gluten-free paleo sides

Baked “Cheesy” Cauliflower {Dairy-Free}

August 17, 2014

I consider myself pretty luck in love. I’ve experienced first love (and second love), what it truly means to care for someone and someone to care for me and am fortunate to have never had my heart-broken. That is until now.

Don’t worry, C didn’t dump me (he’s smart enough not to do that!) but rather I am talking about my second true love, cheese. Cheese and I have always had a tumultuous relationship. By this I mean it hates me and no matter how many times it takes advantage of my tummy I never seem to learn my lesson. We go back and forth and just when I think I’m over it I find myself staring at a container of ricotta wanting to dive in spoon first. What can I say, cheese? You’re a hard block of guyere to get over.

Baked "Cheesy" Cauliflower // #dairyfree #paleoLately I have been trying to avoid going overboard with the dairy. As much as I love cheese and yogurt (the only kinds of dairy I eat), I’m not into looking and feeling like a heifer, which seems to be my body’s natural reaction to all things cow. But you know I’m not one for restriction so I’m trying to find ways to sub out dairy where I see fit. Like mac n’ cheese (or baked “cheesy” cauliflower…whatevs) which I eat just about never.

Actually I’m pretty sure the last time I ate mac n’ cheese was in college, drunk, with enough frank’s red hot to start a fire in my mouth. Truth-be-told I think the cheese they use in the boxed stuff is questionable so perhaps I wouldn’t have a bad reaction to it after all.

Baked "Cheesy" Cauliflower // #dairyfree #paleoBut since I’m not about to go throwing nutritional yeast onto my pizza or inside my zavioli, I figured I could probably live with creating a fake-out mac n’ cheese. Now folks, don’t come yelling at me when this doesn’t taste like the real stuff! That would require me to somehow develop a dairy-free cheese chemical and since I know nothing about chemistry, you’re out of luck.

I’ve yet to find a cheese substitute that actually tastes like cheese. I’ve heard good things about daiya, but since I’m new to the cheese single-life I thought I would take things slow and stick to nutritional yeast. It’s actually pretty good and I’ll suck up my cheese snobbery to save myself the tummy ache. Will I be coming home at 2:00 AM craving this Baked “Cheesy” Cauliflower? Probably not. But that’s because my drunk food of choice is always poutine, hold the cheese curds.


Baked “Cheesy” Cauliflower {Dairy-Free}

  • Total Time: 40 minutes


  • 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk*
  • 3 T tapioca starch**
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a large pot heat up olive oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add in onion and sauté for 5 mins or until translucent.
  4. Heat up almond milk in microwave for 1 minute or on stove top (in a separate pot) until warm.
  5. Stir tapioca starch in with almond milk until well-combined.
  6. Reduce heat on pot with onions to low and add in almond milk-tapioca mixture. Continue stirring until mix has thickened (about 1 minute). Remove from heat.
  7. Add in nutritional yeast and salt and pepper. Let mixture cool for 5-10 mins.
  8. Stir in egg until well-combined.
  9. Add in chopped cauliflower and coat with mixture.
  10. Spray 4 small ramekins or a larger ovenproof baking dish with non-stick spray or coconut oil.
  11. Divide mixture between ramekins or add to baking dish.
  12. Cook for 30 minutes.
  13. Increase oven to broil and cook for another 2 minutes.
  14. Remove from oven and serve.


*Can use any dairy-free milk. **Can use any starch such as corn but use tapioca if paleo.


  • Serving Size: 4

Baked Cauliflower Mac n' Cheese-It may not be the real stuff but this #dairyfree and #paleo mac n' cheese is packed full of flavour with the goodness of cauliflower! // Dairy, yay or nay? Have you ever tried nutritional yeast?


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  • Reply
    Arman @ thebigmansworld
    August 17, 2014 at 5:32 am

    You should have eaten this instead of the kebabies you ate today.

    I love cheese and even though it sometimes does cause my stomach to go gaga, it isn’t too extreme to cut it out yet. Then again, the proportions I eat probably are to the extreme side. Nutritional yeast will never be cheese, but should desperation hit, I’d chock the packet down wholeheartedly.

