It’s time for a little healthy comfort food.
Shells and cheese, anyone? How about shells and cheese with a super healthy creamy cauliflower sauce?
It all started when I picked up this beauty at the Farmer’s Market:
I’m so attracted to the bright colors at the Farmer’s Market. I wound up buying this cauliflower, beets, corn, carrots, peppers, heirloom tomatoes, and a huge bunch of flowers. I had to slow down because I couldn’t carry anything else!
I just loved the bright shade of yellow-orange and I knew that I wanted to make something special with it. By the time I got home, I had decided on a plant-based version of mac and cheese. Or in this case, shells and cheese.
It was simple to make this sauce…I just simmered the cauliflower until tender in some vegetable broth and then pureed it using an immersion blender. I added plenty of nutritional yeast and spices to get a nice cheesy flavor. (And bonus, the nutritional yeast also adds a ton of B12, and is a complete protein).
Orange cauliflower does contain lots of anthocyanins and carotenoids which are important for eye health, and are also anti-inflammatory, so if you can find one, grab it! If you can only find white cauliflower, go ahead and make this sauce – it will taste the same, but the color will be different.
- one 16 ounce box of pasta shells (I used gluten free quinoa and corn shells)
- 1 head orange cauliflower, cut into florets
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 3 Tablespoons vegan buttery spread
- ¾ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried mustard powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh parsley
- Prepare the pasta according to package directions.
- Place the cauliflower florets and the onion in a large pot with the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until cauliflower is tender.
- Remove the pot from the heat and puree the vegetables with an immersion blender until very smooth.
- Place the pot back on low heat and stir in the vegan buttery spread, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, white pepper, and mustard powder. Stir until smooth and incorporated. Add the cooked pasta. Stir to combine.
- Serve with more salt and pepper to taste and fresh parsley if desired.
Have you made a creamy cauliflower sauce before? How did you like it?