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Cashew cream sauce and gooey cheesy cauliflower casserole

Cashew cream sauce and gooey cheesy cauliflower casserole

I have a new love and respect for it cashew Cream sauce.

My family of four has been vegan for 11 years. When I first went vegan, I avoided these rich sauces because I assumed all fats were unhealthy.

I have experienced my vegan journey as a learning experience.

For example, I learned from Medical News Today that cashew nuts are healthy in reasonable amounts In fact, there are many reasons to eat cashews.

Yes, they make delicious creamy sauces, but they’re good for you.

Cashews also:

  • contain heart-healthy fats and plant-based protein.
  • provide antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and protect us from disease.
  • have been shown to be beneficial for heart health and help lower blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol.
  • improve the health of the blood vessels, making them more flexible and less prone to blood clots.

Since cashews are also low in sugar and high in fiber, they can help you maintain a healthy weight. They do this by making a person feel full.

Basic cashew cream sauce

Here’s a simple cashew cream sauce that can be used for many different things.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashew’
  • ½ cup of water
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt

Blend until creamy in a high-speed blender such as Vitamix. (If you don’t have a high-speed blender, soak the cashews in water for 2 hours first). Blend first on low and then on high for 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy.

You can freeze in ice cube trays or other containers if needed for readily available portions. You can also store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Here are a few ways you can use cashew cream sauce:

  • Dip: Mix your cream sauce with up to ½ cup of water, add fresh herbs such as dill, parsley, a pinch of lemon zest or lemon juice or other seasonings.
  • Salad dressing: Mix a tablespoon or two of the cashew cream with a splash of vinegar and some herbs.
  • Sauce: Toss with pasta for a delicious, vegan alfredo
  • Soups: Add cream sauce to pureed soups. It gives soups a rich savory quality.
  • Smoothie: Add a few spoonfuls of cream to a smoothie for a creamy texture, added protein and healthy fat.
  • Substitute for canned coconut milk: ½ cup of cashew cream mixed with 1 cup of water. (This is good for cream sauce recipes like curry if you want to avoid the saturated fats in coconut milk). I use this a lot.

Sticky Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole (for 10 persons)

This is a family favourite. It is super quick to assemble and put in the oven. You can use it as a side dish or add meat substitutes for a main course. Make sure to use the tapioca flour as that’s what gives it that gooey consistency.

Ingredients

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces and placed in a 3-quart oiled casserole dish

Sauce ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup vegetable stock (1 cup water/½ tsp “better than stock concentrate”)
  • 2 cup soy milk
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour (no substitutes)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • 1 ¼ tsp. salt
  1. Blend in a high speed blender until smooth. I usually start with the cashews and stock, mix until smooth, then add the rest and mix.

2. Pour into a saucepan and heat, stirring often, until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.

3. Pour the cauliflower into the casserole and stir to coat.

4. Add an optional topping if desired. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, checking for doneness. Cover and brown for about 10 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes to set up.

Optional refill:

  • 1 cup of crushed cornflakes
  • 1-2 tbsp. melted vegan margarine

5. Mix melted margarine with cornflakes and sprinkle on top. Cover with foil as above.

I usually add meat alternatives to make this an all-in-one meal. I’ve successfully added Field Roast smoked apple and sage sausages/diced, browned Beyond Beef, or marinated soy shavings. I’m sure marinated tempeh will be tasty too.

Do what you like! If I’m feeling reckless, I’ll sprinkle a handful of vegan cheddar or even fried onions on top.

Carolyn Howe and her family of four have been vegan since 2011. She is a board member of VCEI and has taught cooking classes at previous VCEI events. Send questions or comments to [email protected] Visit the VCEI website at https://www.veganeasterniowa.org/ or join the group on Facebook and Meetup.