  • Reply
    meredith @The Cookie ChRUNicles
    August 17, 2014 at 5:40 am

    I really like Nutritional Yeast actually! I add it to a lot of things these days when I am cooking in place of parmesan cheese…I was never a big cheese eater and really, the only time I eat cheese now is on pizza…I do still put skim milk in my coffee but never really drank milk otherwise…I can’t use almond milk like I see in all of the recipes I come across because of my almond allergy.

  • Reply
    Michele @ paleorunningmomma
    August 17, 2014 at 6:14 am

    Looks yummy! I’ve never tried nutritional yeast but I’m curious since I’m seeing it everywhere.

  • Reply
    August 17, 2014 at 6:46 am

    Double YAY to dairy! It actually makes up a big part of my diet, I tolerate it completely. Never had nutritional yeast, and I guess I won’t ever try it (at least I won’t buy it to cook with )

  • Reply
    August 17, 2014 at 9:35 am

    I think the key to liking fake-out cheezy things is to not compare them to their cheesy counterparts and just enjoy them on their own rights! I will happily eat casseroles and casseroles of this. And so will my skinny jeans. 😛

  • Reply
    August 17, 2014 at 10:41 am

    I definitely have played around with nutritional yeast but you’re right… not the same. I think the key is adding mustard to the nutritional yeast to get the cheesy taste… or maybe I’m just saying that because I love mustard. I need to come visit again so I can restock on fancy mustard (oh and hang out with you, of course!).

  • Reply
    Nikki @ The Road to Less Cake
    August 17, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    I’ve recently gone diary free to heal my eczema and my gut and nutritional yeast is one of the things on my list that I want to try.

  • Reply
    Alexis @ Hummusapien
    August 17, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    True life…I just ate Amy’s mac and cheese for the first time last week and it was kind of, sort of, amazing. Luckily dairy doesn’t hurt my tum tum, but I try to avoid it since it’s not my fave nutritionally speaking. Bring on the almond milk!!! I hate fake vegan cheese but I love nutritional yeast (not to mention all those fab B vitamins), so this baked cauli is happening in my kitch stat! PINNED.

  • Reply
    Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut
    August 17, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Yeah me and cheese have the same relationship. Sometimes we are okay and other times it sends me home to curl up on the couch in pain, wondering why I decided to eat it. I’ve never tried nutritional yeast! I’ve heard it does taste a little like cheese though.

    I might actually lay off the dairy this week since this weekend was filled with lots of creamy sauces and pizza. Dairy is a fickle lover. 😉

  • Reply
    August 17, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    I love cheese! Specifically fancy cheeses like brie and smoke gouda. I don’t eat every day, simply because I like to lean more plant-based. Nutritional yeast is good, but not as mock cheese.

  • Reply
    August 17, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Ha! You are always so funny! I am so sorry you have a bad relationship with cheese. I love cheese. We get along too well!

  • Reply
    Nora (A Clean Bake)
    August 17, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    This sounds awesome! I also hear the siren song of cheese and it never ends well. I have really warmed up to nutritional yeast, cashew cheese, etc. It will never be the same, but it’s worth it to not feel like crap after eating it. And the fake-out cheese recipes are still really good!

  • Reply
    Amanda @ .running with spoons.
    August 17, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    I’m -so- thankful that my stomach doesn’t seem to have a problem with yogurt since that probably makes up at least 40% of my diet… And it’s usually okay with cheese too, except for the rare occasion where I’ll still be feeling a pizza 2 days after I ate it 😯

  • Reply
    August 17, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Oooo… this sounds delicious! Although I’d probably cave and put some real cheese on there, too! haha

  • Reply
    August 17, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Well at least you put the “cheesy” part in quotes. 😉 I’m sure the lactose intolerant folks are loving you right about now.

    Tell ya what: I’d be happy to take all your cheese. I promise to treat it well.

  • Reply
    August 17, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    I’ve never used nutritional yeast and had no idea that you could make fake cheese with it!!!

  • Reply
    erin @ The Almond Eater
    August 17, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Never had nutritional yeast…. I’m probably 5 years behind on that. As for dairy…I’ve kind of been thinking that my stomach might not love it, but I love it and nothing too extreme happens so, until it does, I will continue to adore my dairy 🙂

  • Reply
    Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves
    August 17, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about your rocky relationship with cheese. That’s really rough. Because what is poutine without the cheese curds?
    I’ve yet to try nutritional yeast, mostly because I can’t find it, but partly because I wouldn’t want a cheese substitute if I can have the real thing. But I might get it one day and make this because I want to experience the vegan side o’ life.

