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.

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.

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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.

ROASTED VEGETABLES WITH EGGPLANT

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!