Nacho Cheese Cauliflower Popcorn (raw, vegan)


I’m sharing a fun little snack today that is not only vegan, but completely raw as well. Cauliflower popcorn? I was a little skeptical at first, but after making it (and making it again, and again, and again), I was more than a little hooked on this crunchy and flavorful whole food snack.

Occasionally, out of curiosity, I enter the ingredients and serving size for my recipes into myfitnesspal or some other nutrient calculator. I’m not one to count calories or fat, but sometimes I like to see how much protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals a certain recipe has. I was actually floored with how nutritious this cauliflower popcorn turned out to be.

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Cauliflower itself is crazy nutritious. A medium head of cauliflower has 11 grams of protein (yes, plants have protein!), 13% DV of iron, 472% DV of vitamin C, and 12% DV of calcium, all for just 142 calories. You could never sit down and eat an entire raw cauliflower… unless you chopped it up and dehydrated it. You see, dehydrating the cauliflower florets makes them shrink way, way, down into crispy addictive little nibbles. That’s probably the only drawback to this recipe and all dehydrator recipes; the yield is not very high. On the flipside, however, you get a super nutrient packed snack. One person can easily eat one entire recipe of this nacho cheese cauliflower popcorn. I know from experience. My only suggestion: double the recipe.


One recipe of this cheesy cauliflower popcorn provides:

17 grams of protein (cauliflower: 11 grams, nutritional yeast: 6 grams)

14 grams of fiber

12% DV calcium

17% DV iron

… All for about 235 calories and 5 grams of fat.

But enough about the nutrition, what do they taste like?

I was going for a nacho cheese “Doritos” flavor with this recipe. I am happy to say, I think it comes quite close! It has a cheesy, tangy flavor that is quite addictive. The texture is crisp and crunchy, and if you aren’t a fan of the taste of raw cauliflower, I can tell you that dehydrating it removes any of the distinct “raw cauliflower” taste.

If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can try using your oven on the lowest setting, although the recipe will no longer be raw. I also tried just roasting them at about 350 for 40 minutes, and they were absolutely delicious! Not as crunchy or dry as the dehydrator cauliflower, but still very flavorful and crispy/charred on the edges, which was super yummy!

I hope you give this nutritious snack a try, I promise you won’t be sorry.

You’ll only be sorry you didn’t make more.

Raw Nacho Cheese Cauliflower Popcorn

adapted from this recipe


  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, washed, patted dry and broken or cut into small bite sized pieces *


  • 1 Tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp of tomato paste (can be omitted, but does add a nice flavor)
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp of nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon each of: garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, sea salt
  • dash of cayenne (optional)

to sprinkle over top:

  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 pinches of sea salt
  • pinch of chili powder


  1. Place cauliflower florets in a large bowl. Mix together marinade ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the florets. Mix the marinade into the cauliflower with your hands, making sure each piece is lightly coated.
  2. Mix together the nutritional yeast, salt, and chili powder and then sprinkle over the florets, tossing with your hands to distribute.
  3. Dehydrate florets for about 5-8 hours. In my dehydrator, it took about 6 hours.


*If you have a large head of cauliflower, you may want to double up the marinade ingredients to make sure all the pieces are coated.

Try to break up the cauliflower into thumb sized pieces, remember they will shrink a lot. Smaller pieces make for shorter dehydrating time, but make them too small and you will be left with tiny crumbs.

Instead of dehydrating, you can roast the cauliflower at 350 F for about 30-40 minutes.

Nutrition facts provided are approximations, based on entering the raw ingredients into myfitnesspal. Dehydrating keeps most nutrients intact, except for maybe vitamin C, which is why I didn’t include it (however even if some of the vit C is lost, the content after dehydrating should still be quite high, well over 100% DV)


Have you ever made Cauliflower Popcorn?


6 thoughts on “Nacho Cheese Cauliflower Popcorn (raw, vegan)

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