Broccoli and Cauliflower with Vegan “Cheese” Sauce

The epitome of vegan comfort food, this side dish uses nutritional yeast, available at natural foods stores, to add cheeselike flavor, and nuts to this tasty vegetable combo. Nutritional yeast is a wonderful source of protein and B-vitamins. Although it’s optional, the turmeric gives the sauce delightful yellow hue, suggesting Cheddar cheese. Serve with Walnut-Crusted Tofu Cutlets.

Chef Mark Reinfeld

    • Phases34
    • 4
    • 15 Minutes
    • 15 Minutes
    • 30 Minutes
    •  US  Metric
  • Nutritional information per serving

    • 9g
    • 14g
    • 5g
    • 6g
    • 11g
    • 160


  • Vegetables:
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 2 cups small cauliflower florets
  • “Cheese” sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 2 medium/large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 cup water or vegetable broth
  • 6 tablespoon nutritional yeast*
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric, optional
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ tablespoon spelt or whole-wheat flour
  • Garnish:
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions


  1. Fill a medium pot with 1½ inches of water; insert a steamer basket and add the broccoli and cauliflower. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and steam until the vegetables are just tender, approximately 7 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a small sauté pan over medium-high heat and cook for 30 seconds. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent, approximately 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the broth, nutritional yeast, cayenne, salt, ground pepper and turmeric (if using) and stir well.

  4. Using a fork or small whisk, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil as well as the flour in a small bowl and stir well, making sure to eliminate any lumps. Add to the sauté pan, mix well and cook until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

  5. When the broccoli and cauliflower are done, place them in a serving dish. Top the vegetables with the sauce and garnish with bell pepper and scallions.

*Nutritional yeast is a pure strain of yeast that adds a cheesy and nutty flavor to vegan dishes. It’s also a source of protein, providing essential amino acids and B-vitamins. (The fortified Red Star brand contains vitamin B-12.) It’s available in the condiment section and/or the bulk section of natural foods stores. Stored in a cool dry place or the refrigerator or freezer, it will last for months.

  • Variation 1

    Broccoli and Cauliflower with Vegan “Cheese” Sauce and Herbs Stir a tablespoon of fresh minced herbs such as basil, parsley or dill into the sauce after cooking.

  • Variation 2

    Mixed Vegetable Medley Follow the basic recipe, replacing the broccoli and cauliflower with an equivalent amount of nonstarchy vegetables such as zucchini, cabbage, fennel, broccoli rabe, celery and/or bok choy.