When I first embarked on Veganuary five years ago, I just assumed that my beloved cauliflower cheese and creamy pasta bakes would be totally off the menu. And it took me quite a while to realise that they definitely weren’t! It is really simple to make a creamy béchamel (basic white sauce) from dairy-free milk and margarine, and the ever-improving range of vegan cheeses in supermarkets these days means a cheesy sauce and crispy topping are easy to achieve too.
Here I’ve combined two of my favourite cheesy baked delights and combined them into one great big comfort food hug….. the Cauliflower Cheese Vegan Pasta Bake. Yum!
For the optimum cheesy flavour I used both vegan cheese and nutritional yeast flakes in this sauce, but if you don’t have nutritional yeast to hand just leave it out – your sauce will still taste great.
This is lovely served with a crisp green salad, or Tenderstem broccoli in the cold winter months.
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Cauliflower Cheese Vegan Pasta Bake: Equipment and Shopping List
You will need:
- 2 saucepans
- Colander or sieve
- Ovenproof dish
- cherry tomatoes
- dairy-free margarine
- dairy-free milk
- dairy-free cheese
- plain flour
- breadcrumbs (or sliced bread to make your own)
- nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
This gooey, cheesey pasta bake is the ultimate vegan comfort food, with a crispy breadcrumb topping.
- 200 g pasta
- 1/2 cauliflower
- 2 tbsp dairy-free margarine
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 400 ml dairy-free milk
- 70 g dairy-free cheese
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- 2 tbsp breadcrumbs (or 1 slice bread, toasted and blitzed into crumbs)
Preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan) / 350ºF / Gas Mark 4.
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add the pasta and boil for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the cauliflower into small-ish florets, and add to the pasta pan for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
Melt the margarine in a small saucepan over a gentle heat, add the flour and stir until a thick paste is formed. Add the milk a little at a time, stirring continuously until becomes a thick, bubbling sauce.
Remove the sauce from the heat and grate in the cheese and add the nutritional yeast flakes (if using), stirring until the cheese is fully melted. Taste the sauce and add salt and black pepper as required.
When the pasta and cauliflower are both al dente, drain and return them to their saucepan. Tip in the cheese sauce and stir until fully coated.
Halve or quarter the cherry tomatoes and stir through the pasta, then tip everything into an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs then bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown and bubbling. Serve immediately with a crisp green salad.
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I’m linking this vegan pasta bake recipe with some blogging challenges: