Vegan Cauliflower Gratin (Paleo, Dairy-free)
Vegan Cauliflower Gratin recipe. A savory dish where cauliflower is covered in a rich and creamy dairy-free sauce, sprinkled with nutritional yeast, and then baked until golden.
There is something so comforting and satisfying about a creamy savory cauliflower gratin recipe.
I used to make cauliflower gratin with dairy, but since going dairy-free, I have been on a mission to make a good one without any butter or milk inside and I finally did it!
This Vegan Cauliflower Gratin is creamy and dreamy thanks to the combination of both the cauliflower and the delicious coconut cream, almond milk, and nutritional yeast based cream sauce it is drenched in. YUM!
This recipe is naturally Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Whole30 compliant, and Paleo!
Coming up with this dairy-free cauliflower au gratin recipe was a matter of tweaking some of the ingredients from a classic au gratin recipe.
You honestly won’t miss the dairy when you try this because it’s so good!
Ingredients needed to make this Vegan Cauliflower Gratin:
- a head of cauliflower– make sure it is a large head of cauliflower
- olive oil
- tapioca flour
- coconut flour
- coconut cream– it is important to like the taste of your coconut cream for this recipe. I have found that many taste like sunscreen to me, and that in turn affects the recipe. Savoy coconut cream tastes the best to me.
- almond milk
- onion powder
- garlic powder
- ground nutmeg
- dried rosemary
- dried thyme
- nutritional yeast– again make sure you like the taste of your nutritional yeast! I love the one from Anthonys.
How to make this vegan cauliflower casserole:
To start, you boil the cauliflower florets in boiling water for 5-6 minutes. This ensures that the cauliflower can get cooked through enough and thus soft enough while baking.
Then you make the dairy-free cream sauce. To do this you add olive oil to a pan, along with tapioca flour and coconut flour.
Then you whisk in almond milk and coconut cream into the flours.
After that, you season the sauce with onion powder, garlic powder, ground nutmeg, salt, pepper, dried rosemary, dried thyme, and nutritional yeast.
Then, it’s time to thicken the sauce. For me it worked best to let the mixture sit for 2-3 minutes without touching it.
And then I whisked it every 10 seconds for 10 seconds until the mixture boiled.
The second that I noticed the mixture begin to boil, I removed it from heat and set it aside.
I found that this was the point where the mixture had thickened enough. It will be not as thick as a pudding, but thick enough for a creamy dish.
Lastly, you put the pre-boiled cauliflower florets into a large baking dish, pour the creamy sauce on top and then sprinkle everything with nutritional yeast.
Then you bake it until it is golden and fork tender and then broil it for a little extra golden color.
Tips on making this Paleo cauliflower au gratin:
Tip 1- cauliflower floret size matters
For starters, make sure you cut the florets into a medium size. If the florets are too large, they won’t cook and get soft enough. If they are too small, then they get too mushy. Though, I have to admit, I like when they get mushy.
So, if you like your cauliflower to be softer, boil it for longer than 5-7 minutes. If you like more crunch, then boil it for a little less time, maybe 4 minutes.
Tip 2- the thickness of the creamy sauce matters
When you are making the sauce, be careful not to thicken the cream sauce too much. As soon as it boils, remove it from heat. If you let it thicken too much it could get slimey due to the nature of the tapioca flour.
That is why I used 2 Tbs of tapioca flour and 1 Tbs of coconut flour. It results in a better texture and avoids the issue of tapioca slime.
The sauce should be thick like a creamy sauce or a light light pudding but not as thick as a real pudding.
Tip 3- keep an eye on the oven when broiling
Every oven is different, so you need to keep an eye and make sure you don’t burn your vegan cauliflower gratin!
My oven broiled this dish perfectly in 2 minutes.
How to serve this dairy-free cauliflower au gratin:
Once, I serve this cauliflower au gratin, I always have extra nutritional yeast ready to sprinkle on top, along with salt and pepper.
I also like making tweaks to this recipe, like adding peas, or lemon juice on top. Or even sprinkling crispy bacon on top.
I personally love serving this dairy-free cauliflower au gratin as a side dish alongside a protein like a veggie burger, or roast chicken or steak. It depends on what type of diet you are following, what protein works for you.
I’ve also even eaten this Vegan Cauliflower Gratin by itself as my main dish and loved every bite. 🙂
Other vegan side dishes you may enjoy:
Dairy-free Mexican Street Corn– I came up with this recipe over the summer and couldn’t stop eating it! I love the mayo nutritional yeast sauce that goes on top of the corn so much!
Carrot Grapefruit Salad (Paleo, GF)– This is a simple recipe from my childhood. If you love both carrots and grapefruit, then this recipe is for you!
Vegan Cauliflower Gratin (Paleo, Dairy-free)
- 1 large head of cauliflower, cup into medium florets
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 2 Tbs tapioca flour
- 1 Tbs coconut flour
- 1 14 ounce can of coconut cream
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 Tbs nutritional yeast, divided
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Boil cauliflower florets in boiling water for 5-6 minutes and then drain. ( Note: If you like your cauliflower to be softer, then cook it for a few minutes longer; if you like more of a crunch, then cook for a little less).
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat, and add in the tapioca flour and coconut flour immediately. Mix until it turns into clumps, this happens instantly. Add the coconut cream and almond milk and whisk. Add the onion poweder, garlic powder, ground nutmeg, salt, pepper, dried rosemary, dried thyme, and 1 Tbs nutritional yeast and mix again. Then, let the mixture sit for a 2.5-3 minutes. After that, whisk it every 10 seconds until the mixture boils( this took about 1.5-2 minutes for me). Once the mixture starts boiling, remove it from heat because it should have thickened to the texture of a thin pudding or creamy sauce.
- Put the cauliflower florets into a deep baking dish, evenly cover the florets in the creamy sauce and then cover everything with 1 Tbs of nutritional yeast.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, until fork tender, and golden on top. Then broil for a few minutes (2 minutes was perfect in my oven).
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