Garlic Cauliflower Mac n Cheese


Serves 4      Prep time 20minutes         Cooking time 20-25 minutes


Macaroni cheese is the ultimate comfort foods. I think it is the silky cheesy sauce for me. It is also one of the most popular searched for vegan recipes online. I wondered if it would still be as indulgently satisfying without the dairy overload that I used to have. I am not a fan of cheese unless it is melted, so cauliflower and macaroni cheese I love, so what could be better than combining the two together and adding another favourite ingredient of mine, soft roasted garlic.

I have seen many recipes for a vegan and gluten-free cheese sauce, but this is my take. I am sticking to the tried and tested roux method of making a cheese sauce. By substituting soya cream for some of the milk definitely adds a touch of richness. There are not many dishes that I can cook for all the family, this is one of the few. When it is finished cooking it should look so inviting, you just want to take a big spoon and dive in before it hits the plates.

Ingredients

  • Half a head of cauliflower florets
  • 225g dried macaroni ( gf or vegan as required)
  • 50g dairy-free butter
  • 3-4  cloves of  garlic, roasted if time allows
  • 3tbsp plain flour
  • 250ml soya or single cream plus 250ml dairy-free milk mixed together
  • 11/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 150g grated cheese of your choice, I used Violife cheddar
  • 25g grated parmesan (optional)

 

Now, I usually roast a few heads of garlic at a time when I have the oven on, as it adds a gorgeous depth of flavour, when added to sauces, dips, dressings or even better mash potato. Here is the link if you wish to roast some whole garlic bulb.

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If wrapped well it can keep for up to two weeks in the fridge and even frozen. It is definitely worth doing if you are a garlic fan. You can use raw minced garlic in this recipe, but I prefer the sweet more mellow flavour you get when roasting it. It does take a while to roast a head of garlic, but you can do a few cloves a lot quicker.

For a few cloves

Place a few unpeeled cloves onto a lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes at 200C. I will not be as soft as roasting the whole bulb, but soft enough for the sauce.

Instructions

If you do not have any roast garlic available, decide if you have time to cook a whole bulb or just a few cloves.

Preheat the oven to 200C

First steam or cook the cauliflower florets seasoned with a little salt until al dente and set aside.

If quick cooking the garlic, follow the instructions as above and leave to cook while you get on with making the sauce.

In a saucepan melt the butter on a low heat and then stir in the flour. Once well mixed together let it cook for 2-3 minutes to cook the flour out.

Take off the heat and whisk in a little of the milk and cream. Once mixed in, keep adding a little at a time, constantly whisking, making sure there are no lumps.

Return to the heat and turn it up higher, keep whisking until it comes to the boil and begins to thicken, then turn it down low. Simmer for a few minutes adding the mustard, nutmeg, nutritional yeast and seasoning.

Remove from the heat and stir in 125g of the cheese, mash the softened garlic and add. Check the seasoning to see if any more needs to be added. If you are satisfied then place to one side.

sauce6

In a large pan of salted boiling water add the macaroni and cook following the packet instructions. Drain away the water,  saving 2tbsp of the cooking water to add to the sauce.

In a casserole dish add the macaroni and cooked cauliflower, pour over the garlic cheese sauce and stir in. Sprinkle on top the remaining cheese and the parmesan if you are using it. Also, I have not included it in the ingredients but you could mix this with some fresh breadcrumbs for added crunch.

Place in a hot oven 200C for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese has melted and golden. Serve with some lovely green vegetable to feel positively virtuous.

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