While nut-based cheeses are becoming increasingly more prevalent on specialty grocery store shelves, they are often expensive, heavy, or fraught with artificial ingredients. And they're no good for anyone with a nut allergy, either (obvi). But this cauliflower cheese recipe is a cheap and approachable way to recreate a lighter cheese in the comfort of your own home and allergen-friendly too.
Cheese goes with just about everything, but because it is so concentrated in calories, saturated fat, and the hard-to-digest protein casein, it can be a burden on your system. And who can really hold themselves back after just a few nibbles? Not me. So imagine the collective relief cheese aficionados (like me) felt when vegan cheese alternatives became a thing in recent years.
The real godsend of cheese alternatives are born from only a handful of common ingredients, such as select vegetables, a few condiments, and seasoning. That’s all it takes to achieve that thick, creamy, and dense texture we adore without the excess fat calories and rock-like consistency.
And it turns out that cauliflower makes for one of the best “cheese” contenders. When cooked, it holds its own and retains a naturally cheesy aroma. Nutritionally yeast adds even cheesier flavor, while mustard, salt, and pepper magnify the cheesy experience. The recipe calls for vegan butter, but if you don’t have access to it, use extra-virgin olive oil instead. This cauliflower cheese recipe results in a creamy, spreadable cheese that can be stirred into pasta, used as a crudité dip, or scooped over roasted vegetables.
There are so many ways to alter this recipe to make it more unique and individual to your taste preferences. In addition to cauliflower, you can add other roasted vegetables, such as carrot, broccoli, and sweet potato, all of which will maintain the recipe’s drool-worthy texture. You could also experiment with spices, such as cumin, coriander, white pepper, and cayenne. Using this cauliflower cheese recipe as a foundation go in different directions and have fun with the add-ins!
Cauliflower Cheese Recipe
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
- 1 medium cauliflower head
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter (Earth Balance)
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- ¼ teaspoon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1-2 green onions, chopped
Fill a pot with water until it rises about 1-inch up to the sides. Place the pot over medium heat. Roughly chop the cauliflower head and place it in the pot. Place a lid on the pot and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let the cauliflower steam for about 10-15 minutes, until tender throughout.
Remove the cauliflower from the heat and transfer to a blender. Add in the butter, nutritional yeast, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped green onions when serving it.
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