Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole


One image of Thanksgiving that appears in my mind whilst contemplating a the dinner table is a casserole dish. Some large, plexiglass glass cook piece is filled to the brim with warm goodness, ready to be dished out to every member of the family, with leftovers still remaining.

What goes inside the dish differs from family to family, mother to mother, and culture to culture, but the feeling of warmth, comfort, and family remains the same.

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For the past week, I’ve in-between making a layered, cauliflower, artichoke casserole or some sort of stuffing, but decided to air on the side of casseroles because of how frickin’ easy they are!

Plus, being that the only definition of a casserole I can think of is “a bunch of stuff baked inside a casserole dish,” pretty much anything can be used to make one, which allows room for creative flexibility.

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To prep the dang thing, we start out by roasting cauliflower florets with olive and sea sat, which cooks the cauliflower without removing its structural integrity, the way that boiling often does. To install umami sweetness, we reduce four sweet onions to a mere fraction of their original size through a process known as caramelization.

 

Essentially, caramelization is the act of removing moisture from a food, therefore concentrating its sweetness and overall flavor. Imagine that our raw onions are like a black cup of black coffee, and caramelizing that cup of coffee turns it into a single shot of espresso. Despite its size, the espresso is more robust, sweet, and coffee-tasting than the cup of black coffee. This is exactly what happens with our onions; through caremalization, we make an onion taste more onion-y than it is to begin with.

Using caramelized onions in place of raw or sautéed onions is important as the excess moisture that’s driven out would otherwise be left swimming in the bottom of the casserole, and being that we’re intentionally going to add sauce, we don’t need any unwanted moisture.

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Oh, and about that sauce! It’s super simple – coconut milk, water, freshly minced garlic, nutritional yeast, salt, and tapioca starch. Shake it all up, bring it a boil, and you’re ready to go. This thick sauce holds the veggies together, lending the dish a coherent consistency, as opposed to all of the food falling away from each other the moment your fork hits the plate.

From this casserole, you can expect vibes of baked mac ’n’ cheese, roasted vegetables, and alfredo sauce. All in all, this dish is simple & rewarding – one casserole serving is enough for five side dishes, or two to three main entrees. And we think that it’s appearance would not be disputed among gusts at your dinner table this Thursday.

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If you like what your taste buds are tellin’ ya, leave behind a nice rating, share your thoughts with us in the comments, or show us your creations by tagging @noeggsorham on Instagram.

Before we’re out of here, we’d like to know what recipes you guys would like to see in December! If there’s an entree, drink, dessert, or side-dish that you’ve always wanted to see become vegan, sugar-free, and lectin-free, let us know through this page! When you submit your favorite dish, it goes straight to our inbox – and we’ve made 90% of the requests we’ve receive so far. 

Cheers!
Ryan & Kim

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Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole

  • Servings: 3-5
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Layers of roasted cauliflower, caramelized onions, & artichoke hearts are melted together with gooey, cheesy garlic sauce.

Ingredients

Roasted Cauliflower

  • 2 1/2 lbs cauliflower, cut into flat florets (reference photos in post)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Caramelized Onions

  • 3 large or 4 small yellow/sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Cheesy Garlic Sauce

  • 4 oz full-fat coconut milk
  • 4 oz water
  • 2 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Casserole

Directions

    1. Caramelized Onions: Toss thinly sliced onions into a large, high walled sauté pan (12-14 in), along with olive oil and salt.
    2. Set over medium heat and cook – stirring every 5 minutes or so – for 30-45 minutes, or until the onions are soft, deep yellow/brown, and a quarter of their original size.
    3. Once most the moisture has left the onions – around 20 minutes – they may start to burn, so turn the heat down to medium-low until they’re finished caramelizing.
    4. Roasted Cauliflower: Pre-heat oven to 450° F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
    5. In a large bowl, toss together cauliflower pieces, olive oil, and salt. Spread out among two prepped cookie sheets and place in oven for 15 minutes, or until fork tender. Remove & turn oven down to 375° F.
    6. Cheesy Garlic Sauce: In an airtight container or mason jar, combine all of the sauce ingredients. Fit with a lid and shake vigorously until the mixture is foamy with no clumps remaining; about 10 seconds.
    7. Transfer to a small sauce pot over high heat. Bring to a boil for one minute, stirring constantly, then kill the heat. Set aside.
    8. Casserole: Assemble in a 9 x 9 ” or 10 x 10 ” baking dish by evenly spreading out ingredients, layer by layer, in this order:
    9. 1/2 of roasted cauliflower
    10. 1/3 of caramelized onions
    11. 1/3 of sauce
    12. 1/2 of chives
    13. 1/2 of artichoke hearts
    14. 1/2 of nutritional yeast
    15. Second 1/2 of roasted cauliflower
    16. 1/3 of caramelized onions
    17. 1/3 of sauce
    18. Second 1/2 of chives
    19. Second 1/2 of artichoke hearts
    20. Final 1/3 caramelized onions
    21. Final 1/3 of sauce
    22. Second 1/2 of nutritional yeast
    23. Sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper
    24. Pop casserole into 375° F oven for 30 minutes. Remove, let rest for 10 minutes, serve, and enjoy!
    25. For leftovers, cover casserole dish with plastic wrap or place remaining food into an airtight container for up to 3 days. To reheat, place in 400° F oven until bubbly hot; about 10 minutes.

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