Cauliflower mac 'n' cheese

Comfort food with a twist.

  • 45 mins preparation (plus standing)
  • Serves 4
  • Print
Turn traditional macaroni and cheese on its head with this vegan cauliflower version. Plant-based at its best.


  • 1 small cauliflower (1kg), cut into small florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 fresh small red chilli, seeded, chopped finely (optional)
  • 350 grams rigatoni pasta
  • 1 cup torn fresh flat-leaf parsley
Cashew cheese sauce
  • 2 cups (300g) raw cashews (see tips)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions (300g), chopped
  • 2 stalks celery (300g), trimmed, chopped
  • ⅔ cup (70g) nutritional yeast flakes (see tips)
  • 2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
  • 1½ cups (35ml) oat milk or cashew nut milk (see tips)


  • 1
    Make cashew cheese sauce.
  • 2
    Preheat grill (broiler). Place cauliflower, oil, garam masala and chilli in a medium bowl; toss to combine. Season. Spread cauliflower on an oven tray; place under grill for 15 minutes or until soft and golden, stirring occasionally.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender; drain.
  • 4
    Combine cauliflower, pasta, half the parsley and half the cashew cheese sauce in a large bowl. Spoon mixture into an 18cm x 23cm (7¼in x 9¼in) ovenproof dish. Spoon over remaining sauce. Grill for 4 minutes or until golden. Serve topped with remaining parsley.
Cashew cheese sauce
  • 5
    Place cashews in a medium bowl; cover with filtered water. Stand, covered, for 4 hours or overnight; drain cashews. Rinse under cold water; drain well. Heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat; cook onion and celery, stirring, for 8 minutes or until soft. Add to a high-powered blender with cashews and remaining ingredients; blend until smooth. Season to taste.


You can use macadamias, almonds or brazil nuts instead of cashews. Nutritional yeast flakes are available at health food stores.Avoid using almond milk in this recipe as it can curdle on heating.Serve with a crisp green leafy salad with a lemon dressing and warm garlic bread.

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