The Creamiest Vegan Cauliflower and Cheese

This dish is so tasty and indulgent you will forget that it’s healthy. This Creamiest Vegan Cauliflower & Cheese boasts a wholesome, luscious and oil-free velvety sauce that lovingly clings and caresses each Cauliflower floret. The addition of Butternut squash and a medley of spices creates a super umami experience that is bursting with complex and rich flavours. It's like a harmonious blend of creaminess, cheesiness, and wholesomeness that dances on your palate. The crispy top layer introduces another texture, perfectly accentuating the overall taste profile. As the ideal side dish for any meal, this creation isn't just a treat for your taste buds – it's a sneaky way to infuse your diet with more veggies and fibre, even for fussy eaters.


Wet ingredients:

  • 1 medium head of Cauliflower (around 1kg )

    Cheese sauce:

  • 1/2 roasted Butternut Squash flesh (1 cup)

  • 1/3 cup of raw Cashew nuts – soaked

  • 1/2 cup of Nutritional Yeast

  • 1 tsp of Garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp of Onion powder

  • 1/2 tsp of Smoked Paprika

  • 1/2 tsp of Mustard powder

  • 1/2 tsp of freshly crack black Pepper

  • 1 Tbsp Miso Paste

  • 1 Tbsp of fresh Lemon juice

  • 1 Cup of plant milk (a bit more if needed)

  • 1/4 tsp of Chilly flakes (optional)

Crispy Topping:

  • 90 gr of Wholemeal Flour, Spelt or Gluten free

  • 50 gr of ground Almond

  • 30 gr Cocoa powder

  • 1 tsp of Baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp of Baking Soda

Topping ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of panko Bread crumbs

  • 2 Tbsp of Nutritional Yeast

  • 1 tsp of Smoked Paprika

  • 1 tsp of ground Garlic

  • freshly crack black Pepper to taste

About this recipe

Being Portuguese, I didn’t grow up eating Mac & Cheese, but my Canadian husband did. For him, Mac & Cheese brings back childhood memories of a cosy evening, snow tapping on the windows, and a bowl of steaming Mac & Cheese held in your hands. It sounds lovely, but let’s be clear – we’re talking about a high-processed cheese powder from a pack that you mix with boiling water. I knew I had to upgrade this idea to a more wholesome and nutritious dish that is, of course, vegan and dairy-free.
Sometimes I use this same cheese sauce with Wholewheat pasta and it works very well. Though I love to do it with Cauliflower especially this time of the year when they are in season. The cheesy cream is very important so don’t be shy with your seasoning and don’t skip any of the ingredients. Try it after blending and make adjustments according to your taste buds. Remember it will mellow after cooking in the oven. We like it a bit spicy so just a little note of Chilli flakes adds a gentle warmth that lingers.
The trick is to avoid overcooking the florets; you don’t want mushy cauliflower. A quick blanching in boiling water for 3-4 minutes does the job perfectly. And here’s a time-saving tip: if you’re in a rush, instead of roasting a Squash you can use frozen pumpkin or canned pumpkin purée. This will reduce the cooking time and making it an under 30-minute meal.
This dish never fails to bring a smile to my husband’s face. It’s a fantastic way to sneak in more veggies and fibre – even for the fussiest of eaters. You see, Mac & Cheese isn’t just about indulgence; it can be a nutritional powerhouse too. I hope your family and little ones love it as much as we do here at home.


Step 1 – Preheat your oven to 180°C fan setting. Cut the Butternut Squash in half and scoop out the seeds. You can dry and roast the seeds. Top with black Pepper and roast the in a oven tray flesh side down. Roast for 45-55 mins. Turn them halfway through the roasting time.
Step 2 – Meanwhile, cut and break the Cauliflower in small florets. Bring a medium pan half full of water to a boil and blanch the florets for 3-4 mins. Don’t overcook them; we want some bite. They will keep cooking and can turn mushy very fast.
Step 4 – Meanwhile bring together in a small bowl all the crispy topping ingredients: Bread crumbs, Nutritional Yeast, Smoked Paprika, ground Garlic, freshly cracked black Pepper to taste, and mix until well combined.

Step 4 – To the melted Chocolate add the Flaxseed mixture, Hazelnut butter with the Dates, and Coffee shot. Mix and fold with a spatula until well combined.

Step 5 – Take the Squash out of the oven and let it cool down until you can touch it. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon and discard the skin. It should come to around 1 cup.
Step 6 – In a separate bowl mix together all the dry ingredients, Wholemeal Flour, ground Almond, Cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda.
Step 7 – Pour the cheese sauce over the Cauliflower florets and toss carefully until well combined and all the florets are coated.
Step 8 – Transfer the Cauliflower and cheese to a baking dish. Sprinkle the crispy breadcrumb topping evenly over the top.
Step 9 – Transfer the tray to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the topping is crispy and brown. Allow to cool for 10-20 minutes to set then slice into it and serve.

About the Ingredients

Cauliflower: This beautiful vegetable is super versatile, full of nutrients, fibre, and high in antioxidants. Cauliflower is a good source of choline, a nutrient many people are lacking. It is involved in many processes in the body and works to prevent several diseases.

Butternut Squash flesh: You can substitute with any Pumpkin or squash you have in hand. I chose the Butternut squash because of its colour and mild flavour. If you use a pale Pumpkin you can add a pinch of Turmeric to get the same orange colour. If you are in a rush you can use a can of Pumpkin purée or frozen. Butternut squash is rich in important vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting antioxidants. This low-calorie, fibre-rich squash may help you lose weight and protect against conditions like cancer, heart disease, and mental decline.

Cashew nuts: Soak the raw Cashew nuts in cold water overnight or in boiling water for 1 hour. Rinse and drain before using. They add creaminess, structure, and the cheesy texture. Also, their oil adds some natural fat to the sauce without the need to use processed oils or butters.

Nutritional Yeast: You can’t really substitute or omit this ingredient. Nutritional Yeast is the savoury, umami friend that elevates this cheesy sauce to a outstanding and gourmet sauce. Try to get unfortified good quality flakes but any “nooch” works well in this recipe.

Miso Paste: It’s balanced between saltiness and depth with layers of complexity that come from the fermentation process and has hints of earthiness and a touch of sweetness. This adds umami, savoury and complex tones to our cheese sauce.