Vegan Cauliflower-Spinach Casserole

RECIPE

  • 1½ cups almond milk
  • 3 T coarsely chopped organic almonds (optional)
  • 2 T vegan margarine
  • 2 T whole wheat flour
  • 1″ thick slice of vegan soy cheese, grated (or ~1/4 cup loosely grated soy cheese)
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt; 1 tsp white pepper (adjust as needed)
  • 2lb head of organic cauliflower, cut into 1½” florets
  • 1 medium organic onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 T reduced sodium soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos
  • 2 handfuls organic baby spinach
  • 1 tsp Spanish paprika

This recipe is completely vegan and 100% creamy, cheesy deliciousness.  I wouldn’t overindulge on it (but that goes for most things, no?) – and it makes a nice side dish to bean burgers and a raw veggie salad.

DIRECTIONS

– Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

– In a medium saucepan, melt the margarine and stir in the flour. Whisk immediately over medium-high heat for 1 minute.

– Add the almond milk and whisk continuously until the sauce thickens.

– Remove from the heat.  Add half the cheese to the sauce with the nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste and whisk.  (Clean off your whisk immediately.)  Keep the sauce warm while you prepare the cauliflower.

– In a large skillet, bring ~1/2″ of water to boil.

– Add the cauliflower florets, cover and cook for ~ 4 min until cauliflower is tender but still slightly crisp.  You don’t want them mushy so be careful not to overcook them.

– Drain cauliflower immediately in a colander and let sit to drain completely.

– In the dry skillet, add about a Tbsp of olive oil and saute the onion and garlic to light brown.

– Add the cauliflower back into the skillet with the onion/garlic.

– Add 1 Tbsp soy sauce evenly and continue to cook for about 2 minutes.

– Transfer vegetables to a casserole dish.

– Rinse spinach leaves in a colander and loosely dry with a paper or clean cloth towel.

– Coarsely chop spinach leaves and add to the casserole dish.

– Top off with almonds, remainder of cheese and paprika.

-> Bake for 20-25 minutes until bubbling and browned on top.  Let set for 10 minutes before serving with a fresh veggie/lettuce salad.

NOTES

The contrast of the crunch of the almonds and the creaminess of the cauliflower/almond sauce is delightful but not to everyone’s taste.  Hence, the almonds are certainly optional.

The health benefits of almonds are an added bonus to the recipe, however.  The “nutritionally dense” nuts are high in protein and fiber as well as other nutrients (eg. magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and Vitamin E), which are increased if you top the casserole with raw sliced almonds rather than cooking them.  And don’t forget the salad as a fresh counterpoint to the baked dish.  🙂 Happy eating!

Other Possibilities

– broccoli florets, fresh parsley, 5-6 chopped scallions, 1/2 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers, 1 cup chopped seitan, 1 cup cherry tomatoes, 1 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms… etc.

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