Every Monday we have our friends over for dinner. I used to make steak or shrimp, until my husband’s cholesterol was a concern. Now we eat plant-based food with an occasional cheese plate (Humbolt Fog and some triple-crème, almonds, and strawberries and apples instead of honey and fig jam). This week I made a former favorite, Cauliflower Mac and Cheese, and a great stand-by, Tabbouleh.
I wouldn’t say that Tabbouleh necessarily goes with Mac and Cheese, but I had everything on hand to make it and it seemed more exciting than just a plain-old side salad. I served the tabbouleh over a bed of red leaf lettuce and mesclun greens from our outdoor planter. The recipe was great, but I think it could use even more lemon juice. Drizzling some premium olive oil on top was key–love those mono-unsaturated fats.
The Vegetarian Times Cauliflower Mac recipe used to be a favorite as-is, but I can’t believe I ever ate that much cheese in a day, let alone a single meal! I did still use butter in my No Mac No Cheese recipe because I wasn’t sure if olive oil could make a roux. Since this meal was for guests I didn’t want to go too far in the realm of experimentation–I want them to come back for dinner next week, after all! I referenced my handy wine pairing tea towels and roasted veggies and cheddar cheese flavors both go best with Cabernet and Chardonnay. We had Simi Cab and Varner Chard.
I was very nervous to feed this to omnivorous friends! They loved it and said it was better than actual macaroni and cheese. Baby B loved it, too. BTW, her adorable Tie Dyed T-shirt has a tiny Buddha on it and it says I’m Here to Teach You Patience. True.
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese (serves 8)
3 Tablespoons butter
1/4 Cup flour
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 cups Unsweetened Almond Milk
2 heads Cauliflower, broken into small, bite-sized florets
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Cup nutritional Yeast
A Pinch of Cayenne
1 Tablespoon Herb D’Provence, pinched to release the oils and flavor
Heat oven to 400′
Toss cauliflower in the olive oil and spread evenly on two baking sheets covered in parchment paper. Check on the cauliflower after 15 minutes and move it around so that it cooks evenly. Cook another 15 minutes until golden.
Meanwhile, create a roux by melting butter on medium heat and then whisking in the flour. Whisk about a minute, to get the raw flavor out of the flour.
Create Béchamel sauce by adding unsweetened almond milk and garlic to roux. Whisk until combined. Keep stirring for 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
Remove from the heat and add the nutritional yeast and herbs.
Combine with cauliflower.
The sauce will be thick (if you prefer thinner sauce, add almond milk one tablespoon at a time until the consistency is right)
Tabbouleh (serves 4)
1 cup Bulgur* I like Bob’s Red Mill
1 1/2 Cucumbers
2 Cups Parsley
Other Fresh Herbs- I used oregano, but the recipe usually calls for Mint
3 Green Onions
Salt and Pepper
1/3 Cup FreshLemon Juice
1/4 Cup High Quality Olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Cut, Seed, and Dice the Tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and wrap in paper towels. Set on top of a kitchen towel to drain some liquid from them
Boil 1 Cup water. Add 1 cup Bulgur to the boiling water. Remove from heat and let absorb water for an hour
Halve, seed, and dice cucumbers
Cut green onions thinly
Chop Parsley, I used the mezzaluna as pictured
Combine all veggies
Combine lemon juice, salt and pepper and cumin and whisk in olive oil
Once it has cooked, add the cooked bulgur to veggies and add lemon-dressing
Chill before serving