Cauliflower Mac N Cheese Bake

Feature Recipe | Cauliflower Mac N Cheese Bake

Classic comfort food meets simple yet sophisticated with this recipe. I described this as “fancy Mac N Cheese” to the kids…. and they devoured it. 
The delicate, slightly nutty taste of cauliflower makes for the perfect base to this sauce – add some soaked cashews, soy milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and Dijon mustard and the result is a smooth, cheesy sauce that will have you wondering how many ways you can use it… Rather than pour the cheese sauce over noodles I decided to layer the sauce and noodles in a lasagna-like fashion and top with a crispy panko topping…taking a bake-style approach proved to be spot on! Bubbling cheese sauce and crispy panko marry together to create an easy weeknight dish you can feel good about serving.

Looking for a recipe with cauliflower power? Check out these other popular Vegan Rhapsody favourites:

Roasted Cauliflower & Pearl Couscous Casserole
Creamy Broccoli & Cauliflower Tomato Sauce
Cauliflower Wings with Sweet Heat Sauce

Enjoy~

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 1lb cooked pasta of choice 
  • 2 Tbsp vegan butter
  • Small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 ½  – 3 cups steamed cauliflower florets, mashed   
  • 2 cups soaked & drained raw cashews
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 2/3 cup cooking water (reserved from cooking pasta) plus extra to thin out sauce 
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast            
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard 
  • 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt

Panko Topping

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp Herbs de Provence or combination of dried savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme & oregano
  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Instructions

Prep It 

  • 1/Cook 1lb macaroni noodles (or pasta of choice) as directed.
  • 2/Preheat oven to 400F.

Cook It

  • 1/Add vegan butter to pot on medium-low heat. Sauté the onion until translucent.
  • 2/Add mashed cauliflower, soaked cashews, soy milk and reserved cooking water to the pot. Increase temperature to high heat and bring to a boil (mix intermittently) 
  • 3/Reduce temperature to low heat and simmer mixture for 10 minutes. 

Blend It

  • 1/Transfer “cheese” mixture from pot to a food processor or high-powered blender. 
  • 2/Add nutritional yeast, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and salt to the blender. Process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired (e.g. add more nutritional yeast for a deeper umami/cheesy flavour)
  • Tip: Add more reserved cooking water (1 Tbsp at a time) to the prepared sauce for a smoother consistency

Assemble It 

  • 1/Lightly grease the bottom of a baking dish with vegan butter (or similar).  Add half the cooked pasta to the dish. Top with half the prepared sauce. Repeat with the remaining pasta and sauce. You should have a total of four layers. 
  • 2/Sprinkle the prepared Panko Topping over the top layer of sauce. Bake for 30 minutes or until the mixture starts to bubble and the Panko Topping turns golden brown.

Serve It 

Pair this savoury bake with a side salad and/or soup.  All that’s left is to DIG IN!

Recipe Notes

*Cover 2 cups raw cashews with lukewarm water. Let sit for minimum 2 hours (or overnight if time allows)

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About Meagan Lamontagne