Recipe Review: Cauli-power Fettuccine “Alfredo”

As I breifly mentioned in my last post, I’ve made some changes to my diet, which include lowering my daily fat intake. So, when I saw Angela’s recipe for alfredo sauce made with cauliflower come through my in-box, I was all about it!

As luck would have it, Whole Foods had organic cauliflower on sale, so I picked up a couple of heads and Cauli-power Fettuccine Alfredo was moved to the top of the dinner menu.

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I’ve been using corn pasta, or a combo of corn and some other gluten-free grains, and I’ve been pretty happy with the outcome. The taste is good; the texture is good, and I don’t feel all vibratey after eating a big ol’ bowl of pasta like I do when I eat regular semolina pasta. So, for this recipe, I used the pasta I had in the pantry, which was a bag of rigatoncini. I figured that shape and style would work fine with this sauce because of the lines – and I was right. Woot!

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I was a little worried the sauce would come out watery because of my previous attempts at using cauliflower in sauces and soups. (Hello. How do people think mashed cauliflower tastes anything like my beloved mashed potatoes?!) But, surprise surprise, the sauce was super thick and creamy and delicious!

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I ended up adding a little extra nutritional yeast (because I always do), and I waited to add any salt until the individual servings. (I’m making a conscious effort to reduce my sodium intake.) I also skipped the sauteed onions (If you keep them in, please try sauteing them with water, not oil.) and just added granulated garlic and onion powder to the mix. And, I had plain soy milk open already, so I used that for the non-dairy milk. I think using a thicker non-dairy milk like soy or hemp is probably a good idea, although Angela used almond milk.

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I also added some broccoli to my dish. I just tossed in w/ the pasta as it cooked, and eight minutes later, they were both done. Yummy add for no extra work! (Well, except for the little bit of chopping required to get the broccoli florettes off their stems.)

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Other than those few tweaks, I followed the recipe exactly. I even  followed the suggested order of boiling the cauliflower first then making the sauce and letting it sit while I boiled the pasta and broccoli. After I drained the pasta/broccoli mix, I added it back to the hot pan on the still warm burner and poured in the sauce, stirred, and ate!

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I will definitely make this recipe again! One thing I will keep in mind, though, is the sauce really soaks into the pasta as it sits, so the next day, the pasta is a bit mushy, and the sauce is even more bland. I ground on a bit more salt and plowed through my next-day plate, but I kept wishing I’d added some fresh tomatoes or onions or something to brighten it up. (My husband thought adding a little bit of non-dairy milk might help revive things a bit, but I’d already eaten all of the left-overs before he suggested it. Ha!)

 

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Raw Tabouli Salad

Using cauliflower instead of rice is a super secret – that’s not so secret anymore!

I recently made Amber’s Raw Rice Pilaf from Practically Raw, which uses cauliflower and almonds to simulate the rice part of the pilaf. Delicious! I used the left-overs to make almost raw avocado sushi rolls! (They were almost raw because my nori sheets were toasted.)

I spread the raw rice mixture out on the nori sheet, flattened it down with the back of a spoon, added sliced avocado, and rolled tightly. I didn’t use a bamboo rolling mat, which I actually own (thanks to my friend Ellen – who not-so-secretly wants me to use it to make her some avocado sushi – ha!), but I can’t quite remember where I put it. I know it’s safely out of the way – but I can’t remember where that is :-/ Don’t you hate that?!

Regardless, the sushi rolls were amazing. Great first attempt at home made sushi!

Before I tried the raw rice pilaf, I riced some cauliflower and used it in place of Bulgar in some raw, oil free tabouli.

Raw Tabouli Salad

1 head cauliflower, riced (chopped small and processed in food processor until resembles rice)

1 bunch parsley, chopped (curly or flat leaf)

2 tomatoes, seeded and diced

2-4 green onions, minced

1/4 c match stick carrots, chopped

2 celery ribs, diced

4 lg radishes, sliced thinly

1/4-1/2 bell pepper (any color)

1 c chopped greens (chard, kale, spinach, lettuce, etc)

Dressing

1/4 c soy sauce (or tamari, Braggs liquid aminos, coconut aminos, nama shoyu to keep it raw)

1 TBSP curry powder (less for less spice, more for more spice)

1/4 c fresh lemon juice (about 2 juicy lemons) OR ACV

1 TBSP granulated garlic/garlic powder OR 1 tsp fresh garlic, minced

Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Combine dressing ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Add to salad and toss to combine. Flavors meld over time, so try to allow a few hours before eating. (I usually make mine the day before I plan to eat it.) If the salad is too dry, make a little more dressing, or just add a splash of soy sauce. Additionally, if you don’t mind, you may choose to add a little olive oil. (Sometimes, when I eat a bowl of this salad, I add half of a diced avocado, which makes the salad feel a little more like a meal. )

Don’t be afraid to add your own mix of veggies. Stick to traditionally tabouli veggies or go crazy! Sometimes I add raw or frozen peas to up the protein, fresh (raw) corn for added sweetness, or sliced broccoli crows (just the nibbins) for added everything.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Sunday was clean out the fridge day, and since I’d been eating high raw all week, the only thing in there that needed to go was some cauliflower that somehow got hidden in the crisper. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it until I remember the one butternut squash I had chillin in the basement pantry. And soup was born.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash

1 head cauliflower

1 box (about 4 c) veggie broth

1 med onion, minced

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

4 med carrots, chopped (about 1 c)

Salt & Pepper

Roast butternut squash. (I precook my squash in the microwave, whole, for a few minutes, so they’re easier to cut. Then, I lay them cut side down, without scooping the seeds, on a foil-lined cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. I roast the squash on 425F for 45-60 minutes – depending on the size of the squash – until it’s fork-tender. As soon as I pull it out of the oven, I use two forks to flip the squash over and scrape out the seeds. This is the easiest method I’ve found yet for cooking squash.)

