Spicy Cauliflower Casserole with Cashew Crust

This spicy cauliflower casserole with a cashew crust is the perfect weeknight meal or side dish. Loaded with hearty cauliflower florets, spices, and cashews it’s sure to please those that want a little extra heat as well as crunch in their lives. Made with 15 ingredients and ready to bake in less than 30 minutes, it’s amazing fresh out of the oven or as leftovers. Vegan, gluten-free, and with an oil-free option it’s perfect for those with special diets.

Spicy cauliflower casserole on a plate with a dish of cauliflower casserole in the background.

I know, I know…it’s pumpkin season. I didn’t miss the memo (but if you’re looking for something pumpkin be sure to check out my pumpkin pancakes). It was just impossible to keep this recipe to myself. Fall it’s just about pumpkin and apples am I right? How about the good ol’ casserole dish that takes you back to cozy evenings spent inside? Well, that’s what this little baby is for! My spicy cauliflower casserole with cashew crust is sure to become a new cold weather favorite in your home. It’s one of my personal favorites and it’s still delicious even if you remove some of the heat. Because guys, let me tell you, it does have a little kick. That being said I’ve made notes below indicated how to lower that heat intensity if desired. Like I said, this dish is for everyone.

So now that I’ve got your mouth watering let’s talk about exactly what you’ll need to whip up this amazing dish.

Cauliflower casserole ingredients including spices, chickpea flour, siracha sauce, flax milk, coconut aminos, cashews and a head of cauliflower.

The Base

Let’s start with the base of this casserole which is made up of only a few ingredients. We’ll need to combine garbanzo bean flour (keeping it GF here!), flax milk (or any milk alternative of choice), sriracha sauce, coconut aminos, black pepper to taste and of course, the star of the show, cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower into bit-sized florets and steam in batches until it’s just soft, about 4-5 minutes. You could skip the steaming step if you’re short on time just know that the cauliflower won’t be as tender after it’s been baked. It’s a personal preference thing.

While the cauliflower is steaming, let’s talk about the rest of the ingredients. Now remember how I said that you can adjust the spiciness of this dish? Well, here’s where you’ll want to pay attention. If you prefer, you can totally leave out the sriracha sauce. This is where all the heat in the cauliflower portion of the dish comes from. So you can either add none, a little, or A LOT. If you do omit the siracha sauce just be sure to add an extra 1/4 cup of flax milk to the mixture.

Once you’ve determined your spice preference whisk your sauce ingredients together. You want the mixture to be somewhat thick, but still pourable. Add the prepared cauliflower to the mixture and toss to coat being careful not to mash your cauliflower. Set that aside and begin working on that amazing crust.

The Crust

To prepare the cashew crust of our spicy cauliflower casserole you’ll need cashews, spices, arrowroot powder (or corn starch), avocado oil (if using), a food processor, and less than 5 minutes. That’s it! Now, here’s where we can discuss the heat level of the crust. The two culprits of heat in the crust blend are curry powder (mildly spicy), and cayenne (can get pretty intense). I’d recommend leaving in the curry powder as it adds lots of additional flavors aside from the heat, but definitely reduce or omit the cayenne if you’re wanting to remove the heat.

Once you’ve determined your desired heat level add the cashews, spices (as you see fit), arrowroot powder, and avocado oil (omit if oil-free) to the food processor and pulse until the cashews are very well chopped. Make sure you don’t get too over-zealous here with the food processor or you could end up with spicy cashew butter (although, that might be pretty amazing…). You’re looking for a crumbly, slightly crunchy texture as shown in the image below. And with that it’s time to assemble!

Cashews and spices in a food processor.
Close up of ground cashews and spices in a food processor to show texture.

Preheat your oven to 350F, prepare a 9×11 inch baking dish with cooking spray and pour in the cauliflower mixture. Spread the mixture evenly in the dish press down slightly to ensure that it’s packed. Top with cashew crust crumble and gently press down. Bake for 30-40 minutes checking to make sure that the crust isn’t burning. If the cashews begin to burn cover the dish with a large rimmed cookie sheet to prevent further browning. The casserole is finished when the cauliflower is tender and the top is a nice golden brown color. Now comes the really challenging part…try to practice some self-control while you wait for the dish to cool slightly. Or, if you’re like me, serve it immediately and hope you tongue can handle the heat.

Enjoy friends!

Close up of forked spicy cauliflower casserole with a cashew crust on a plate.

Ingredient Health Benefits

Cauliflower: fiber, vitamin C, biotin, folate, sulforaphane to block cancer-causing chemicals

Lemons: excellent source of Vitamin c, contain Vitamin A, calcium, & potassium

Avocado oil: monounsaturated fats, protein, potassium, magnesium, folic acid, B vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin K

Flax: omega-3 fats, soluble and insoluble fiber

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Spicy Cauliflower Casserole with Cashew Crust

A creamy cauliflower casserole with a crunchy spicy cashew topping.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: cashews, casserole, cauliflower, entree, gluten-free, oil-free, side, spicy, vegan
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

Cauliflower Casserole

  • 1 head cauliflower diced into bite-sized florets
  • cup unsweetened plant-milk of choice I use flax milk
  • 1 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • ¼ cup sriracha sauce (or to preference)
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • black pepper (to taste)

Cashew Crust

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch cayenne pepper (or to preference)
  • 1/2 tbsp avocado oil (omit if oil-free)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9×11 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Cauliflower Casserole

  • Cut cauliflower into bit-sized florets. Steam cauliflower in batches for 4-5 minutes until tender.
  • While cauliflower is steaming, prepare the rest of the cauliflower casserole ingredients by whisking together in a large bowl.
  • Once cauliflower is steamed, add to mixture and gently toss until evenly coated.
  • Gently press into prepared baking dish.

Cashew Crust

  • Place all cashew crust ingredients into a food processor and pulse until a crumbly texture is reached. (See photos above.)
  • Sprinkle on top of the cauliflower mixture and gently press down.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes checking to make sure that the crust doesn't burn. If over-browning occurs place rimmed baking sheet over casserole dish and continue cooking until cauliflower is tender and filling has set.
  • Serve warm and store leftovers in refrigerator for 3-4 days.
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