So many of us are lactose intolerant. Experts estimate that a whopping 68% of the world's population experience some level of discomfort when consuming dairy. However, when the winter cools down there isn't anything better than creamy, cheesy foods and one of my ultimate favourites would have to be cauliflower cheese. This was such a nostalgic dish for me - one that I had frequently growing up. Loaded with whole milk, butter and cheese, it was heaven on earth.
Though I personally have never been diagnosed as lactose intolerant, nowadays I more or less avoid dairy altogether. There are just so many easy substitutes out there that making the switch has been so easy. However, when the weather cools down, the cravings for cauliflower cheese come crashing in. So, it inspired me to create a completely dairy free version that still had the same creaminess of the original.
To achieve the same texture as the original dish (which originated from Britain), I used soaked raw cashews. To achieve the cheesy, umami flavour, I used dijon mustard and nutritional yeast (be aware - this is very different to yeast you use in bread!).
And my last change, I use the whole cauliflower...stalk, leaves, florets...everything! MOD tries to encourage customers (and people in general) to reduce the amount of household food waste that is thrown out. If you haven't tried cauliflower leaves before, they are delicious roasted with a bit of oil and salt or baked into something like this. They also contain so much nutritional goodness! We dice the stalks so once baked, they simply disappear into the sauce.
Any milk can be used here. I used plain, unsweetened almond milk as it was all I had in the fridge. Using almond milk does leave the dish with a slight almond taste, which I don't mind but using an oat milk or a light soy milk might be preferred.
Vegan Cauliflower Cheese | MOD Appliances
4 as a side
100g raw, unsalted cashews
1 cauliflower head
400ml milk of choice (make sure it is plain, unsweetened)
1 TBSP dijon mustard
30g (1/2C) nutritional yeast flakes
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 C breadcrumbs (gluten free if required)
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Fill your kettle up and boil the water. Preheat your oven to 200C.
Place your cashews in a heat proof bowl. Set aside.
Take the cauliflower head and cut into florets. Next chop the leaves in 2cm lengths and finely dice the stalk.
Once the kettle has boiled, cover the cashews with boiling water and set aside. Tip the rest of the water into a saucepan large enough to fit all the cauliflower.
Heavily salt the water and once boiling, add in your prepared cauliflower and boil for 5 minutes.
While the cauliflower is boiling, add the milk, dijon mustard, oil, nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to your blender jug. Set aside.
After 5 minutes, drain the cauliflower and tip into an ovenproof dish.
Next, drain the cashews and add to the blender jug.
Blend your sauce until smooth and adjust the seasoning to taste.
Pour the sauce evenly over your cauliflower. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
Pop the cauliflower into the oven for 15 - 20 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and the sauce has thickened up and is bubbling away.
Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving as it will be very hot.