Cheesy vegan roasted cauliflower made paleo-friendly with nutritional yeast is a simple and easy healthy side dish, perfect to go alongside any main entree. This cheesy vegan roasted cauliflower will be a staple in your home during the chilly fall months
Roasted vegetables are a classic example of a dish I make frequently but rarely post about in their pure form – unadulterated by rice, tortillas, sauce, meat, etc. Sure, I show you recipes with roasted, sauteed, or grilled vegetables in them (hello, Roasted Portobello Fajitas, Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Buddha Bowls, Grilled Portobello and Summer Squash Quesadillas, Small Batch Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas, etc.), but rarely do I compartmentalize the actual roasted veg. I thought I’d take a special moment to highlight one of my favorite roasting vegetables – the cauliflower – and show you one of my go-to methods for making it over-the-top, better-than-brownies delicious.
Okay, don’t quote me on the brownie thing, but nevertheless, what we have here is a Julia Especial, and it’s perfect for the fall and winter months.
And now, the elephant in the room: How in the haystack do we make something “cheesy,” if it is also vegan?
If you’re not sure what nutritional yeast is, don’t fret! I’ll explain. Nutritional yeast is a deactivated strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast, and has a nutty, cheesy, creamy flavor, making it a great “cheese” substitute in vegan food. Vegan macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes or cheesy cheese-less sauce of any kind? Nutritional yeast’s your jam. It can be found in the natural food section (or bulk food section) of your grocery store in the form of yellow flakes or powder. Of course, it can also be purchased online.
From a health benefits standpoint, nutritional yeast is far from being a superfood in its natural form, as It contains only a tiny amount of vitamins and minerals, but nothing significant; however, many companies fortify nutritional yeast with B12, which is significant to vegetarians and vegans, who have to supplement their diet in order to get enough B12.
At this point in our conversation, you may think nutritional yeast it weird. I promise, it’s not. I’m nowhere near vegan, and I think it’s just great! It’s an excellent way of adding flavor and “creaminess” to virtually any dish without the use of dairy. Remember those Nacho Cheese Kale Chips I posted a couple of year back, or the Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Buddha Bowls I posted just a few weeks ago? Both recipes called for – you guessed it – nutritional yeast. In addition to being vegan-friendly, nutritional yeast is also paleo, primal, and Whole30 compliant.
Moving right along.
Roasted cauliflower? Bombshell status. Flavor-infused, quick to prepare, goes with every entree on the planet? Savage. You can add roasted cauliflower to your favorite Buddha bowl situation – for instance, I can tell you with certainty, this recipe is perfect for the Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Buddha Bowls I showed you a few weeks ago, is awesome in a veggie scramble, and could easily be incorporated into burritos of all shapes and sizes.
Tools I used to Prepare This Recipe:
Roast thy cauliflower!
“Cheesy” Vegan Roasted Cauliflower
Preheat the oven to 415 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Add the raw cauliflower to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with nutritional yeast, sea salt, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Use your hands to toss and mix everything together until the cauliflower florets are well-coated.
Spread the cauliflower over the prepared baking sheet and roast on the center rack for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring half-way through, or until cauliflower is golden-brown and tender.
Remove from the oven and taste cauliflower for flavor. Sprinkle with sea salt and additional nutritional yeast if desired. Serve with chopped pistachios, pine nuts, walnuts, or pecans alongside your favorite entree.