Filed under: Budget Meals, Main Entree, Vegan | Tags: budget friendly, cauliflower, cauliflower pasta sauce, comfort food, family meal, how to use leftovers, pasta, roasted cauliflower, Vegan
In my never ending search for the perfect comfort food that is low in fat and calories, I decided to make the much talked about whipped cauliflower. It is rumored that it would replace my cravings for the much more fat ladened mashed potatoes. I started out by roasting the cauliflower with garlic in the oven, then I blended in chicken stock with my emursion blender. There was not one sign of it even resembling my beloved mashed potatoes, but what emerged was a pasta sauce. Hey, the flavor was good… I started the pasta water to boil.
I have made this as a pasta sauce over and over again. Super creamy, super satisfying, and has become a comfort food for my son. With his allergy to dairy, I realized that Gabriel had not had much of that creamy texture pasta comfort that good plate of mac and cheese would give you. This has become his mac and cheese and I have some gratification that I have figured out a beautiful healthy comfort food that my son is going to carry with him through his life. Maybe he will tell the story of the disaster that turned into his favorite pasta recipe to his children. Okay, okay, I am a total sap. Get used to it!
1 head of cauliflower, seperated into florets
3-5 gloves of garlic, smashed
3-4 T. olive oil
fresh thyme sprigs, 3 or 4
3-4 cups chicken stock
2-4 T butter, I use Earth balance, which is vegan friendly
1 lb. pasta, traditional or whole wheat works great
1 15 oz can of butter beans, drained
big handful of fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
1. Place cauliflower florets on baking sheet with the smashed up cloves of garlic.
2. Coat with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Throw the sprigs of thyme on a baking sheet then toss all the ingredients together, making sure everything is coated with the oil.
3. Place in preheated oven at 400F for about twenty minutes. You will know it is done when the cauliflower is roasted a light brown and cooked through. Remember, brown adds flavor.
4. Place everything from the baking sheet into a large sauce pan or blender, except the wood of the thyme springs. Pop the garlic out of its peels, then add.
5. Add some chicken broth and start emulsion blender or stand blender slowly. Keep adding chicken broth until you get a smooth consistency. I throw in some butter to blend into the sauce to give it a nice finish.
6. If you are using a blender, put the sauce in a sauce pan to keep heated. Adjust flavors with salt and pepper. Taste, adjust. Taste always while cooking.
7. Start your pasta water boiling. Drop pasta in water when ready. Cook through.
8. Place drained beans into sauce. Heat through in pasta sauce.
9. Add drained pasta to sauce. Throw in hand fulls of fresh basil. Toss.
10. When I plate it, I drizzle some very virgin olive oil on the top.
I have made this ahead of time and put in a lightly greased baking dish, then topped with cracker crumbs and baked as a casserole. I have added tomatoes and spinach in it. I have grated cheese on it when I served it or just added it to casserole.
So for leftovers…
I love to add a few things to leftovers to make them different. I added red peppers (from a jar), chopped purple onion, peapods, capers, drained tuna, and a tablespoon of mayo to the cold pasta and you have a delicious tuna pasta salad for lunch.
By the way, I still think mashed potato is perfect comfort food and there really is no subsitute.
Pull up a chair, Elizabeth
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