Creamy Cauliflower Mac
Not as simple as opening a box of Kraft but think of the nourishing gift you are giving yourself! This is another one I have played with for years and so darn close to vegan heaven. So many nutritional benefits in this bowl, it's hard to know where to start...cruciferous cauliflower, vitamin-packed squash, are just the beginning. Give it a try, play with it, and make it your own. Honest to goodness comfort...just what this mom ordered.
Creamy Cauliflower Mac
1 small butternut squash, sliced in half, seeds and pulp removed
1 large head cauliflower (can also use 2 small, 1 yellow, 1 white), trimmed, cut in pieces
1 large bay leaf
1 package gluten free pasta of choice (I like Banza, made from chickpeas)
½ cup raw cashew pieces (more economical than whole), soaked* and rinsed
1 Tbsp garlic powder (use good quality)
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard (same)
1 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
Freshly ground black pepper
Raw pistachios, grated for topping
Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees (my oven runs hot so you may want to go up to 400). Sprinkle salt and pepper on the butternut squash halves and place them cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss about 1/3 of the cauliflower with salt and pepper and place on another baking sheet (also lined with parchment), Depending on the size of the squash, roast for about 30 min. (check after 20). It will be done when a wooden stick (or fork) pokes in easily. The cauliflower should be done around the same time – keep checking! Set aside.
2) While the squash and some of the cauliflower is roasting, cook the pasta according to directions and bring another (sorry!) large pot with 2-3 inches of water to a boil.
3) Add remaining cauliflower and bay leaf, cover and boil for about 8-10 min. Remove from heat and drain. (This can also be done in a steamer).
4) When the butternut squash is cool enough, scoop out soft flesh and place in a high-speed blender. Add squash, ½ of the steamed cauliflower, cashews, garlic powder, mustard, thyme (crush in your fingers first), nutritional yeast, nutmeg, paprika, turmeric, and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust seasonings as needed (more yeast for cheesiness, more mustard for zing, more nutmeg for comfort;).
5) Toss Pasta, remaining cauliflower (roasted and steamed), with sauce from the blender.
6) Serve topped with freshly grated pistachios, fresh parsley, more nutritional yeast, if desired. Enjoy!
*Cashews can be soaked for 15 min in hot (filtered) water or for 4 hours at room temp.