I'm one of those mums that likes to hide veggies in almost anything I can. I suppose hide may not be the right word since Miss E and Miss A are always helping me cook but they are much more likely to eat cauliflower if it's hidden in pasta sauce or sweet potato if it's in a pancake. The first version of this pasta sauce came about because I bought 2 huge cauliflowers for $3 at our local farmers market. I couldn't pass up a bargain like that but then I was stuck with a whole heap of cauliflower I had to use. So then came some experimenting and our Easy Cheesy Pasta.
The recipe calls for nutritional yeast, please don't be scared off by that unappealing name. I was put off from using it for a long time because really nutritional yeast does not sound appealing at all. Eventually I gave in and tried it. Let me say I was annoyed that I'd put off tasting this awesomeness (lets pretend that's a real word). The taste is hard to explain, it's somewhere between a cheesy and nutty flavour.
Okay so enough with the babble and on to talking about the recipe! Start by steaming the vegetables until tender. This took me about 20 minutes in my very overloaded steamer. I was doing a quadruple batch, so that's a lot of veggies to steam. When it's done steaming I usually use that same water to cook my pasta. Tonight we used rice pasta. It's gluten free, organic, had no egg, dairy, corn, soy, additives or preservatives. Plus it was on sale at my local IGA, which is always a bonus.
Tim and the girls eat meat so usually they have chicken or bacon added to their mix so now I put that onto cook. While the meat and pasta are cooking I fry off my onion and garlic (if using) and then add the coconut milk and nutritional yeast. If you are adding cheese to your mix you would add that at this point too. Then I add the vegetables and blitz it all up using my stick blender. At this point the pasta is usually ready so I drain that, add it to the pan with the sauce, mix it through. Then I add the meat (if using) top with spring onion and it's done!
Safe pasta of your choice, cooked according to packet
2 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
1 tablespoon of oil (we used coconut oil)
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 small onion diced
aprox 1/2 cup coconut milk (or safe milk alternative)
2 to 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
Spring onion (optional)
1/2 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Steam cauliflower tender. Set aside
2. Place a medium size saucepan on a medium heat. Add oil and fry off garlic and onion until soft.
3. Add coconut milk, nutritional yeast then using a stick blender, food processor or blender, blitz the cauliflower and coconut milk mixtures together until smooth. If the sauce seems too thick you can add more milk a little at a time.
5. Return to stove and heat through. Add chives, salt and pepper to taste.
6. Mix pasta through sauce and serve. Top with spring onion, (optional)
- Add cooked bacon or chicken in step 6. (Adding bacon is a hit with Tim!)
- Reduce cauliflower to 2 cups. Add 1/2 cup of pumpkin.
- Reduce cauliflower to 2 cups. Add 1/2 cup pumpkin and 1 zucchini
- Replace cauliflower with 2 - 3 zucchinis and 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin.
- Add 1/2 a cup of safe cheese (lactose free, vegan, soy etc.) at step 3.
- Replace coconut milk with cream. We have tried lactose free and it makes a delicious creamy texture.
- For low FODMAP version omit garlic and onion. It still tastes great without it. In fact the zucchini and pumpkin option with no garlic and onion is my favourite variation!
I'm sure there are many more variations that can be made too! We have added carrot and mushroom in the past. We've mixed it up with different herbs. My recipes are all about being adjustable to suit your dietary restrictions, tastes and budget.