Really Good Cauliflower White Sauce | Vegan

Cauliflower White Sauce? I know how it sounds. But trust me, even the cauliflower-haters won’t know. It’s delicious, easy to make, freezes great and helps dinner come together in minutes.

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Why Cauliflower Sauce?

I’ve heard this type of sauce referred to as a “Cauliflower Alfredo,” and while I can see why people would call it that, I’m not sure it’s the best description. Alfredo is a thick, rich, dairy-heavy sauce. Now, you can make great dairy-free versions of Alfredo sauce, but making it with cauliflower would not be how I would do it.

Instead, this Cauliflower white sauce is best used, and enjoyed, as a base sauce. It’s flavorful, vaguely “cheesy” and overall quite light since it’s primarily cauliflower. What I really like about this sauce is that it can easily be adapted to the dish that your making, and the specific tastes of the people for whom you’re cooking.

roasted cauliflower served in cauliflower white sauce
Serve roasted cauliflower with a luscious cauliflower white sauce!

4 Reasons to try Cauliflower White Sauce

If you’re still not convinced, here’s a brief list of reasons why I love this Cauliflower white sauce:

  1. It’s cheap – Once you have the spices in your pantry, all that’s required to make this sauce is purchasing a cauliflower. And, since the recipe only uses half a cauliflower, you can easily use the other half for a different meal.
  2. It’s simple – This recipe only really requires two steps – boil the cauliflower and blend it with spices. That’s it. It can easily be made ahead of time, stored and even frozen until ready to use
  3. It’s versatile – Cauliflower white sauce is great to have on hand. Sometimes I use it as the main sauce over pasta, or I’ll add a bit to other sauces that need more substance.
  4. I like cauliflower – While you may be able to mask most of the “cauliflower” taste, at the end of the day, it’s still a cauliflower-forward sauce. If you hate cauliflower, this probably isn’t the recipe for you. (Though I would encourage you to give a try just to make sure!)

In sum, this is a simple recipe, made with simple pantry ingredients and some cauliflower. It’s easily manageable for a weeknight meal, can easily be adapted to your tastes and is great for beginner cooks.

whole and cut cauliflower for cauliflower white sauce
A nice cauliflower

Seasoning the Cauliflower

This recipe was created to be flavorful enough to stand alone, and flexible enough to be adapted with other spices to make different meals. There are only four main spices in this recipe. Below I’ve included the list along with my favorite places to purchase:

Salt and pepper are obvious choices, of course. Who makes a recipe without them? But it’s the way that they interact with the nutritional yeast, nutmeg and cauliflower that makes them very important.

Notes on Nutritional Yeast

If you’ve used nutritional yeast before, you know that it needs salt. I mean, really needs it. Nutritional yeast possesses a vaguely “cheesy” flavor, making it a staple in most vegan and dairy-free kitchens. I personally love it on popcorn!

Note: Nutritional yeast is, “grown on enriched purified cane and beet molasses under carefully controlled conditions,” []. It’s different from baking or instant rise yeast, so don’t let the name mislead you!

However, using nutritional yeast by itself doesn’t provide that cheesy punch that it’s famous for. When combined with salt, on the other hand, it reaches its full cheese-impersonating potential.

When it comes to pepper, I always, always recommend fresh ground. The bite and flavor of pepper degrades over time, so purchasing a bottle of ground pepper at the grocery store tastes much different then fresh cracked peppercorns. If you make any upgrades in your kitchen, this is one I’d highly suggest!

grated nutmeg for cauliflower white sauce
Whole and fresh grated nutmeg — the best!

Nutmeg and Other Spices

A quick note on nutmeg: While it may be most closely associated with winter time sweet treats and pumpkin spice, nutmeg has a very solid footing in savory cooking. It’s a warming spice with a bit of bite, that balances out the nutty-cheesiness of the nutritional yeast.

The seasonings in this recipe provide a great foundation for any direction you’d like to take. Feel free to make the recipe as written, as it yields a delicious, perfectly usable sauce as is! But if you are interested in adding some *spice*, here’s a few ideas:

Try the above spice combos as written, or mix and match to find your favorite!

Take this sauce up a notch

Looking for a more complex cauliflower sauce? Try any of these mix-ins to amplify the flavor of your cauliflower sauce.

whole roasted garlic for cauliflower white sauce
Whole roasted garlic – use to boost flavor in your cauliflower white sauce

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Sauce

Roast some garlic and add it to the blender with cauliflower for deep undertones of tasty garlic in your sauce! Here’s an easy garlic roasting method:

  • Remove the outer layers of a head of garlic, leaving the individual layers that protect the bulbs. Cut the top off the whole head of garlic (about 1/4″ or so).
  • Put the garlic head in aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil
  • Wrap the garlic tight and roast in a 400 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.

Remove the garlic with the prongs of a fork or with your hands (I prefer the hand method, but hey that’s just me). Add to the blender step of the cauliflower sauce and proceed with recipe as written.

roasted peppers for cauliflower white sauce
Roasted Peppers

Spicy Pepper Cauliflower Sauce

What about a spicy cauliflower sauce? Add in some roasted peppers of your choosing. Try jalapenos or anaheim for a smokier finish. If you really want it hot, throw in a few roasted habaneros.

Roasting peppers is easiest if you leave them whole and let the skin char over a gas stove top. If you have an electric range, add them to a baking sheet and roast them in the oven until the skin is charred and the flesh is soft.

Remove stem and seeds before adding to blender (unless you REALLY want it spicy, then leave the seeds in).

How to Make Cauliflower White Sauce

Making cauliflower white sauce is relatively straightforward. The process can be broken down into a few simple steps:

  • Boil the cauliflower
  • Blend the ingredients
  • Freeze and store or use for dinner tonight!

Let’s look at each of these steps in a bit more detail.

Boil the cauliflower

This recipe only uses half of a cauliflower, so first you’ll want to cut the cauliflower in half. Remove leaves as needed.

Cutting the cauliflower into a few large chunks will help it cook faster and blend easier. Once your salted water has come to a boil, add the cauliflower and boil for 15-20 minutes. The cauliflower should be fork tender.

cauliflower white sauce linguini
Cauliflower white sauce linguini

Blend the sauce ingredients

Next, remove the cauliflower and place in a bowl to cool. Save about a half cup of the water, as we’ll use that in the blender later.

While the cauliflower is cooling, you can assemble your spices. Add everything to the blender and blend away, starting with a quarter cup of water and adding more as needed.

Since this is a more concentrated version of typical cauliflower sauce, it will be thicker. This way you can freeze it in small amounts if desired and simply add water or vegetable stock when ready to use to thin it.

Use immediately or freeze to store

After the sauce is blended, it’s ready to go! Use immediately with your favorite ravioli for a quick and tasty dinner.

To store the cauliflower sauce, I recommend using silicon ice cube molds to freeze small portions of the sauce. Once frozen, you can unmold them, stick them in a bag and keep them in the freezer. Next time you are stumped on what to cook, simply pull out a few cauliflower sauce cubes and add to your favorite pasta! Boom, dinner is served.

Easy Dinners with Cauliflower Sauce

Once the cauliflower white sauce is made, dinner will come together in a pinch. Here are a few of my favorite ideas for dinners with cauliflower white sauce.

Tortellini with Cauliflower White Sauce, roasted Butternut Squash and Pan-Fried Chickpeas

I used my favorite Kite Hill Tortellini for this dish. Simply cook the tortellini according to package directions, then combine with warmed cauliflower white sauce, a splash of pasta water and your favorite cheese on top.

Slice and roast butternut squash with your favorite spices. For the chickpeas, drain and add them to a pan with olive oil. Add your favorite spices and saute for 5-10 minutes until crispy on the outside and warmed all the way through.

Spinach Ravioli in Cauliflower White Sauce with Chicken Sausage, Air-Fried Kale and Grilled Eggplant

I picked up some ravioli from Trader Joes for this dinner. I paired it with air-friend Kale, for which you can use this Easy Kale Chip method and reduce the cooking time by a few minutes to prevent them from becoming too crispy. Toss with olive oil to finish.

Grill the eggplant on the grill or cast-iron grill pan. To take it up a notch, swap the eggplant for zucchini and try out the Thomas Keller Zucchini Method for maximum tastiness.

Really Good Cauliflower White Sauce

Cauliflower White Sauce? I know how it sounds. But trust me, even the cauliflower-haters won't know. It's delicious, easy to make, freezes great and helps dinner come together in minutes.
Course: dinner, lunch, sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cauliflower sauce, cauliflower white sauce, dairy free cream, dairy free recipe, dairy free white sauce, vegan, vegan recipe
Author: Lauren Harvey


  • Blender
  • Sauce pot



  • Cut cauliflower in half. Remove leaves as needed. Cut into large chunks. This will help the cauliflower cook faster and is easier to load into the blender afterward.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt; as if you were about to cook pasta. Add the cauliflower. Boil for about 15-20 min until the cauliflower can be pierced with a fork with no resistance.
  • Remove the cauliflower from the water and place in a bowl to cool. Save ½ cup of the water used for boiling. This will go into the sauce later. If you'd prefer a thinner sauce, use more of the water.
  • Once the cauliflower is cool to the touch, add it to a blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth. Add water as needed to thin. If planning on freezing the sauce, I recommend following the recipe as written. The sauce will come out thick, which makes it more concentrated. Easy for freezing, and you can add water when cooking with it to thin as desired.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


Hi! I’m Lauren, creator of edible ink. I’m a writer who loves food, travel and dogs. I started edible ink as a way to share recipes, food facts and travel tips for fellow foodies. Learn more.




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