Boil cauliflower in broth in a soup pot with the lid on. Boil until the cauliflower is very tender. Remove from heat.

While the cauliflower is boiling, saute onions, garlic, and carrots until tender. (I don’t use anything to saute with if I use a non-stick skillet. The natural water from the veggies will release and help them from not sticking.)

Add squash to cauliflower and puree with an immersion blender (or add in batches to a blender). Blend until desired consistency is reached. I left mine a little rustic. Add sautéed veggies and seasonings. Stir to combine.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup...with a secret ingredient!

I didn’t run the numbers on this, but I’m guessing it’s pretty low cal. Mine made three servings, which will feed me for the work-week. Not bad for cleaning out the fridge 😉

Cauliflower Fried Rice

I’ve been reading all over the net about cauliflower being used as a rice substitute, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I’m not the biggest cauliflower fan, so I was a little reluctant, but as with my “cream” based soups and lower carb mashed potatoes, cauliflower did it again – in a good way!

Cauliflower Fried Rice

2 med heads of cauliflower, riced

2 cups mixed veggies

1 c onion, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic

3-4 TBSP soy sauce

1 TBSP toasted sesame oil*

seasonings: salt, pepper, etc – to taste
“Rice” the cauliflower in a food processor – pulse until looks like tiny grains of rice.

Sautee onions and garlic in sesame oil on medium heat until translucent. Add cauliflower and cook another 5 or so minutes. Add frozen mixed veggies and cover pan. Cook until veggies thawed and cauliflower has cooked down. Add soy sauce and stir to combine. Cook without lid until liquid evaporates from bottom of pan.

Makes 4 one-two cup servings.

*I’m going to try “frying” the cauliflower in veggie broth next time and use the sesame oil as a flavor enhancer – or even leave it out. It didn’t add that much to the dish.

Click here for nutrition information.

Cauliflower Fried Rice

I was surprised by the butter flavor of this dish when reheated. It was almost more flavorful the second day.

 
Let me know what you think!
 
I’m sharing this recipe at DDD’s Wellness Weekends.

Vegan MOFO Day 5: Vegetable Chowder

So…Vegan MOFO has been charging along, and where have I been? Apparently, not participating like I’d planed 😦 But I’m going to make up for it. I promise!

Before our trip to Tennessee, Mr. M and  I visited our favorite farm stand and picked up a GIANT head of cauliflower.

The Cauliflower is as Big as my Head!

One of my favorite ways to use cauliflower is to make vegetable chowder. It’s a very simple recipe, and it is delicious. It’s so delicious, in fact, that we ate is so fast, I forgot to take a picture. Ooops! (I didn’t mind not having any soup left to photograph, though, because Mr. M ate two bowls! That’s a huge compliment.)

Vegetable Chowder

1 lg head cauliflower

3-5 lbs potatoes (about the same volume as cauliflower)

4 – 6 c vegetable broth, water, or combo

1 med. onion, diced

3 lg carrots, diced or sliced

2 stalks celery, diced

salt, pepper, garlic powder (to taste)

Clean and chop cauliflower and potatoes to about the same size. Boil in large pot with enough water to cover vegetables. Boil until very tender. (Cover with a lid for quicker cooking.) Once tender, drain cauliflower and potatoes. Return half of mixture to large pot. Add vegetable broth and/or water. Blend mixture until smooth with immersion blender (or blend in food processor or stand blender before returning the veggies to the stove). Add reserved potato/cauliflower, carrots, celery, onion and seasonings to blended veggie mix. Bring to a boil, cover pot, reduce to a simmer, and cook until veggies are tender. Stir every 15 minutes or so.

*Sauteing the not-boiled veggies before adding them to the soup base will greatly decrease cooking time.

I’ve made a lot of different variations of this soup by adding different vegetables. I love adding broccoli, but Mr. M is weirded out by the green color because has a tendency to turn the entire mixture green. (Ooohhh….St. Patty’s Day idea?!) I’ve also had a lot of luck with adding mushrooms and minced, fresh garlic instead of garlic powder.

Side note: I haven’t had much luck freezing this soup. The cauliflower or the potatoes (I’m not sure which one) don’t thaw well and change the texture. The flavor is preserved, but I find the grainy-ness of the soup base unpleasant.

UPDATE: After I posted this yesterday, I couldn’t help but make it for dinner again. And, this time, I took a picture before we gobbled it all up 🙂

Comfort in a Bowl