Vegan Cauliflower Rig ‘N’ Cheese

This recipe is easy to prepare, tasty and healthy. With a cashew cheese sauce it provides protein as well as flavour

Vegan Cauliflower Rig ‘N’ Cheese

Did you used to enjoy a mac and cheese dish and since becoming vegan have missed it? This recipe may be a worthy substitute. It uses cashew nuts, mustard and nutritional yeast for that “cheesy” flavour and I also like to add in a little extra chilli and some garlic for that extra punch. I tend to make it about once a month and it is always a dish I look forward to eating. Cauliflower is a very versatile vegetable and makes a great basis for this dish.

You will need to start at least 4 hours ahead to soak the cashew nuts and then it takes about 40mins to prepare. It freezes well so is great to make ahead to take to work for lunch or to have for an evening meal.  

It makes 4-6 serves.


  • 1 small cauliflower (1kg) cut into small florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 fresh small red chilli, seeded and finely chopped (or ½ teaspoon of ground chilli )
  • 350gms rigatoni pasta
  • ½ cup fresh parsley

Cashew Nut Cheese Sauce

  • 2 cups (300gms) raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions (300gms) chopped
  • 300gms celery (chopped)
  • 2/3 cup (70gms) nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
  • 1½ cups (375ml) oat or cashew nut milk

To Make Sauce:

Place cashews in a medium bowl and cover with filtered water. Stand, covered for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight. Drain cashews, rinse under cold water; drain well.

Heat oil in a medium fry 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 and season to taste.

To Make:

  1. Make cashew cheese sauce.
  2. Preheat grill. Place cauliflower, oil, garam masala and chilli in a casserole dish (18cm x 23cm) and toss to combine.
  3. Place under grill for 15 mins to soften and slightly brown the cauliflower, stir occasionally to ensure even colour.
  4. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water until just tender and drain
  5. Combine cauliflower, pasta, half the parsley and half the cheese sauce in the casserole dish
  6. Spoon over the remaining sauce and remaining parsley.
  7. Cook in a moderate oven for 30-40 mins until tender.

Serve with a crisp green leafy salad with lemon dressing and warm garlic bread.

This recipe is from The Australian Women’s Weekly – Vegan Kitchen

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