Easy Dairy Free Cauliflower Mac and Cheese {vegan + paleo}

YOU. GUYS.

Easy dairy free cauliflower mac and cheese is in the HOUSE and it has got me all 😭 over here cuz I’m so excited to share it with you.

Because a good recipe for mac and cheese is never something you should keep to yourself.

I mean, you can MAKE mac and cheese and keep it for yourself – that’s pretty standard practice around our house. But the recipe, well that’s something that get’s better the more you spread around the cheesy-comfort-in-a-bowl LOVE.

Easy dairy free cauliflower mac and cheese is the healthiest and most delicious way to satisfy your comfort food cravings without any regrets!

I have to be honest with you, this is not reaaaaal mac and cheese. Like the kind with noodles and actual cheese. But I’m guessing you already figured that out cuz you guys are smart like that.

I just knew you would get understand where I’m going with this one 😉

This is a cauliflower dish dressed up like mac and cheese for those days when you just really neeeeeed some comfort food in your life, but wanna keep it healthy and guilt free.

And also spoiler alert – the sauce doesn’t taste exactly like cheese, really it’s more reminiscent of cheese. But I’m pretty sure it’s about as cheesy as you can get without being actual cheese. And it does satisfy exactly the same thing that real cheese does.

Is that weird? Maybe. Awesome? Absolutely.

Especially when draped over tenderly steamed cauliflower and loaded up into a bowl for all the comfort and zero regret.

Like literally none. Says the girl who has eaten three (small…ish) bowls of it in one sitting.

This is, essentially, a mac and cheese for everyone.

My dairy free / gluten free / keto / paleo / vegan / health minded peeps – I have definitely got you covered with this one.

😍😍😍

Easy dairy free cauliflower mac and cheese is the healthiest and most delicious way to satisfy your comfort food cravings without any regrets!

Easy dairy free cauliflower mac and cheese is the healthiest and most delicious way to satisfy your comfort food cravings without any regrets!

This sauce, which really is the most glorious part about this recipe – in all of it’s cauliflower cashew goodness, can pretty much be summed up as… MAGIC.

Sincerely delicious magic.

It is creamy, decadent, flavorful, and does not suck. It kind of looks like velveeta cheese (right?!) but tastes not like velveeta (#better). But kinda does make you feel like you’re five and eating that deluxe velveeta mac with sliced up hotdogs. In a good way. Except maybe not with the hot dogs (or maybe yes with the hotdogs? Anyone else obsessed with these?!)

But this recipe makes it taste better than velveeta will ever taste, and it is not loaded up with all kinds of junky ingredients that you can’t even pronounce.

Ain’t nobody got time for junky ingredients in their sauce.

Which brings us to the age old question…

what’s in the sauce?

YUMMY HEALTHY THINGS!

  • Steamed cauliflower (cruciferous vegetable superhero!)
  • Raw cashews
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Lemon juice
  • Dijon mustard (trust me on this one!)
  • Turmeric (for that cheesy color)
  • Garlic powder

THAT’S IT! See.. I told it it was magic.

It turns out that when you blend all these simple and healthy ingredients together they turn into the type of thing that you will make up recipes for just because you legit want to eat it with EVERYTHING. For the rest of your life. Amen.

I’m thinking:

  • Nachos
  • Loaded baked potatoes
  • Making it into queso dip
  • Using it as a base for broccoli “cheddar” soup
  • Etc etc etc 🎉

Get ready for cauliflower cashew cheese fest 2017 😛

But before we get too far down the yellow cheese road, let’s start with this cauliflower mac and cheese. Because the household that has eaten three batches of it in the last week wants you to try it too.

Easy dairy free cauliflower mac and cheese is the healthiest and most delicious way to satisfy your comfort food cravings without any regrets! Easy dairy free cauliflower mac and cheese is the healthiest and most delicious way to satisfy your comfort food cravings without any regrets! Easy dairy free cauliflower mac and cheese is the healthiest and most delicious way to satisfy your comfort food cravings without any regrets!

Want more easy and healthy grain free veggie recipes? Check out these favorites!

Did you make this recipe? I would love to know how it turned out for you! when you rate my recipes and leave feedback it helps me continue to improve. you can leave me a comment below, or snap a picture and post it to instagram with the tag @nyssaskitchen or hashtag #nyssaskitchen! xo

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Easy Dairy Free Cauliflower Mac and Cheese {vegan + paleo}

5 from 1 reviews

Easy dairy free cauliflower mac and cheese is the healthiest and most delicious way to satisfy your comfort food cravings without any regrets!

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: about 4 servings

Ingredients

for cauliflower base

  • 1 very large head of cauliflower or 2 small heads 
  • 1 tsp olive oil 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • black pepper 

for cauliflower cashew cheese sauce

  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked in hot water
  • 1 cup very soft cooked cauliflower (reserved from cauliflower base)
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast 
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric 
  • 1 tsp sea salt 
  • 1/3 cup hot water + more as needed

for garnish

  • paprika
  • black pepper
  • fresh herbs
  • additional add-ins (see notes)

Instructions

  1. Soak cashews in boiling water for at least 30 minutes while you prepare the cauliflower. 
  2. Cut cauliflower into equal, bite size pieces. 
  3. Bring about 1/4 inch of water to a boil in a large, shallow frying pan. Add 1/4 tsp salt and cauliflower florets. 
  4. Turn heat down to medium high, cover and cook for about 6-8 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes so,  until fork tender but not falling apart. 
  5. Remove all but 1 cup of the cauliflower using a slotted spoon. Set aside to drain in a colander or on a cutting board lined with a towel. Cook remaining cauliflower for another 3 or so minutes, until very soft, and falling apart. Add more water if the water in the pan starts to evaporate too quickly and pan is becoming dry.
  6. Move soft cooked cup of cauliflower to a blender or food processor along with soaked and drained cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, mustard, garlic powder, turmeric and sea salt along with the first 1/3 cup of hot water. Blend on high until smooth, adding more hot water if needed. You want the final consistency to be pourable, but still thick. I only ended up adding about 1 additional tablespoon. 
  7. Wipe out skillet that you used to steam cauliflower and heat to medium heat with 1 tsp olive oil. Add drained cauliflower florets back to the pan along with 1/4 tsp salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir to coat in olive oil and salt and pepper.
  8. Pour sauce over cauliflower, toss gently with a spatula to coat. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Top with a little cracked black pepper, paprika and fresh herbs if using. Serve hot, but can be made ahead and easily re-heated. 

Notes

  • If you want to add a little more substance to the mac and cheese, you can easy stir in some grass fed sliced hot dogs, cooked peas, cooked chicken breast or anything else that you might want to add to regular mac and cheese.
  • This recipe also translates to a delicious gratin style dish. If your diet allows for you to have actual cheese made with dairy, move the cauliflower mac and cheese to a baking dish and top with shredded cheddar. Broil until the cheddar on top is bubbly and starting to brown. Top with suggested garnishes and serve!

 

 

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