  • Reply
    Em @ Love A Latte
    August 18, 2014 at 7:26 am

    I love faux easy dishes! And I’m sure I would eat this all up. In the last year I’ve made a bunch of new recipes that are cheesy, but dairy free. One Mac and cheese recipe uses sunflower seeds, a nacho chips dip uses cashews, and another dish uses tofu and nutritional yeast. They all are cheesy and amazing. I too try to stay away from dairy to feel better!

  • Reply
    Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen
    August 18, 2014 at 7:33 am

    I love cheese (it’s pretty much its own food group for me lately), but I also really like nutritional yeast. I don’t think it really is a replacement for cheese, but it tastes good in its own unique way!

  • Reply
    Tina @ Tina's Chic Corner
    August 18, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Well, if it’s cheese or C… cheese of course!!! You had me scared for a moment. I love cheese but this dish looks really delicious too. 🙂

  • Reply
    Parita @ myinnershakti
    August 18, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Love cauliflower and nutritional yeast – what a great recipe combining the two. I’ve made a vegan “cheese” sauce using NY, and while it’s no sub for sharp cheddar, it’s still delicious!

  • Reply
    Kim @ BusyBod
    August 18, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Cheese and ice cream are the reason I could never be vegan. I’m just too in love. I have yet to try nutritional yeast because when it comes up in a recipe, I just use parmesan. I am curious though, so I’m sure I’ll cave and give it a try eventually.

  • Reply
    August 18, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Too much dairy does make my tummy wonky, but I refuse to give up cheese. I crave that stuff the mot out of any food! Nachos, potato skins, quesadillas, crackers and cheese….I just want it pretty much nonstop! Unfortunately, I haven’t had much luck with nutritional yeast when I’ve used it, but I could be totally using it wrong!

  • Reply
    Diana @sosmallsostrong
    August 18, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    I have tried nutritional yeast. It’s not bad! I am a huge dairy fan but I never discriminate against non-dairy! 🙂 These little guys look great!

  • Reply
    Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl
    August 18, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Yum! Pinned!

  • Reply
    Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness
    August 18, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    I hear you, I love cheese! Cheese, yogurt, and whey protein (oh, and fro yo sometimes!) are pretty much the only types of dairy I eat, but recently I’ve been thinking about nixing the dairy for a bit to see if my annoying skin issues (allergies, rashes) go away… but I’m hesitant because I really like eating my dairy!

    I just tried Daiya pizza for the first time at IDEA World and I have to say, it was yummy and tasted pretty similar to normal cheese! If I do try doing dairy-free, I think I’d need to have substitutes like that to fill my cheese void 😉

  • Reply
    Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious
    August 18, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    I have not tried nutritional yeast. I’ve seen it in a lot of recipes and not entirely sure I understand what it does. If it replaces dairy, then I should be using it. Like you, my stomach cannot digest dairy well.

  • Reply
    Christine @ Gotta Eat Green
    August 19, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Yummmm.. I love me some cauliflower! And when it is baked in a creamy dairy free sauce – double win!!

  • Reply
    Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health
    August 19, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    im not a big fan of dairy, but that i mean milk but i heart cheese and gelato. this looks pretty darn good.

  • Reply
    Mary Frances
    August 19, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    I have GOT to try this. Ugh, I know it, my body does crazy (really crazy :/) things when I overload on dairy. Sometimes I just have to have my cheesy fix and thank goodness for nutritional yeast. It is the bomb! 🙂 As is this recipe – Pinning!

  • Reply
    GiGi Eats
    August 20, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Baked and Cheesy? This Cauliflower… Sounds like he is a FRESHMAN at a college frat party!

  • Reply
    Lexi @ Lexi's Clean Kitchen
    August 21, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    DAMN this looks amazing!!!!! I am a little scared of nutritional yeast. Tell me not to be.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      August 21, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      Don’t be!!!! I mean it’s no replacement for cheese but it ain’t bad!

  • Reply
    January 18, 2016 at 6:48 am

    I also have trouble with “dairy” including cheese and yogurt. But goat products are ok. Have you tried goat cheddar? It’s to die for! 🙂

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