Healthy vegan cauliflower casserole is ultra rich and creamy without the dairy. Potato always gets the spotlight, so it’s time for change!
This recipe was originally published on 11/21/2016
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of WhiteWave Foods. The opinions and text are all mine.
I love surprising people with dairy free recipes that they swear have dairy! This is one of those meals and it’s always a hit.
This gratin like recipe makes an amazing side dish. This tastes
just as good even better than its dairy loaded counterpart. But it has no dairy and can be made gluten-free as well!
I swapped the typical potatoes for slices of cauliflower to get in some extra veggies and give a low carb option. Whipped up a creamy sauce made of amazing whole foods. Then covered it all in a crispy flavorful breadcrumb topping.
In order to make this creamy and comforting casserole, you’ll need a variety of whole foods:
For the base you’ll need:
And for the sauce, gather:
- Raw cashews
- Unsweetened cashew milk
- Veggie broth
- Lemon juice
- Apple cider vinegar
- Sea salt
I made this vegan cauliflower casserole using Silk brand cashew milk, but any milk will work. Keep in mind that the creamier the milk is, the creamier the sauce will turn out.
How to Make Cauliflower Casserole
- Make the creamy sauce.
- Layer cauliflower with breadcrumb topping.
- Bake and serve!
Any dishes that would normally compliment a potato au gratin would go great with this dish. Here are some of our faves:
- Peas with scallions and dill
- Smoky maple roasted carrots
- Oven baked eggplant fries
- Greek stuffing
- The Best Vegan Meatballs
- Vegan Moussaka
To make the best Cauliflower Gratin ever, keep these suggestions in mind:
- You can make your own breadcrumbs by toasting your own bread. I’ve found that 3 slices is sufficient.
- The best method is to boil both the potato and onion together until they’re soft.
- Any broth will do, but I prefer to use a veggie broth without tomato in the base.
- Slice the head of the cauliflower into thick slices, about ½ inch thick. Make sure to also remove most of the thick stem.
- Since you need to slice the cauliflower into strips, and because you want this more on the al dente side texture wise, it’s best to use fresh cauliflower. But if you don’t have another option you can definitely use frozen. The frozen cauliflower will release a little more liquid, so you may want to reduce the amount of added liquid in the recipe.
- If you are not using a high speed blender you can either soak the cashews overnight or grind the dry cashews into a fine powder using a coffee grinder.
Tips for making ahead
If you want to make this cauliflower casserole ahead of time, you definitely can. Here is what I would do for the best results:
- Make the cream sauce.
- Prep the cauliflower.
- Make the breadcrumb topping.
- When you are ready to serve, put it together and bake.
- If you want to bake this ahead of time as well, you certainly can. Bake, then let it cool down all the way before putting in the fridge, you can simply store in the baking dish and cover with tin foil or plastic wrap.
- When ready to serve, take it out of the fridge and allow to return to room temperature . Then warm it up in the oven but watch carefully so it doesn’t burn or dry out. You may need to add a touch of broth to help.
How to store leftovers
If you have any of this cauliflower casserole left over, I’d be shocked. But if it happens, here’s some suggestions:
- Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.
- You can also freeze leftovers for future use for 2-3 months. The longer you keep it frozen the less the dish will keep it’s flavor and texture.
- When you reheat this casserole, the texture may be a little watery but if you warm it in the oven it will help thicken it again.
When cooking cauliflower, you want to watch it carefully because it goes from al dente to super soft quickly. Depending on what you are making, the texture you need will change.
In this recipe, you want something a little on the al dente side so it holds up when serving. Much like potatoes, if you overcook it, then it will get super soft and although still delicious, won’t remain a layered type dish.
As the cooking time comes to an end begin checking it with a fork. Once the fork can go through fairly easily then it’s ready!
Practically anything! It’s a wonderful side for your favorite main dishes, pairs nicely with a fresh salad, or is the perfect addition to any holiday meal.
Cauliflower is an amazing veggie! It’s in the cruciferous family and naturally high in fiber and b vitamins. So a great addition to your diet.
It doesn’t have much flavor on it’s own, and easily takes on any flavor you cook it with. Which makes it perfect for so many things! It has a little creaminess to it and makes a good sub for potatoes when you need something a little lower in carbs.
It also has a great texture when riced and sautéed so makes a good low carb rice option. We love subbing half of the rice for riced cauliflower in our recipes, like in this vegan tikka masala or these veggie sheet pan fajitas.
More Vegan Cauliflower Recipes
Cauliflower is quite the shapeshifter, and can be a magical vehicle for amazing flavors. If you liked this dish, check out these other gluten free, plant based cauliflower recipes:
- Baked Cauliflower Broccoli Tots
- BBQ Cauliflower Bites Bowl
- Baked Vegan Orange Cauliflower
- Crispy Baked Buffalo Cauliflower
- Vegan Stuffed Shells with Cauliflower Ricotta
- Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Soup
Healthy Vegan Cauliflower Casserole
- 1 cup cooked potato , peel before cooking (about 1 medium potato)
- ¼ onion , medium (cook with potato)
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¾ cup raw cashews , see note
- ½ cup unsweetened cashew milk , almond works too (I use the Silk Brand)
- 1 cup veggie broth , low sodium if needed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.
- Make sauce. Cook potato and onion by boiling until soft. Place all sauce ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth.
- Make breadcrumb parmesan topping by placing breadcrumbs, pine nuts, hemp seeds, and salt into a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Take half of the breadcrumb parmesan mixture and set aside for the topping.
- Wash the head of cauliflower and slice it into thick slices, about ½ inch thick. Make sure to get out most of the thick stem.
- Line the cauliflower pieces up on a tray and sprinkle with the other half of the breadcrumb parmesan mix, making sure to coat both sides of each piece. It doesn’t have to be fully coated, just looking for some added texture to the cauliflower. If your cauliflower is dry then you can always brush with veggie broth or oil to help get the mixture to stick.
- Layer the slices into a square baking dish (I used 9 x 9 inches).
- Pour the sauce over the top until it fully covers the cauliflower. You will use all but about ½ – ¾ cup of the sauce. You can save the extra for another time, it’s great with pasta!
- Sprinkle the other half of the breadcrumb parmesan mix over the top. Then sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.
- Bake at 350°F/180°C for 35-40 minutes. Check at 35 minutes by piercing it with a fork to see how cooked the cauliflower is. I like it more on the al dente side, but you can continue to cook until your preferred texture is reached. Keep in mind it will cook a little more as it is cooling.
- Make sure to allow the dish to cool before serving to allow it to set a bit. Enjoy!
- You can make your own breadcrumbs by toasting your own bread, toast about 3 slices.
- The best method to cook the potato is by boiling it with the onion. See instructions.
- I prefer to use a veggie broth without tomato in the base.
- If you are not using a high speed blender you can either soak the cashews overnight or grind them into a fine powder using a coffee grinder.
- Make sauce.
- Make breadcrumb parmesan topping.
- Soak or grind cashews if not using a high speed blender.
- Make sure you bake it until cauliflower is soft.
Recipe by Veggies Don’t Bite, visit our site for more great plant-based recipes.