Thursday, December 3, 2009
Macaroni and Cheese with Cauliflower and Tomato
Today was another one of those days when I was out running around almost the entire day. I had a great day with my girlfriend Sue. We went shopping, bought some vegan cookbooks, had a great vegan lunch, stopped at Home Goods, and went to the health food store. Since I don’t have time for a full update on that I will post it tomorrow morning. We had a blast and really picked up some great stuff that I want to share with you.
It was after 5 pm when I got home tonight and I really wasn’t hungry since we had a big lunch. However, the hubby needed to eat so I had to make dinner. Once Janet, at Meatless Mama, posted her macaroni and cheese earlier this week I have been thinking about it ever since and knew that was going to be dinner tonight.
I had soaked my raw cashews a couple of days ago and stored them in the refrigerator so I could make macaroni and cheese tonight. Since we don’t typically eat a lot of pasta I wanted to add some veggies to the dish to reduce the total amount of flour consumed. We had bought cauliflower at the farm market this weekend and since that works so well with cheese I thought it would be great here. Additionally we had grape tomatoes that I wanted to use so those went in the dish as well. I thought about wilting in a little fresh spinach or arugula but decided that may be a little too far from macaroni and cheese. This dish is more healthy than a dairy based macaroni and cheese but isn’t as healthy as most of my recipes. But …. sometimes you just want a little comfort food.
The texture of the sauce is thick and very much like a cheese sauce. I have discovered that if you soak the raw cashews in water for a few hours and drain the water it improves the texture. Soaking seems to soften the cashews so that you get a texture that is much more silky. Here is what I made tonight.
Macaroni and Cheese with Cauliflower and Tomato
Makes 6 servings
1 yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
½ cup water
½ cup oatmeal, dry
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight in the refrigerator
2 ½ cups water
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
¼ cup nutritional yeast
¼ teaspoon turmeric, or as much as you need to achieve the yellow color of your choice
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
½ tablespoon hot crushed pepper (wet hots)
4 cups cauliflower florets, cut into small bite size florets
3 cups grape tomatoes cut in half
13.25 ounces whole-wheat pasta
2 green onions, finely sliced
Start 6 quarts of water boiling to cook the pasta.
Water sauté the onion until it is soft.
Place the oatmeal in your blender and puree until it is finely ground like flour.
While the onion is cooking make the sauce. Add the cashews, water, garlic, nutritional yeast, turmeric, salt and pepper to your blender with the oatmeal and puree. If you think the color should be more yellow add a little more turmeric and puree again. Be careful not to add too much turmeric or you can end up with a sauce with a bitter undertone.
Pour the sauce in the pan with the onions and simmer to thicken. Add the hot crushed pepper and reduce the heat to low and keep it warm while you cook the pasta.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and be certain to stir for the first 15 – 30 seconds to keep the pasta from clumping together. Add a handful of salt to the water to flavor the pasta. Cook the pasta until it is al dente (about a minute or two less than the package indicates). Al dente pasta has a low glycemic index than fully cooked pasta. A lower glycemic index has less impact on blood sugar so I always cook my pasta al dente.
While the pasta is cooking steam the cauliflower. I do this with a steam insert in the pasta pot and pull the cauliflower as soon as it is tender. This took 7 minutes for me.
When you start the cauliflower steaming add the tomatoes to the “cheese sauce so they can begin to soften a little.
Add the tender cauliflower to the “cheese” sauce and leave the heat on low. Toss to combine all the ingredients.
Toss the al dente pasta with the sauce and serve. Top with sliced green onion or cilantro.
Amount Per Serving
Calories - 424.03
Calories From Fat (19%) - 78.47
Total Fat - 9.29g
Saturated Fat - 1.32g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 560.97mg
Potassium - 913.32mg
Total Carbohydrates - 72.26g
Fiber - 12.5g
Sugar - 8.46g
Protein - 18.26g
This really is a total comfort food dish. It would be perfect on one of those cold or rainy nights. Both the hubby and I really enjoyed this tonight. It would also be good with broccoli florets in the sauce. Additionally I would have liked a little freshly minced parsley on this as a garnish (which would add some vitamin K).
I think this sauce is mild enough in flavor that you could feed it to children. However, you may want to reduce the hot crushed peppers, but I found them to be extremely mild, just a background note. The garlic flavor is also not assertive.