2: Blend cashews, water, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne together in a high-speed blender until you get a creamy sauce.

3: Place the cauliflower florets at the bottom of the baking dish and pour the vegan cheese sauce on top.

 4: Add a layer of panko breadcrumbs on top.

 5: Place the baking tray in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. Once it gets a golden brown color, remove it from the oven and serve.

Tips For Making Perfect Vegan Mac N Cheese

Although making Vegan Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is super simple, here are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Make sure the florets are dry and don’t have water in them when placing at the bottom of the baking dish.
  • You can add more flavors to the vegan cheese sauce according to your liking. You can add paprika or red chili flakes if you want more heat and spice.
  • If you don’t want to use rice panko breadcrumbs, you can use plain or even flavored panko breadcrumbs as well.
  • You can grease the baking dish with either coconut oil, vegetable oil, or cooking spray.
  • If you are looking for extra cheesiness, you can sprinkle vegan parmesan cheese on top as well.
  • What To Serve With Cauliflower Mac And Cheese?

    1. Smothered Tofu
    2. Vegan Collard Greens
    3. Spring Mix Salad

How To Store Vegan Mac N Cheese

Have leftover vegan mac n cheese? No problem! You can save it for the next day! Place it in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. It will last for up to five days.

Furthermore, you can also store it in the freezer. It will last for up to three months.

Because it lasts long, vegan mac n cheese is a perfect dish that you can make ahead of time, like on weekends. Portion them out and freeze so that you can enjoy them on days when you don’t feel like cooking. Reheat it in the oven to get the best results.

Other Vegan Mac And Cheese Recipes

  1. Sweet Potato Vegan Mac And Cheese
  2. Nut-Free Vegan Mac And Cheese
  3. Cajun Vegan Baked Mac And Cheese

cauliflower mac and cheese on a white place with smothered tofu and collard's greens

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Nutrition

(Per serving)
  • Energy: 97 kcal / 405 kJ
  • Fat: 5.7 g
  • Protein: 3.6 g
  • Carbs: 9.8 g

Cooking Time

  • Preparation: 10 min
  • Cooking: 20 min
  • Ready in: 30 min
  • For:
  • 4 Servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a pot, add water plus 1/2 teaspoon salt, cauliflower florets, and cook for about 5 minutes until the florets are tender. Remove the pot from heat, drain the florets, and set aside.
  2. In a blender jug, add cashews, water, bell pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne powder, salt, and nutritional yeast flakes. Blend at high speed until you get a creamy mixture.
  3. Brush the baking tray with coconut oil lightly.
  4. Place the cauliflower florets at the bottom of the tray, and pour the blended vegan cheese sauce on top.
  5. Cover the top with panko breadcrumbs.
  6. Place the baking tray in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees F.
  7. Once the top gets a nice golden brown color, remove it from the oven and serve.
Recipe author's Gravatar image

Michelle Blackwood, RN

Hi, I’m Michelle, I’m the voice, content creator and photographer behind Healthier Steps. I share vegan and gluten-free recipes because of past health issues. My goal is to help you make healthier choices and show you how healthy eating is easy and delicious.