I know it’s January and we’re all supposed to cleansing and fasting but 2018 started out with two solid weeks of below 0˚F temps and I’m not about to deprive myself of the cozy carby goodness that is pasta. I just can’t get down with that no-carb life. So if you, too, are all about comforting winter meals then this post is for you!
This year I want to post more approachable and easy recipes that working folks and busy families can prepare during the week. Meals that you guys can make over and over and can fit into weekly meal planning if that’s your jam. I’ve had a lot of inquiries about Iley’s lunches (#ileysamazinglunches on instagram) and I want to do a series of posts for packed lunches as well. Let me know if that’s something you are interested in please. To be honest the kid could survive on veggie rolls for breakfast lunch and dinner, but leftovers from dinner are always an easy packed lunch. This creamy cauliflower pasta dish was a lunch winner for example. (He thinks it’s mac ‘n cheese – hehehe – mom tricks ftw!)
I love roasted cauliflower and it’s even better smothered in cream sauce. (Just being honest.) You can use any veggies you want or have on hand. I had leeks that needed to be used up but any kind of onion would work. Mushrooms would be heaven in this. I can see this with kale, roasted carrots, broccoli, lots of possibilities! You can sauté or roast the veggies too. Whatever is easiest for you. I will say though, the roasted garlic cloves really make the sauce, so don’t skip that step!
This sauce is everything, guys really, I couldn’t stop licking the spoon (not proud about that). The roasted red pepper was subtle but gave the sauce such a depth of flavor. Lots of layers of flavor happening here. Here’s a neat gluten free friendly trick to thicken sauces: blend in cooked white rice. It thickens the sauce and creates a rich creamy texture. This is a great option for for folks who can’t eat nuts and do all of the cashew cream sauce recipes you see these days. So save your leftover rice; any white variety like basmati, jasmine, sushi rice, or plain ol’ white will do.
I added chickpeas that I had leftover from making hummus, but, again, you can use any bean or peas you want here. Heck, frozen peas would be amazing in this. Other ideas would be frozen edamame, or cooked white beans like cannellini for example.
Ok and last thing about this recipe… We ate it cold for lunch the next day and it was so good, lol. Jake said it was like pasta salad, although it’s not vinegary. I dunno, but don’t be afraid to eat this cold the next day.
K, that’s it. Hope you love it!
recipe after the jump…
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 3 leeks
- 5 garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 lb. of pasta such as fusilli
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1 recipe of roasted pepper cream sauce - see below
- for Roasted Pepper Cream Sauce
- 1-1/2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk soy, almond, etc.
- 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1/2 cup cooked white rice
- 1 roasted sweet red pepper skin and seeds removed
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1/2 to 1 cup reserved pasta cooking water
- Preheat oven to 425˚F.
- Remove hard woody stems from cauliflower and chop into small florets. Remove outer stalks of leeks and slice into thin rings. Wash sliced leeks thoroughly in a bowl of water and let them float to the top. Scoop leeks out, leaving water and any sediment behind and drain well.
- Toss cauliflower, leeks and garlic cloves with skins on in olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake on a sheet pan for 25-30 minutes until browned and fork tender. Remove garlic cloves to be used in the sauce.
- While veggies are roasting, prepare the sauce. In a blender add milks, cooked rice, roasted red pepper, nutritional yeast, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and blend until smooth and creamy. When garlic is done roasting, remove skins then add it to sauce and puree until smooth.
- Cook pasta al dente in boiling salted water according the package directions.
- While pasta cooks, pour sauce into a large deep-sided skillet and heat on lowest setting, stirring occasionally. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water then drain pasta and add it to the pan. Fold in roasted cauliflower and leeks and chickpeas. Add reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce if necessary.
- Remove from heat and fold in chopped parsley. Optionally garnish with lemon zest and/or toasted pine nuts.
- Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Prop Love: Mahogany board by Jacob Foley Designs. Ceramic shallow bowl by East Fork Pottery. Crystal dish by Facture Goods. Wooden spoon and scoop by Polder’s OWM. Cactus tea towel by Amelie Mancini. Naturally dyed gauze table linen by Nade Studio. Small white ceramic bowl by Lee Wolfe Pottery.