Veg-Centric Entertaining: Cauliflower No Mac No Cheese and Tabbouleh

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.

Cauliflower Mac N Cheese and TabboulehI 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.

Toddler Dinner-Cauliflower Mac N Cheese and TabboulehI 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 MNC Ingredients

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

Cauliflower Mac N CheeseCooking Method

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 IngredientsTabbouleh (serves 4)

1 cup Bulgur* I like Bob’s Red Mill

1 1/2 Cucumbers

5 tomatoes

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

Tabbouleh- Serves 4Cooking Method

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

I used a few recipes to reference: Vegetarian Times Cauliflower Mac and Cheese and Epicurious‘ Lebanese Tabbouleh recipe, along with the method on the package of bulgur. The VT Mac and Cheese recipe had comments about it being too wet. I would wager that was due to not using the nutritional yeast, but just in case I did not steam the cauliflower. I decided to roast the cauliflower on the convection setting, which dries them out. I also opted to dress the cooked cauliflower in the cheese sauce in order to avoid baking it as a casserole. That was also a strategic move to avoid the eggs and breadcrumbs in the original recipe.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: