You heard that right. The Cheddar “Cheese” in this sandwich is made of Cauliflower! No nuts! It is sliced, and has limited oil. Loads of flavor in the cheese. Paired in this sandwich with some fresh pesto, grilled zucchini and juicy tomatoes. Summer in a panini. The way I use cauliflower these days, I should plant half my yard with cauliflower. No?
The awesome part about the recipe, no wait required except for the setting time. And you can keep tasting as you go to change up the flavor profile, make it stronger, add more flavors, make is smokier with liquid smoke, sharper with more miso or sundried tomato, and so on. Some tips to keep it less cauliflower-y tasting. Use fresh cauliflower, do not over cook the cauliflower. If the taste still stands out, add more non dairy milk, and flavors, and add a tsp more agar so it sets the added liquid. If you can have nuts, then add some soaked cashews.
The thick saucy cheese is spread on parchment into a thin layer where it sets nicely and is then cut into squares and stored. You can also make a block of the cheese. It is much much easier to cut it up when already set on the parchment.
And this sandwich. is. amazing. Fresh basil, zukes, and double slices of cheddar. Perfect!
As with the agar cheeses, they melt, but are not necessarily stringy and oily. For a Stringier cheese you will need more tapioca starch and oil and maybe use fruit pectin.
More cheeses from the blog
Melty Cashew Mozzarella and Mozzarella sticks – baked and fried versions
Green Goddess Gouda
Cashew millet Nacho cheese
Coconut Milk Cheddar and Mozzarella
Messy grilled panini. Messier the better.
Layer the pesto, cheddar, zucchini, tomato, more cheddar.
Top with a buttered/oiled slice and grill.
Cauliflower Cheddar Grilled Cheese with Zucchini Pesto Tomato
Allergen Information for Cheddar: Free of dairy, egg, corn, soy, gluten, nut.
Cheddar slices: Makes 10 to 12, 3 inch slices
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 cups cauliflower florets (1.5 to 2 inch pieces)
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup non dairy milk
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp chickpea miso or other miso
3/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp prepared mustard
1/2 pickled jalapeno, 3 slices (optional)
1 Tbsp flour of choice (omit to make gluten-free)
2 Tbsp Tapioca Flour/Starch
2 tsp Agar Powder
Basil pumpkin seed pesto (Basil, pumpkin seeds, salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice)
Sliced ripe tomato
Sliced Zucchini, raw or grilled
salt, pepper and sriracha
Make the Cheddar:
In a large pan, add 1 tsp oil and heat at medium heat. When the oil is hot, add chopped garlic and cook for a minute. Add the cauliflower, water and salt and cover and cook for 8 minutes or until cauliflower is tender crisp. Cool slightly. Drain the water into a bowl (reserve for later use). Add cauliflower and the rest of the ingredients (hemp seeds to flour) except tapioca starch and agar to the blender. Blend to a smooth thick puree. Add a Tbsp or more water for the blending only if needed. (Blend 2 to 3 cycles so the hemp seeds get blended). Taste and adjust salt, tang if needed. (add 1 Tbsp sun dried tomato for sharper cheddar).
Add tapioca starch and agar and blend again. Transfer mixture to a pan and cook at medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes. (Once the mixture starts bubbling, keep cooking for 6 minutes so agar gets activated). The mixture will thicken.
Pour this onto parchment lined sheet immediately and spread into a 1/8 inch thick layer using a spatula. (or you can pour in a greased container to make a block, slicing that will not be easy though:). Keep the slices thick as the thin slices will break too easily.
* The mixture starts thickening more as it cools, so spread when it is still hot. Spray oil on the spatula and on the cheese mixture to help with spreading.
Refrigerate for at least an hour to set. Cut into squares, peel each slice carefully from the parchment and store between square parchment papers in an airtight container. Keeps refrigerated for upto 4 days. Can also be frozen.
Make the Sandwich:
Brush oil or butter on the bread slice. Add a thick layer of pesto, add a slice of cheddar, then layer tomatoes, layer raw or grilled zuccini slices, sprinkle salt and pepper. Add Sriracha for spice. (optional)
Add another cheddar slice. Top with a bread slice. Brush oil on the top slice and grill. Serve hot.
Add other veggies, greens, or burger crumbles etc for variations. If the cheese doesnt set or anything else goes wrong, use it as a spread or make mac and cheddar cheese 🙂
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This chart about the carbon footprint of different foods. Read more about how the diet impacts climate and environment here. And how one diet change can tale upto 46 million cars off the road.
I see agar is a vegan gelatin substitute. Any idea if this would turn out using unflavored beef gelatin? Same amount?
My husband and I are not strict vegetarian… but use mainly vegetarian recipes. We have loved EVERYTHING we’ve made of yours! Thank you!
Yum! I love this sandwich! The cauliflower cheese was easy to make. My daughter also used it to make a quesadilla. Thank you!
Can I put these slices on the top of a pasta bake, and then bake the whole thing? Will they brown?
They wont melt much but will brown. Broil for a minute.
Can I substitute flax seeds for hemp seeds?
no, use sunflower or pumpkin seeds instead or nuts like cashews
I gonna show this to my wife, Hope she will give it a try. 🙂 Our son will love it.
What is the nutrition information? Haha, I mean like calories, fat, protein, etc.
I have been adding that to the newer recipes. all posts will eventually get it in a couple of months. You can use cronometer.com or calorieount.com to calculate inthe meanwhile
I really like your recipe. I was just wondering how you managed to get such a consistence. I even user a bit more of agar, but my cheese in block form isn’t hard. It is still a bit creamy, but I’m sure that the agar was activated since it got somewhat more solid and I cooked it a bit longer then needed. I would be really grateful about a reply since I had the same problem with two other cheese recipes in the past. Thanks!
The cheese is somewhat soft because of the moisture of the cauliflower. You can use more agar powder for a more set cheese.
Also agar activates better when heated just with water to activate, then add the activated mixture to the rest of the mixture. Let me know if these steps worked
Thanks! I didn’t have the time to test it yet and I still have some cheddar left from the last time I did the recipe. But your idea seems pretty logical to me. Further I liked you cheese, but non the less it tastes good, but not like cheese. I’m only vegan for a few weeks, but until now I couldn’t find a recipe which really tasted like cheese. (Not that they tasted bad…) Do you have any recommendations?
For the very authentic flavor profile, you have to make cultured cheeses. See Miyoko schinners books (artisan vegan cheese and vegan pantry) for those recipes that culture the cashew or other cheese mixture over the counter for a few days to develop the cheese culture or spores just like dairy cheese. Recipes that use miso or non dairy yogurt also taste closer. Try my vegan pizza dip with vegan mozzarella.
You can also buy some of miyokos cheeses before investing in making them. Many are available in whole foods or other stores if you are in the US. There are other brands like treeline, kite hill etc with artisan cheeses as well.
It also is a getting used to process. Cheese is pretty addictive because of the fat, protein, flavor combination which is very pleasing and liked. So its one of the harder foods to transition from. It takes a while to start getting used to the vegan versions, some might have the flavor but not the fat, might have the fat but not the texture or right protein etc. After a while, your tastebuds adjust to it and the same vegan versions start to taste/feel better :).
Hi – how many servings does this recipe make? Trying to figure out how much I need to make.
Makes 10 to 11, 3 inch slices
This looks amazing and we are so excited to try today. We have both a rice miso and also a chickpea miso from Whole Foods – they are both great! The rice one seems a bit saltier. Do you think alright to omit the hemp seeds with no sub for the cheese or is it crucial to have the 2 Tbsp. of some kind of nuts or seeds? Thanks!
Another question about tweaking ingredients. What do you think about adding smoked paprika for the paprika ingredient? If yes, do you think sweet or hot paprika (or combo!) would be better with the vibe of this? Also, you mention leaving off the flour if making gf. Do you think it would work to add rice or chickpea flour instead or better to leave out the 1 Tbsp. flour completely if gluten-free flour? Thanks again!
I would use all smoked hot paprika but if you are unsure of how hot it would be, use a combination. Use rice flour.
Thank you so much, Richa!
We did 1/2 hot and 1/2 sweet and could have done all hot. 🙂 You knew! Still great withe smokiness. All of it was so yummy! My daughter’s quote: “That was a really solid sandwich!” The layering of flavors (your specialty!) was amazing from the pumpkin seed pesto to sauteed zucchini to cheese to tomatoes. Thank you so much!
it would be good to have some nuts or seeds for the volume. It adds a slightly meatier texture to the cheese rather than just a gelled texture. But you can omit it if you are ok with the texture a bit here and there.
Will do…thanks again!
Added roasted pumpkin seeds to the cheese rather than hemp seeds. Worked out beautifully!
I’d love to try it today…have all ingredients except tapioca flour. Any substitute you recommend?
Tapioca starch adds some strechy meltyness to the cheese. You can use cornstarch. Do try it with tapioca when you get some.
Hi, I did try it on Sunday…and had tapioca starch. I had agar flakes rather than powder…and wonder if I didn’t use enough? I used 2 tsp which is what you call for with powder…but the cheese ends up somewhat falling apart. Like it needs a bit more binder/glue-y texture. Could that be it? The taste is awesome!!! I didn’t use jalapenos, and used slightly less garlic and onion powder, so it would have less of a strong taste. It’s just wonderfully rich tasting! You really are a culinary genius!
Yes you need to use at least 3 times the flakes and also cook a few minutes longer. So for every 1 tsp of powder, use 3 teaspoon of flakes. So glad you loved the flavor!
I can’t wait to try this! I buy vegan cheese occasionally just to have something melty on my veggies, but they have so little nutrition…this sounds incredible! You are a creative genius!!! In another lifetime, I was a corporate chef for restaurants and was very inventive, but not vegan at that time. I’m still learning this whole new style of cooking…thanks for your wonderful recipes!
Oh, Richa, Richa, Richa. I cannot wait to make this cheese, probably on a similar sandwich, for my V and GF son and his girlfriend! I can’t find agar anywhere in my rural stores so I had to depend on her to find it for me in her great whole foods shops where she lives. We’ll be having a feast this Saturday!!!
Your recipes are delicious, innovative, and generally simple and easy. I sure hope I can make this cheddar without problem. Next, the mozzarella!
I am a new vegan. I love your recipes! I cannot wait to try them all! I am soaking walnuts, pecans and dates as I type this. You are a life saver!
This is pure genius. I had decided I’d just have to enjoy vegan cheese as a *very* occasional rare treat, as all the vegan ones are either cashews or coconut oil (and the commercial ones are pure junk). I just made this recipe – it’s to die for. So good. So very, very incredibly good. I made the block and couldn’t wait until it fully set – I’ve already had it on a sandwich. I can’t believe it’s vegetable. I feel like I’ve won the lottery. I love you I love you I love you.
Thats awesome! so glad it turned out so well!
Just came across this cheese section and I have to say I am in LOVEEEEEEE with your page!!! Please Please continue posting such great recipes!!
Yay! so glad you found the cheese 🙂
Have you tried this using frozen cauliflower yet?
no i havent. let me know when you do.
Girl! Really, I have been looking through blog recipes for years. I had totally bored of the recipes and hadn’t tried a new one in some time … until now. Your site has totally revived the blog recipe world for me !I must be in the dark … or you are one of a kind and a highly skilled, highly creative co-creator and chef! Your future is so bright! I love that you are a brown woman doing it so way big! Keep going VeganRicha! You are here with deep intention and have a blessed message to share with the world! massive LOVE!!
Hello! I have been following your blog on and off for some time and really enjoy seeing the creativity of your recipes and the lovely photos.
I wanted to ask if this cheese will still melt if you leave out the oil in the recipe? Thanks!
I look forward to your reply!
Hi Marie, this cheese doesnt melt fully like dairy cheese anyway. You can leave out the oil.
Thank you! I look forward to trying this recipe!
How long does this cheese last in the fridge and does it freeze well?
4 days in the fridge. the slices freeze ok. the texture changes slightly.
Hello, very inventive way to make cheese.
Can you redo the cheese recipes replacing agar with chickpea flour? I don’t know how much to substitute or other changes that should be made.
use at least a 1/2 cup chickpea flour. Blend it in with the cauliflower and cook it for 8 to 10 minutes to cook the chickpea flour. Taste carefully and adjust the flavor. you will need to add more of everything because the chickpea flour will add more volume and its own flavor.
I made this sandwich tonight and last night, and it is awesome! I don’t think my cheese set quite as well as it should have, because stupid me bought agar flakes instead of agar powder. I compensated by grinding them up as best as I could, and using two TBS instead of two tsp. I also added a TBS of tomato paste, just because I had some. The cheese is fantastic! Hell, just cooking the cauliflower with salt, evoo, garlic, and water was so good, I had to resist from eating all the cauliflower that way! I also made basil pumpkin seed pesto. I had been wanting to buy a panini press for awhile, and this recipe was my excuse to finally get one! Your recipes never disappoint me, Richa 🙂 Now if only I could take as good of a picture as you…
agar flakes don’t need to be powdered. they just take longer to mix into the water. so about 15 minutes of mixing and activating time instead of the 5 mins with powder. you can add another half a Tbsp more. also mix them in 1/4 cup water and cook for the 15 minutes and add the cauliflower puree to the the water and cook for another few minutes.
i am so glad you loved the cheese and the sandwich! i know i love the cauliflower just with the garlic and evoo. boiled, baked or cooked any which way!
Sherie Lynn Vela
What can I use instead of hemp seeds? Some of my friends in hispanic countries do not have access to them.
you can use ground up cashews, macadamia nuts or pumpkin seeds.
Thalia @ butter and brioche
now THAT is one good looking sandwich, you’ve definitely stumbled onto a killer idea with the cheese slices. i will be giving this recipe a go in my kitchen. thanks for sharing a great idea and for providing much inspiration. love it!
I have almost everything I need to make this cheese. Next weekend, I’m buying the rest and making this sandwich. I’ll let you know how it comes out!
I’m definitely going to make this, even though I’ve never attempted “cheese” with cauliflower. The two things I’ve made from your blog (mung bean dal with broccoli and cookie dough bars) have been amazing, so I must get outside my comfort zone and try this with an open mind!
I usually just see your posts on my facebook, I just checked out the recipes by index. Your blog is amazing. I tried to start a vegan blog, didn’t go so well. I need to get back to it.
I will. All I need now is a recipe for mozzarella, I may be vegan, but I love me some vegan nachos lol.
i have linked 2 mozzarella recipes on the post. see more cheeses on the blog section 🙂
I will try with more agar to see if I can grate next time. I missed transferring it back to the stove, thanks for the quick response, it had just gone into the fridge lol.
no worries. you can probably freeze it a bit and then slice or grate it 🙂 let me know how it goes
Do you have any tips on how to spread this? When I made the cheese it’s a thick paste, even when adding 2 tbspn water to thin. I used a silicone spatula to spread, but it’s a bit tough to spread thin. I will be lucky to get 6 sandwich size slices out of the recipe. Either way I am excited to try it. If made in a block do you think you would be able to grate it? I am looking for homemade versions, has to be cheaper than Daiya to make it myself. Do you have any recipes for a mozzarella?
it is thick and as it cools it gets thicker. so spread it quickly right off heat. fat slices work fine in the sandwiches too 🙂 this won;t grate because the moisture content in the cauliflower is too high and there isnt enough agar. if you use 3 tsp agar, then it might grate on a large box grateer.
Spray oil on top and on the spatula to spread.
Wow, cauliflower cheese?!? That’s crazy-creative, crazy-good sounding (I heart cauliflower). This looks delicious!
Look at those fun cheese slices! Awesome!
Gabby @ the veggie nook
Wow that cheese looks insane!! Well really the whole things does but seriously. You made cheese out of cauliflower. You are wonderful.
Love it! I already have visions of being the envy of all my workmates with this sandwich.
Wow this looks amazing, you made cheese good job. Hippy mom Elizabeth
This cauliflower cheddar is blowing my mind! It looks fabulous. I actually have a head of “cheddar” (yellow) cauliflower in my fridge right now with no plans for it… so I hope you’ll forgive me using it for this instead of recipe testing =P
ha ! I am just going to post another cauliflower recipe on the test blog 😛 😀
The Vegan 8
This looks absolutely amazing Richa!! I am not a fan of cauliflower at all, but if it isn’t detectable, then I think I would love this. That sandwich looks amazing!
what? noooooo. 😀 i have a coconut milk cheddar too ! i know i love grilled veggie and fresh herb sandwiches in summer!
I have to try this! But I have got 1 problem.. Do you need to add the chickpea miso? Or is there something I can replace it with? I can’t find this type of miso where I live and I can’t tolerate soy based miso..I hope you have solution for me..
you can use sundried tomato or more lemon juice. add a little, blend, taste and repeat till you like the flavor. the flavor will deepen as it sets.
WHERE DO I FIND RECIPE FOR BASIL PUMPKIN SEED PESTO?
AND I STILL DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW TO FIND/MAKE CHICKPEA MISO OR ITS SUBSTITUTE. HELP. THIS IS A FABULOUS CONCOCTION!
I didn’t note the basil pesto recipe, so it is not on the blog yet. just use a regular basil pesto recipe with any nuts or use pumpkin seeds. (fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, salt pepper, lemon juice, and seeds or nuts. blend to get a spreadable pesto)
you can find chickpea miso in whole foods, asian markets or other specialty markets. you can use other miso like yellow miso. or omit it and add more lemon juice or some sundried tomato.
What is evoo? Is it extra virgin olive oil? If yes, what’s the point of having normal one and evoo as well? Just asking to know if I have all the needed ingredients.
the 1 tsp oil is to saute the garlic. the additional 1 Tbsp is added during blended. i changed the instructions. you can use any oil to cook the garlic.
you are a culinary genius.