Veganuary 2021: Cauliflower ‘Cheese’

Well, the garden is pretty frozen and covered with a thin layer of snow, so there is little to report. I am vaguely planning my next projects for spring, but it does still seem a long way off! So let’s go into the warm kitchen today and see what’s cooking this January. Or should I say Veganuary. I think most people have heard of Veganuary now, as it has spread from the UK to many other countries. It is basically a campaign to promote healthy eating and vegan food.

The other day I made some real comfort food… my vegan version of Cauliflower Cheese. I use my trusty cashew sauce (which is also perfect for vegan ‘spaghetti carbonara’) and add some cheesy flavour with vegan parmesan and/or nutritious yeast. The leeks really bring out the flavour in this dish, so don’t be tempted to use an onion instead! Here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Vegan Cauliflower ‘Cheese’

For 2-3 servings

  • 1 small cauliflower and a bit of broccoli or romanesco (for colour ๐Ÿ˜‰)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 leek
  • 250g mushrooms

For the sauce:

  • 100g cashews
  • 400 ml almond or soya milk
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsps nutritious yeast flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • squeeze of lemon juice

Vegan parmesan or seasoned breadcrumbs for sprinkling on top


First of all, divide your cauliflower etc into florets. Cook with a bay leaf in boiling water for about ten minutes until just cooked. Don’t overcook it!

Now slice the leek thinly and fry gently until soft. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook through. Remove from the heat.

Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a high speed mixer. Just keep on mixing until it is really really smooth. My machine is pretty powerful so it only takes about a minute. Put it in a saucepan and put it on the stove on medium heat. This needs stirring constantly, so don’t forget it! Meanwhile heat up the grill in your oven and put a dish in there to warm.
After a couple of minutes of stirring the sauce it will start to thicken. This takes a while, so keep on stirring so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of your pan.

Drain your cauliflower (remove the bay leaf!) and put it in your warm dish. Spoon the leek and mushroom mix over it. Then pour the cashew sauce on top. Sprinkle with vegan parmesan or seasoned breadcrumbs and place under the grill. As soon as it starts to bubble and turn golden on top, remove from the oven and serve.

Good with any type of potato, bread or garlic bread.


I hope you might try my vegan version of this traditional dish and perhaps take a look at some of my other vegan recipes on my recipes page. (Click on recipes on the bar under the header.)

Happy Veganuary!


38 thoughts on “Veganuary 2021: Cauliflower ‘Cheese’

  1. Always nice to get a bit of January cooking inspiration, thanks for sharing. Looks delicious! PS I sometimes add cumin / turmeric / chilli to cauliflower cheese for some additional flavour.

    • Thanks Joanne! Maybe not the right kind of dish for your summer weather though. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I wonder if it gets very humid in your region. Do you have air conditioning?

    • ๐Ÿ˜ƒOoh, I had forgotten about that recipe… must make it again soon! I don’t bake as much these days, except for a strudel or buns now and then.

  2. That definitely looks like the perfect comfort food dish for January! I’ll do it soon. ๐Ÿ˜€ Mind you, spring is not THAT far away. Bulbs are coming up and before we realise we’ll be right into it. For the moment I still appreciate the break because I’d like to get most of the other book finished by spring. It’s so difficult to be tied to the desk when it gets warmer. Wishing you both a nice weekend xx

    • Well, no signs of spring here yet, but it is noticeably lighter in the afternoons now. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ I also appreciate some indoors time in winter for other things apart from gardening. So you are working on yet another book? You are so busy! Good luck with getting on with it before spring arrives. ๐Ÿค—

  3. What a perfect January meal. I can’t imagine how the cashew sauce tastes, I don’t think I’ve ever had anything other than pieces or a baked crust… hmmmm… It sounds tempting!

