Updated: Oct 26, 2018
This recipe is inspired by Vegan Huggs'
o 1 large head cauliflower , cut into small florets (about 2 pounds)
o 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (GF if preferred)
o 2 tablespoons vegan butter , melted (+ more for greasing dish)
o 1 cup raw cashews , soaked in very hot water
o 2 cups unsweetened soy milk
o 1 cup vegetable broth , low sodium
o 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
o 1/4 cup tapioca flour/starch
o 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
o 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
o 1 teaspoon granulated garlic , (+ a pinch for breadcrumbs)
o 1 teaspoon granulated onion
o 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt , more to taste
Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C). Lightly grease a 3-quart casserole dish and set aside.
Combine the melted butter, breadcrumbs and a pinch of granulated garlic in a small bowl. Set aside.
To soak cashews, boil water in a small pot and remove from heat. Add cashews and cover for 15-20 minutes, until softened (*see note).
While the cashews are soaking, you can steam the cauliflower. Place about 1 " of water into a med/large pot that will fit your steamer basket. Place your basket on the bottom and cover pot with a lid. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat to med-low to maintain a low boil and place cauliflower florets into the basket. Cover and steam for 7-10 minutes, until just tender. Uncover and remove from heat.
Drain and rinse cashews (discard soaking water). Now place all cheese sauce ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend until cashews have completely broken down and the sauce is smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
Pour cheese sauce into a medium skillet/pot over medium heat (I used the same pot for steaming the cauliflower). Cook for 4-5 minutes until it thickens up a lot and becomes slightly stretchy. Stir often to prevent burning. If sauce is too thick for your taste, you can add a little soy milk or broth to thin it out. Taste for seasoning, and add more if needed.
Pour 1/2 the cheese sauce on the bottom of the greased casserole dish. Now add the cauliflower on top in one layer. Pour the remaining cheese sauce on top of the cauliflower. Now sprinkle with prepared breadcrumbs and cover with foil. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is hot and bubbly. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until breadcrumbs are light golden brown. Remove from oven.