Today's recipe is creamy, cheesy and gooey. Pluse it is a yummy way of eating lots of wonderfully nutritious cauliflower. I made this yesterday after yoga and I really think I need to do more yoga as I always have so much more energy afterwards and can think really clearly. I was suffering from a case of a bare cupboard yesterday but did have a gorgeous head of organic cauliflower plus some homemade almond milk, so thought I would give a cauliflower gratin a go. I just adore cauliflower. Not boiled and soggy, but roasted or pan fried or in a puree or even raw. Delicious.
A gratin is a French cooking technique where the main ingredient is topped with a combination of bread crumbs, cream, cheese and egg and baked in the oven to achieve a brown crust on top. You might be most familiar with potato gratin which are often served in restaurants. Like most things, you can buy a jar of gratin sauce in the supermarket. I am not sure what ingredients are in a jar of gratin sauce but my guess is that most brands would be quite processed. Of course many homecooks will make their own gratin from scratch using cream and cheese. but what about those of us who want to eat gratin but may not want to eat cheese and cream at the same time. Step forward our friends almond milk and nutritional yeast, which combined with a few other ingredients can make a wonderful cheesey / creamy flavoured sauce. Using nuts, nut butters and nut milks is a really common technique in dairyfree cooking to achieve creaminess. Adding nutritional yeast gives a, hard to replicate, cheesy flavour. Trust me, this might all sound weird, but it tastes pretty good.
Just a note, I used my own homemade almond milk. You can of course use a store bought almond milk, but if doing so, opt for an unsweetened almond milk and try to buy one that is as minimally processed as possible.
1 head of cauliflower, broken into small florets
2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oiil
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1 and a half cups of almond milk
2 tablespoons of spelt wholemeal flour
1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
1 clove of garlic
Sea salt and black pepper to season
1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 / 190 degrees celsius. Place the florets on a baking tray and drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Don't have the florets too close together and if needs be use two baking trays. This is to give the florets plenty of room to roast. Place in the oven for 20 minutes, tossing half way through.
2. Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce by heating a tablespoon of olive oil in a suacepan over a medium heat. Add the onions, turn the heat down and allow to cook for 8 minutes. Add the garlic and allow to cook for a further two minutes. Add the almond milk and flour and continue to heat gently while stirring the sauce until it thickens. This should take about four minutes. Add the nutritional yeast and continue to stir over a low heat until the nutritional yeast has melted into the sauce. Set to one side until the cauliflower is ready.
3. After the cauliflower has been roasting for twenty minutes, remove from the baking tray and place in an oven proof dish. pour the cheese mixture over the cauliflower and toss to ensure the florets are evenly coated. Season well with sea salt and black pepper. Place back in the oven for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.