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Vegan Cauliflower Cheese Sauce

If you miss cheese, you need to give this vegan cauliflower cheese recipe a try! It's got the perfect cheesy texture and flavor and you can eat it as a dip, mix it with pasta, or drizzle it over veggies. It's oil-free, gluten-free, and it's ready to eat in 30 minutes! 
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 76kcal


  • Medium Saucepan
  • Large Pan
  • Blender


  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 ½ cups water (divided)
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth or water (to saute)
  • ½ medium red onion sliced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper sliced (seeds and membranes removed)
  • 4 medium garlic cloves minced
  • 8 oz cauliflower florets
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp pickled jalapeno juice (from the jar)
  • 3 pickled jalapeno slices (add more to taste)


  • Put the sunflower seeds in a medium saucepan and add 2 cups of water. Increase the heat until the water boils and let it cook for 10 minutes.
  • In a large pan over medium heat, saute the onions and bell peppers until soft. Add more liquid if the pan gets too dry. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the cauliflower florets and ¼ cup water. Increase the heat until the water starts bubbling and cover the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and let it cook for 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.
  • Transfer the cooked vegetables, boiled sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, turmeric, cumin, salt, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, pickled jalapeno slices, pickled jalapeno juice, and ¼ cup water to a large blender cup and then blend until it's smooth and creamy. The sauce will be very thick, you can add more water to thin the consistency if you like. Taste and add more salt and jalapenos to your preference.


  • Boil the sunflower seeds for 10 minutes to make them easier to digest and to make them softer so they will blend easier into sunflower cream.  
  • Use a blender to make the sauce consistency extra creamy. You can use a food processor but it may not be as smooth. If it's gritty, keep blending until it's smooth. 
  • The vibrant golden color of the sauce mostly comes from the turmeric and red bell pepper. It's ok to use an orange or yellow bell pepper instead of red, but don't use green because it will muddy the color. 
  • This sauce is not spicy. Start with the amount of pickled jalapeno slices that the recipe calls for and then you can add more to taste. 
  • Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days or you can freeze it for a future snack.


Calories: 76kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 275mg | Potassium: 235mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 583IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg