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Close up on a spoon that's taking a portion of a vegan baked cauliflower mac and cheese out of a dish. You can see clearly the creamy filling and the crumbly topping.

Vegan Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

5 from 2 votes
This homemade vegan baked mac and cheese is outrageously DELISH! Featuring a vegan cheddar sauce made from scratch, pieces of cauliflower and a crunchy panko topping. Plus, it hides a good load of healthy veggies! Such a keeper, both kids and adults will love it!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Servings 6 people

Equipment

  • Blender

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ¼ cups raw cashews
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 small head)
  • 1 large carrot - peeled and roughly chopped (for color)
  • 1 medium size potato - peeled and sliced in quarters
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar - lemon juice works too
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 ½-2 tsp salt - or to taste
  • 2 cups plant-based milk - plain and unsweetened
  • 16 oz macaroni noodles - cooked al dente

Crispy topping

  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup regular breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • black pepper - to taste

Instructions
 

  • Soak the cashews in boiling water for about 10-15 min. Then, drain and set aside. Also, cook your noodles al dente and pre-heat the oven to 375º.
  • Transfer the cauliflower florets to a large pot alongside the carrots and potatoes. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Keep simmering for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Then, drain well.
  • Using a fork or tong, carefully remove about 2 cups of cooked cauliflower from the vegetable mix. Set aside (they will be combined within the sauce later).
  • Transfer the drained cashews and remaining vegetable mix to a blender alongside the nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, clove of garlic, salt and milk. Blend on high until smooth and uniform. Adjust salt to your taste.
  • Combine the al dente noodles with the 2 cups of cauliflower florets that you set aside and pour the cheddar sauce over. Stir to combine and transfer to a large baking dish.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the crispy topping ingredients and distribute over the whole dish.
  • Bake for 25-30 min or until golden brown. Can also do a few minutes on broil at the end (watch closely). Let the mac and cheese sit for about 10 minutes before eating, enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • Storage: the dish is saucier when freshly baked as the noodles keep soaking on the sauce while resting. Keep leftovers in the fridge covered for up to 4 days and reheat using the microwave or the oven.
  • Be sure to cook the noodles al dente, even slightly undercooked. They will keep cooking in the oven.
  • When preparing the cauliflower, keep the florets large enough so they are easy to grab when setting the 2 cups aside. You can then chop them smaller in bite size as needed.
  • This is a large dish and a good mac and cheese loves salt! So, depending on your diet, don't hesitate to add more salt to really enhance the flavor.
  • For a crispier topping, add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the breadcrumb mixture before spreading over the noodles.
  • Feel free to add smoked paprika, cayenne peppers, more veggies such as steamed broccoli or peas or even diced jalapeño or canned green chiles. You might want to use less noodles if adding lots of veggies (to keep the dish as saucy).
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