    • The first time I made the sauce I was fascinated how it thickened when heating it! I don’t miss cheese any more actually, but I do want to try and make macaroni ‘cheese’ with this sauce one day soon too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Cathy looks delicious and appetizing your cauliflower cheese recipe, so warm just out of the oven: just what it takes with this cold, I love it. If you now have a little snow, much of Spain and especially the Autonomous Community of Madrid (it is like a state) and Madrid, the area where I live is special, we have been buried in snow that has turned into ice for more than one week. The snowfall started on Friday the 8th at 7:00 a.m. and ended on Saturday 9 at 5:30 p.m.: snow accumulated that reached me well above the knee, mid-thigh and I am 1.80m tall. Since then no one has come to clean the snow-ice, because one day at night we have reached -12ยบC, we have been all these nights at -10ยบC and today at -8ยบC. During the day we have not passed 0ยบC until Thursday when we had 1ยบC and today 4ยบC. The only ones who have cleaned have been the neighbors: pieces of sidewalk and entrance to the portals. It has been sunny after the snow every day, but has not been able to melt the snow-ice because of the cold. On Thursday a construction site bulldozer passed by to remove snow from the streets and its wheels were skidding. It shook some snow off the asphalt and further buried the cars, including mine. The shovels and hoes have been used up because people have cleared their cars of snow to be able to remove them. Although I have my hiking boots here in Madrid, I do not clean the car because it would wet my pants and in the cold I would catch a chill from being in bed for a week with a fever: my health is worth more than the car. Also I don’t have a shovel !!! Yesterday I had to go buy food at the market, because we no longer had it, and the market that is normally a five-minute walk away, getting there was an adventure. Luckily they had everything and I filled my shopping cart to the top and the return home, which was super loaded, was worse. But I got home safely, with wet jeans and since we were already below zero and it took a long time on the road, I have cooled a little. But my dear Mother and I already have food for more than a week, it was worth the adventure. Cathy forgives that she has extended me so much, but this snowfall has not been seen since 1904 in Madrid. The center of Madrid has been cleaned by the Army Emergency Unit, but they have not come to the neighborhoods, no one has come, only that construction excavator for an afternoon. My mother and I are at home warm and safe. I have taken many photos with my mobile to send them to my brother and his wife who live on the Mediterranean coast, where it has not snowed or frozen, the temperatures have only dropped a little, and today it was 14ยบC and they went with their dog to stroll along the beach. There are lucky ones. But I prefer my country house in the middle of high hills full of forest and that it will be snowy more than Madrid: I am worried about the snow-ice accumulated on the roof, which although it is gabled, is below zero and has become ice and it doesn’t fall as easy as snow: since I can’t do anything, I don’t worry. Forgive me again Cathy for telling you all this. I hope you and your Man of Many Talents are safe and sound. Take good care of both of you and keep warm. Happy weekend. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿงค๐Ÿงฃโ˜•๐Ÿ˜‰

    • My goodness Margarita! What a time you have had! I thought of you when we saw the news and am glad you could get to the shops and stock up! It must be unusual for so much snow to fall in a day. We rarely have much in one go. Wish I could send you a shovel! ๐Ÿ˜‰ It is still snowing a little here. I hope your house in the country is safe and that you will soon be able to walk to the shops more easily. Take care! ๐Ÿค—โ˜ƒ๏ธโ„๏ธ

  5. I was intrigued to read this recipe of yours, Cathy, and admit it looks appetising but have to confess you nearly lost me at the ‘cheese’ bit! Cheese alternatives do not sound very tempting to a cheese lover (especially things in cheese sauce), but I am intrigued as to how this cashew alternative would work out – perhaps I owe it to you to try it…!

    • I quite understand. It took us a while to stop missing that cheese flavour and all the cheese alternatives tasted awful! But they have improved, and we can get sliced cheese and a ‘parmesan’ alternative that even non vegan friends have approved of! The cashew sauce without the cheese added could be used in place of a white sauce though, and I use it in my vegan lasagne too. If you do ever try it, do let me know what you think! I think you will also find it fascinating how it thickens up just like a bechamel sauce! (A sweet version is also a good base for a raw vegan cheesecake too! ๐Ÿ˜‰)

  6. This is just so yummy, Cathy! I have all the ingredients and I will be making this later this week, for sure. I love the taste combination, and that it’s vegan!

  7. I love just plain cauliflower cheese but these additions do sound interesting and make it into a “proper” meal. I must try your recipe or better still, see if I can show it to Kourosh as he likes experimenting with recipes more than I do. Amelia

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