Vegan cauliflower shells and cheese is a perfect way to make comfort food a little healthier! Enjoy this tasty dish and get an extra serving of veggies, too!
Shells and cheese, anyone? How about vegan shells and cheese with a super healthy creamy cauliflower sauce?
It all started when I picked up this beauty at the Farmer’s Market:
I’m so attracted to the bright colors at the Farmer’s Market. I wound up buying this cauliflower, beets, corn, carrots, peppers, heirloom tomatoes, and a huge bunch of flowers. I had to slow down because I couldn’t carry anything else!
I just loved the bright shade of yellow-orange and I knew that I wanted to make something special with it. By the time I got home, I had decided on a plant-based version of mac and cheese. Or in this case, vegan shells and cheese with cauliflower.
It was simple to make this sauce…I just simmered the cauliflower until tender in some vegetable broth and then pureed it using an immersion blender. I added plenty of nutritional yeast and spices to get a nice cheesy flavor. (And bonus, the nutritional yeast also adds a ton of B12, and is a complete protein).
Orange cauliflower does contain lots of anthocyanins and carotenoids which are important for eye health, and are also anti-inflammatory, so if you can find one, grab it! If you can only find white cauliflower, go ahead and make this sauce – it will taste the same, but the color will be different.
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Vegan Cauliflower Shells and Cheese.
- 16 ounces pasta shells I used gluten free quinoa and corn shells
- 1 head orange cauliflower cut into florets
- ½ cup onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 3 Tablespoons vegan buttery spread
- ¾ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried mustard powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh parsley
Prepare the pasta according to package directions.
Place the cauliflower florets and the onion in a large pot with the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until cauliflower is tender.
Remove the pot from the heat and puree the vegetables with an immersion blender until very smooth.
Place the pot back on low heat and stir in the vegan buttery spread, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, white pepper, and mustard powder. Stir until smooth and incorporated. Add the cooked pasta. Stir to combine.
Serve with more salt and pepper to taste and fresh parsley if desired.
Vegan cauliflower shells and cheese is the perfect meal for:
- those who are on a dairy free diet
- those new to plant based eating
- families who want to incorporate more vegetables into their meals
Have you made a creamy cauliflower sauce before? How did you like it?
Was tasty and easy enough to make. Not sure if it was my broth but it was more sand color than anything.
Is it possible to use olive oil rather than the vegan spread? I don’t like to use processed food ingredients.
Sarah@Whole and Heavenly Oven
Oh gosh, I absolutely LOVE cauliflower sauce! Seriously my favorite sauce in the entire world—I swear, it’s magic! ;) Totally lovin’ these gorgeous shells, Kelly! I think I just found dinner for tonight…
Thank you, Sarah!
That cauliflower is stunning! And this dish is a godsend :) Pinning!
Thank you so much for pinning!
Sarah | Well and Full
That caulifower is such a beautiful color! And very reminiscent of traditional mac and cheese :)
Thank you, Sarah! It was a beauty!
I’m salivating like craaaazy! It’s been so long since I’ve eaten mac n cheese, and that vegan cauliflower sauce sounds amazing! I love your idea of using orange cauliflower to make the sauce look more cheesy – so brilliant, ha! I already have nutritional yeast on-hand, so I’m all amped up to try these delish shells!
Thanks so much, Julia! I was so excited to see that cauliflower!
Natalie @ Tastes Lovely
I have never even seen orange cauliflower! So pretty. And perfect for this mac and cheese.
Emily @ Sinful Nutrition
I was guessing there was going to be some cashews hidden in this sauce, but love how it’s just cauliflower! Vegan or not, I am hunting down some colorful cauliflower and trying this!
Strength and Sunshine
Mac and cheese twins today ;) So good!
Cauliflower sauce was my first mac and cheese recipe! It’s such a great veggie for EVERYTHING!
I’ve never made a cauliflower sauce, but it’s been on my to do list! Love that this vegan “mac and cheese” doesn’t have any nuts so I can try it! woo! Beautiful photos too!!
One gorgeous cauliflower! Love what you did with it!
Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice
I love this spin on mac ‘n cheese, Kelly! Cauliflower is one of my favorite veggies, so I will have to try this out!