Tag Archives: spinach

Spicy Mac and Cheese with Cauliflower, Cashew Cheese, and Spinach

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This is a recipe my husband, Rob, and I have been tweaking for awhile. The original recipe was just a basic mac n cheese and we’ve been adding to it to make it healthier as time has gone on. It still has a good amount of regular ol cheese in it, but we have rounded it out with more nutritious ingredients. I haven’t been able to make the leap to the vegan only version of this recipe with no cheese, but this is a big improvement from the original heavy cream and cheese-only versions.

Serves 6-8. Takes about 2 hours.

Ingredients

1 package spiral shaped pasta- roughly 14-16 ounces. I like Barilla Protein Plus as it has an excellent protein content. This time we used trottole since it was what we had around.

1 head cauliflower chopped roughly

1 cup cashew cheese. To make this soak 2 cups cashews in water for at least 2 hours. Then put in food processor with juice of 1/2 lemon, 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, splash of olive oil, and one pinch each salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. You can make this ahead and keep in the fridge until you use it.

4 cups grated cheese. We use a mix of chipotle Gouda and extra sharp white cheddar

2 1/2 cups skim milk

4 large handfuls fresh spinach roughly chopped

EVOO- total a cup for whole recipe

1/4 cup flour

2 cups panko breadcrumbs

1/4 cups Parmesan cheese, grated

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

Spices: crushed red pepper, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper

Directions

Place two large pots of water to boil on the stove. In one cook the pasta until it’s al dente. Take it off, rinse in cold water, and set aside. In the other pot cook the cauliflower until it is just softened.  While these are cooking, heat a sauté pan with a splash of olive oil. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add your chopped spinach and cook down until wilted, about 3 minutes. Take off the heat and set aside.

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When cauliflower can be easily pierced with a fork, remove from heat, drain, and place in food processor. Add a splash of skim milk, a splash of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and blend until smooth. Now add the cashew cheese to the food processor and again blend until smooth.  Place this mixture in a bowl, stir in your wilted spinach, and place bowl in the fridge until later.

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In a bowl, combine breadcrumbs, parsley, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil to coat the crumbs. When well coated place mixture into the sauté pan you used before on medium heat. Toast these while stirring every few minutes, for 10-15 minutes until a nice light brown.  Turn your oven on to 375 to preheat.

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While those are toasting, start your bechamel sauce.  In a large sauce pot stir together 1/4 cup olive oil with 1/4 cup flour to make a roux. A whisk is the best tool to use here. Add your flour gradually while stirring constantly. Don’t leave it unattended.

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Next, slowly add 2 cups of skim milk, stirring continuously throughout. You should end up with a smooth and thick creamy sauce. Now add your cauliflower, cashew, and spinach mixture from the fridge and stir until smoothly blended. Your cheese goes in next, again stirring constantly. Add the spices to the mix- a teaspoon each cayenne, smoked paprika, crushed red pepper. Finally, add up to 1/2 cup milk to thin the sauce to desired consistency.

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Get your pasta and stir into the sauce, coating evenly. Then place in casserole dish and top with breadcrumbs.  Bake for roughly 20 minutes and you are ready to serve!

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This holds up extremely well for leftovers. Just add a touch of milk when you reheat in the microwave.

Pasta with Spinach, Chickpeas, and Burrata

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I bought some wonderful fresh Burrata cheese at the grocery store the other day (right at my regular Kroger store, not at a specialty market!).  I had a couple of recipes in mind when I bought it, but when I found it in my fridge I had gone through all my freshly purchased tomatoes.  It was a rainy and gray day outside, so I had no intention of running out to the store.  I have made a similar pasta with chickpeas and spinach before, so I thought incorporating it into this nice lemony recipe would work out well.  It is a quick dish and the lemon and creamy Burrata really pair well together with the other elements.

Serves 4. Takes 20-30 minutes.

Ingredients

One container of fresh Burrata cheese (A good ricotta cheese or fresh mozzarella could be substituted instead)

One bag of pasta- I used trofie pasta but any small twisted shaped pasta would do

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup olive oil

2-3 large handfuls spinach, roughly chopped

1/2 can chickpeas (15 ounce) drained and rinsed

One handful of toasted nuts- I used pine nuts but almonds would work as well

1 lemon: juice the lemon and set aside juice.  Zest the outside of the lemon and set aside zest.

1 pinch each: salt, pepper, crushed red pepper

Directions

Place a large pot of water to boil.  Cook your pasta until al dente and then drain and rinse in cold water and set aside until later.

On medium heat skillet, Melt butter and add the olive oil.  When heated, add garlic and cook for about one minute, until turning golden.  At this point, add your spinach and chickpeas to the pan. Mix and cook down for 2-3 minutes.

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After your spinach has wilted down, add lemon zest, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and your toasted nuts.  Stir and let cook for another minute. Now get your pasta and add it into the pan.  Coat the pasta with sauce and let sit on low heat.  Add your lemon juice to the pan and mix all together, letting cook for a minute or two.

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Ready to plate and eat!  Just throw a few dollops of that beautiful Burrata on top and stir it up as you go!

** This was adapted from a recipe on Epicurious:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/campanelle-pasta-with-burrata-cheese-spinach-lemon-and-toasted-almonds-231293

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