Vegan Cauliflower-Spinach Casserole


  • 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.


– 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.


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.


RECIPE: Creamy Potato & Roasted Garlic Soup (vegan edition)

My sister and I found this delightful recipe online – mind you it’s called “Potato and Roasted Garlic Soup” but we were searching for a garlic and kale soup so that’s what this soup is to us.  Choosing this recipe involved a few things:

– determining that we wanted make something soup-like to warm everyone up on a chilly pre-winter night (New England doesn’t really do fall – anyone who tells you otherwise is just trying to get you down here to stimulate the local economy during the so-called leaf-peeping season and/or to jump-start the holiday season.  Don’t fall for it.)

– checking out ingredient availability and discovering lots of kale, the usual assortment of garlic heads, potatoes, celery, etc.  The makings of a nice hearty soup.

– being interrupted by washing dishes, talking to another sister on Skype and who knows what else…

– the first few garlic+kale+soup+recipe searches yielded recipes with wheatberries and while I happen to _love_ wheatberries, we’re all out. Which implies that we normally have them stocked and you’re welcome to believe that if it will increase my coolness factor.  🙂 But they are good for snacking on (cooked) and are an intact whole grain so very good for you!  But we didn’t have any so … moot point.

– removed the wheatberries from the search and a few recipes later we find a recipe post by Anna Thomas from her book Love Soup. The story of the soup is probably about 35% of what sold us on the recipe – you’ll have to read it yourself.

The preparation was not short, but with two of us it went easily and fairly leisurely.  Plenty of chopping and boiling and blending and what not but in the end, it was very pretty and very yummy.  At one stage, before it was completed, my sister exclaimed that it just tasted like “weird mashed potatoes” and I can’t say I agreed with her but it definitely is one of those recipes that leaves you wondering as you prepare it and then comes together at the very end.  The constituent parts are like musicians queuing up before the curtain rises…or something like that.

So without further bad metaphor, here is the recipe, with modifications and notes.  The original recipe is linked in the title.

Continue reading

TAD Day 24: Bell Peppers

Taking photos while you cook is quite fulfilling but SO time-consuming.  🙂  I have had quite a few “TAD”s spurred on by this group but never got around to posting them!  I will simply try to finish out the month at this point.  Thanks for check out my photo(s).

Bell Peppers – These colorful vegetables are rich in antioxidants and vitamins: β-Carotene (Vitamin A), Lycopene, Folic Acid, Vitamin C & Vitamin B6 ; Red, orange and yellow bell peppers are just different stages of ripened/mature green bell peppers, and they have a lot more β-Carotene & lycopene than green bell peppers, as you can tell by their color.  If someone in your house doesn’t like them fresh/lightly cooked in dishes – try roasting them.  Yum!

Posted via email from thing-a-day 2010

TAD Day 7: Veggies!

So I am slow going with this event only because the theme idea threw me for a loop at first.  I had a few things made at the beginning of the week but they had no obvious cohesiveness and without getting either really corny or deeply philosophical, I figured I ought to just hunker down and chose a theme.

Hence, my theme for the month is food.  Maybe more specifically vegetables, but we shall see. 🙂

And because I love to share nutritional/wellness facts, here’s what’s in the photo:

Red Bell Pepper – β-Carotene, Lycopene, Folic Acid, Vitamin C & Vitamin B6 ; Red bell peppers are just ripened/mature green bell peppers, and they have a lot more β-Carotene & lycopene, as you can tell by the color.
Scallions – (white part) Vitamin B & Vitamin C, (green stalk) β-Carotene ; another vegetable that is an immature version of something else, namely onions.
Celery – Vitamin C, Potassium, Calcium ; Celery keeps its nutrients when cooked but keep in mind more of the nutrients are in the leaves…
Carrots – β-Carotene, Vitamin C ; Carrots lose less nutritients when cooked whole… That’s why whole cooked carrots taste yummier too.  The best carrot though is fresh out of the garden.  Mmmmm.  Can’t wait until springtime!

Oh and this wasn’t just a photo shoot – it was preparation for making tofu salad also!  🙂

Thank you for checking this out and have fun with your TAD.


“In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.” – Carl Sagan, Cosmos

Posted via email from thing-a-day 2010

RECIPE: Roasted Vegetables w/ Eggplant

I had been wanting to make a roasted vegetable recipe I saw many weeks ago but didn’t have the eggplant that was called for in the recipe.  But yesterday I both had the eggplant and the timing was perfect for making the recipe.

But I couldn’t find it anymore!  I still don’t remember where I saw it.  So, what does one do?  Improvise!  And here, my friends, is the delicious result – so full of flavor and very simple to make.  Perfect for a cold winter’s eve.


2 yams, peeled and cubed

1 eggplant, medium-sized, sliced into rounds

1 lb baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1/2 large red Spanish onion, diced

3 celery sticks, sliced

1 bulb garlic, chopped

~1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 T herbs de provence

2 tsp Spike

1 t garlic powder

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp white pepper

3 T olive oil


Preheat oven to 425F.

Leaving the peel on, slice the eggplant into rounds.  Prepare a 1:1 soy sauce: water mixture, and lightly spread the diluted soy sauce onto each slice, both sides, laying them out a colander.  Soak for 15 minutes then rinse off and pat dry.  Cut rounds into cubes and place in a large mixing bowl.

Add all other ingredients to the bowl.  Toss until well mixed.  [I used a 2nd mixing bowl and tossed the vegetables back and forth until they were well coated.]

Place mixture in a covered casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes until all vegetables are soft*.  Remove the lid, turn off the oven and let bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Served with brown rice and salad.  5 people ate well.  🙂

If you give it a try, let me know what you think.  Thanks!  ~Chelvanaya

*Don’t stir or only toss lightly.  The yams become very soft and the presentation of this dish is prettier if they stay intact.  Next time I make I’ll take a photo – or send in yours!

Allergy Relief from Rooibos Tea

Yesterday I woke up with itchy, burning eyes and sinus pressure. Unpleasant allergy symptoms that aren’t that unusual for me, and are probably familiar to many others. And without any allergy medicine in the house besides some homeopathic eye drops, I decided to research teas that are known to help with allergies. After all, tea is one thing we do have plenty of.

I came up with rooibos tea as one of a few options (green tea being another). Apparently rooibos tea has compounds called quercetins which are both antioxidants and can act as antihistamines as well, much like OTC allergy medications.  See below for two articles, one on quercetin and one on Rooibos tea and its many other benefits.  The benefits of the tea are maximized if you drink it without any added sweetener, and it is actually one of those teas that tastes quite good by itself!

As for my own symptoms, this is hardly scientific evidence but yes, they are somewhat improved.  Is it a placebo effect or is it the power of quercetin… it’s anyone’s guess.  And, as they say, your own mileage will vary.