Creamy Cauliflower Zucchini Mac
Updated: Jul 3
with Shiitake Bacon
Summer here is still comfort food weather...rainy and cold. Scratch the watermelon for now (that's coming soon) and give me something warm and cozy. This creamy cauliflower zucchini mac has you covered! Made with a rich umami cashew cream sauce and topped with delicious shiitake bacon, I could not get enough. Use a pasta of choice but I tried and really liked this Ancient Harvest brand of gluten free elbows that were great. You could also use a simple zucchini noodle (for a Whole30 version).
Shiitake Mushrooms are known for their cancer-preventative properties, perhaps containing more than any other variety of mushroom. A good source of fiber, B vitamins, vitamin D and zinc, shiitakes contain a specific anti-tumor compound called lentinan. They also offer great umami flavor, especially when roasted.
Cauliflower is also considered cancer-protective with phytochemicals and carotenoids (including beta-carotene and lutein) that also help reduce inflammation and lower blood sugar.
Zucchini is technically a fruit (really??) and offers tons of health benefits. It can be eaten raw or cooked, makes a great substitute for noodles, and hides nicely in smoothies. We've added it here because it's bountiful in summertime and bumps up the nutrient content with significant amounts of vitamin C, B6, folate, vitamin K, and even has more potassium than a banana!
All you need is a few simple ingredients:
Creamy Cauliflower Zucchini Mac
Your favorite gluten-free pasta (can sub spiralized zucchini noodles)
1 cup cashews, soaked 4-6 hours or quick-soaked 15 min in hot water
3 cups cauliflower florets (about 1/2 medium head)
2 large cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
2 TB nutritional yeast
1 TB chickpea miso
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp white pepper
½ cup liquid (plant milk, pasta water or cauliflower cooking water)
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted in warm water
For serving: 1 TB toasted pine nuts* and shiitake bacon (recipe below)
1. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
2. In a large saucepan, add cauliflower, garlic, bay leaf and about 2 inches of water.
3. Bring to a boil, cover and cook until cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes. remove the cauliflower and garlic from the water and allow to cool.
4. Add the cooled cauliflower, garlic, nutritional yeast, chickpea miso, spices, liquid to a blender and blend until smooth.
5. Add sauce to pasta, along with zucchini and peas. Serve topped with and shiitake bacon and extra nutritional yeast.
*note: I prefer to dry-toast pine nuts in a heated Staub skillet, while watching closely and stirring regularly. This should take about 5-10 minutes.
8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced about 1/4 inch thick.
1 TB avocado oil
1 tsp coconut aminos (or sub tamari)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Toss mushrooms with oil and coconut aminos and coat evenly. Add smoked paprika and toss to combine. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes.
3. Bake in oven on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 20 minutes. Check for doneness and be careful not to burn.
4. Enjoy as a garnish on your mac 'n cheese, in a salad, with scrambled tofu. Leftovers keep in fridge for up to one week.
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