Vegan Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
This all started because of this miso cauliflower mac from A Cozy Kitchen. That was the original inspiration, but then the twist was to make it dairy-free. I’ve done it before with decent success, but it’s been years. Products are better. I was pretty sure I could do it justice. After some research, I settled on the Love and Lemon approach but with some tweaks. Instead of cashew cream? Non-dairy creamer. I’d blend in some cauliflower for additional creaminess and go the nutritional yeast route with a little bit of shredded Daiya cheddar melted in. It was good. It isn’t going to replace regular mac anytime soon but was a pretty great stand in.
As soon as I put the whole thing in the oven I realized I completely forgot the ingredient that brought me to this recipe in the first place. The miso. I got so focused on this sauce that it escaped me. I never even brought the tub of miso out of the fridge. Hilarious. I still want to try it someday.
Broiling the whole thing at the end with the bread crumbs and shredded cheese worked well to get a crunch. I didn’t bother with baking as it was already pretty thick to begin with. Plus it’s been super hot again, so turning on the oven for longer than that seemed a little excessive.
- 12oz shell shaped pasta
- 1 head of cauliflower, trimmed and chopped into florets
- 1 cup non-dairy creamer [I used Califia’s Original Better Half, unsweetened]
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon mustard powder
- 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 heaping tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup shredded Daiya cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- Salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets and cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to take them out and drain them in a colander. Add the pasta to the remaining water in the pot. Cook according to package directions, but drain two minutes early. Reserve some pasta water. Don’t be like me.
In a nonstick pan, add the olive oil and heat to medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and stir constantly for a minute until the garlic gets fragrant. Sprinkle the two tablespoons of flour on top and stir until it’s all sticking to the vegetables and it’s all damp from the oil. Stir until can smell the flour cooking. Pour in the creamer, mustard powder, paprika, and nutritional yeast. Stir until the powders are all mixed well. Add half of the cheese to the mixture. Stir often. It will eventually melt. Trust me. Remove from heat.
In a blender, add a little over half of the cauliflower. Pour in the cheese sauce. Blend until completely smooth. Taste for salt and pepper.
Turn the broiler on high. In a large baking pan, add the pasta and remaining cauliflower. If things are looking a little dry, splash in a little pasta water and stir to incorporate. The pasta and cauliflower should be thoroughly mixed. Pour the cheese sauce on top. Stir well until all pasta and cauliflower are coated. Spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with an even layer of the panko bread crumbs. Top with the remaining shredded cheddar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Put in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes until the bread crumbs start to brown and the cheese starts melting.
Serve immediately as the cheese will start to harden a little bit as it cools.