One of my favourite meals to make in the kitchen is risotto. I actually don’t mind the laborious process, it’s quite meditative and helps slow you down. A little splash of water, a stir, a sip of wine – so relaxing! But it’s just not realistic on a weeknight when time is limited and there’s a lot going on (and you’ve been fighting a cold!). I had heard about people using cauliflower as risotto, which is not only super quick, but also so much more nutritious. It turned out so well, and unlike typical risotto which leaves you feeling a little guilty and heavy, this is incredibly satisfying, yet light and fresh. We had our risotto with a side of roasted asparagus (chopping it and stirring it in is also an option) but you can easily adapt this risotto with ingredients you have on hand; add mushrooms, peas, tomatoes, basil, or other veggies and herbs you may be craving.
- 1 head of cauliflower, chopped to small rice-like pieces in a food processor
- 2 cups spinach, chopped
- 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add garlic, onion and thyme and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant.
- Add beans, vegetable broth (and nutritional yeast if you are using it, gives a slight cheesy flavour) into the pot, stir, and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Using an immersion (handheld) blender, blend the ingredients to a creamy consistency.
- Add cauliflower and spinach, stir. Cover with a lid and allow to cook for 10 minutes.
- Stir, spoon into bowls and garnish with toasted pine nuts.
I am way too excited about this recipe. I have entered a time machine and gone back to my childhood. The only difference is, I’m not eating yellow #5 and #6. And it doesn’t come out of a box. Even if you’re not buying Kraft Dinner, homemade versions of mac and cheese are usually loaded with butter, cheese and other unhealthy ingredients. This mac and cheese is 100% vegan and so healthy! I’m just smiling ear to ear knowing what I used to make it, and seeing how much my family loved it. I think you’re all going to love this one just as much as we did.
The cheese in this recipe is a combination of roasted sweet potato, mustard and nutritional yeast. The result is a nostalgic mac and cheese with a grown up edge and a rich, creamy, and satisfying dish! My son pushed the mushrooms aside, but I couldn’t resist them.
Roasted Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese
For the mac and cheese:
- 500 grams gluten-free elbow macaroni
- 2 sweet potatoes (about 3 cups), cubed
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of your choice)
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1 teaspoon tamari (or regular soy sauce)
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling
- 1 teaspoon sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- For garnish: a handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
For the mushrooms:
- 8 ounces mushrooms, washed and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Place sweet potato cubes onto lightly greased baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Place in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until tender, turning once half way through.
- In the meanwhile, boil your pasta according to packaging instructions. Drain and place pasta back in the pot.
- In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, dijon, garlic powder, chili flakes, nutritional yeast, olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In a small pan, sauté mushrooms in oil on medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Remove sweet potatoes from oven (don’t turn off the heat) and add sweet potatoes to the bowl with all your seasonings and almond milk. Mash well, combining all ingredients. Don’t worry if you have a few clumps. If the mixture is a little too thick, add another splash of almond milk.
- Add macaroni noodles to the bowl, and fold all ingredients together. Spoon all into a casserole dish, top with mushrooms and place in the oven for 10 minutes.
Remove and sprinkle freshly chopped parsley overtop. Dig in!
I’ll start by saying that this is not ideally something that you would cook up like I did on a weeknight after work. It’s best done on the weekend, in big batches, and reheated throughout the week for a super delicious, hearty, vegan chili. I say this because the cooking time is a little long, and the longer it cooks, the better it tastes. So squeeze it into your weekend plans instead, k?
The second thing I must tell you about this chili is that it is most definitely the best vegan chili I’ve had. My husband was skeptical, kind of bored of the idea of beans, but the addition of bulgur gives the chili a fabulous texture. This recipe was created because we all needed a little bit of warming. With temperatures close to -35ºC in Montreal, we needed some heat! And heat we got! My son is used to spicy food, so he enjoyed this, but you can always use less jalapeño to satisfy the whole family if they’re not used to the heat.
Spicy Bulgur Chili Recipe
Makes 12 servings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 2 cups shredded carrot
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
- 10 fresh plum tomatoes, diced
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed, drained
- 2 15-ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed, drained
- 1 cup bulgur
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
- Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and jalapeño and sauté, stirring often, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
- Add the bulgur, chili powder, and cumin and stir until well combined.
- Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. If you find it too thick, add a splash of water.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a sprinkling of cilantro.