amy chaplin

celebrating the art of eating well

The best cauliflower bake you’ll ever eat.

POSTED ON January 27, 2015

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I know the title is a little presumptuous but this bake really is kind of amazing. I’ve made it three times recently and the response to each was nothing short of ecstatic.  Now I’ll tell you why: Something magical happens when cauliflower is whipped into a smooth puree with cashew milk and nutritional yeast before being baked. The consistency and flavor is surprisingly good for such a simple method and so few ingredients; the result is the kind of comforting creaminess that I think most of us crave, especially in winter.

But, it isn’t just the delicious creamy top that makes this bake so unbelievably flavorful, the vegetable layer is also satisfying and scrumptious in its own right. Made with a mix of savory root vegetables, including Jerusalem artichokes, parsnip and fennel that are roasted and combined with leeks and greens and seasoned with grainy mustard. The combination of these two layers cooked in the oven until golden and bubbling make for a perfect winter meal, and with the snow swirling around outside it is exactly what I want to eat right now. When you read through the recipe you’ll also notice that it contains no grains or beans. It’s the root vegetables that give it plenty of body and although it is deeply satisfying, it really doesn’t weigh you down. Of course you could stir in some white beans or French lentils to give it more protein, but first I suggest trying it as it is, an all vegetable feast!

If you make it, please do let me know how you like it!

Amy x

Ps.

For anyone in the New York area I’ll be signing books at a cookbook tasting event this Saturday January 31st from 4 to 5pm at Powerhouse on 8th in Park Slope Brooklyn. I would love to see you if you can make it. More details here. And there’s a link to a easy dessert recipe at the bottom of this post!

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Photos by Stephen Johnson

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If you have room for dessert, head over to Healthy Eats for the recipe for this mocha hazelnut chia pudding 

The best cauliflower bake you’ll ever eat.

You don’t have to be exact about what vegetables you use and of course its fine to use more of one than the other. I found that I need about 8 to 9 cups total chopped vegetables.

Serves 6 to 8 (makes one 12 by 8-inch bake)

Filling:

1 large bulb fennel, cored and cut into ¾ inch dice

1 stalk celery, cut into ¾ inch dice

2 large parsnips, cut into ¾ inch dice

2 medium carrots, cut into ¾ inch dice

6 med to large Jerusalem artichokes, cut into ¾ inch dice

½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 large onion, diced

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 whole leek, diced

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme

¾ cup filtered water

4 cups chopped Swiss chard, stems removed or kale

1 tablespoon arrowroot dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon tamari

½ teaspoon umeboshi vinegar

Black pepper

 

Topping

¾ cup raw cashews, soaked in 2 cups water for 2 to 4 hours

¾ cup filtered water

1 large head cauliflower, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

5 tablespoons nutritional yeast

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Black pepper

Sea salt

Make the filling:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine fennel, celery, parsnips, carrots and artichokes in a large bowl. Add salt and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and toss to combine. Divide mixture between 2 large (ceramic or glass) baking dishes, ideally 8 by 12 inches but use what you have. Cover with parchment paper and foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until vegetables are beginning to soften. Remove cover, stir and roast for another 20 minutes or until browning and just cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside. Leave oven on.

Meanwhile warm remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat, add onion and sauté until browning, reduce heat to low and cook another 8 to 10 minutes until caramelized. Add garlic, leek and thyme; increase heat to medium and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more. Stir in water and chard, and cook until beginning to wilt. Once mixture simmers, drizzle in arrowroot mixture and stir well until mixture becomes glossy. Remove from heat. Add all the vegetables to one baking dish, stir in chard mixture, mustard, tamari and ume vinegar. Add black pepper to taste and more salt if needed. Mix should taste delicious. Smooth out vegetables, gently pressing them down to create a flat surface.

Make the topping:

Drain and rinse cashews, place in an upright blender and blend until smooth; set aside.

Steam cauliflower until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Place in a food processor along with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, a pinch of salt and black pepper and blended cashew milk. Blend until completely smooth and fluffy, taste for seasoning then pour over vegetables. Smooth out top and drizzle with remaining tablespoon olive oil and scatter with cracked pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until top is golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.


POSTED IN Gluten free, Mains




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38 Comments:

  • Fabulous! I can’t wait to try it 🙂
    Ps : love your book

  • Emily says:

    Really looking forward to trying this recipe. My husband bought me your book for Christmas and so far I have cooked 10 of your recipes and we LOVE them all! Thank you for such inspirational and delicious cooking!

  • Lauren says:

    Looks incredible, can’t wait to try this one, Amy!

  • chelsea says:

    so excited to make this! i love your recipes

  • Michele says:

    Thank you got the lovely cauliflower recipe! Your cookbook is already a favorite of mine! The recipes are easy to follow and delicious! The photos are beautiful too! Thank you!

  • Natalia says:

    Love it! Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables so I can’t wait to try it! Thank you!

  • Cindy Vaughn says:

    Thank you Amy – looks fabulous! I plan to cook my way through your book! Love it!

  • This does look like the best cauliflower bake I’ll ever eat, and I’m anxious to make it soon. Thanks for a great winter casserole recipe, Amy!

  • Tana says:

    Sounds wonderful! How do you print out the recipe?

  • Tuulia says:

    Aahh, this looks delicious! I’ve been looking for new ways to use cauliflower, thank you for the inspiration!

  • Valerie Trucchia says:

    I was on my way to the kitchen to cook diner when I received your newsletter with the recipe. I was so inspired by it that I decided to make it immediately with whatever I had at the house – it was the evening of the big snow storm in New York. I had a bunch of root s vegetables, a leek, shiitake mushrooms, some already cooked French lentils with kohlrabi and carrots, and just half of a cauliflower. It was so delicious and perfect for a winter meal that I want to do it again and try many more variations. Thank you Amy for all the innovative inspirations you bring into the kitchen, you are changing my world.
    PS: I’m having the leftover for lunch with kabocha nishime and your book open next to me on the table.

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Hi Valerie,

      So happy to hear this and your version sounds delicious! Its works with so many different variations and flavors. Thank you so much for writing, I am thrilled and honored to think that my book is helping you change your corner of the world! Happy cooking!

      Amy x

  • So I renamed it ‘cauliflower mash vegetable sheperd’s pie’ for my pinterest food board, but so intrigued!

  • Sophie says:

    I’m sitting here in Sydney now wishing it was cooler so I can make this! Will add it to my winter board… I, too, am loving your book – made quite a few things from it already and page corners are dog eared for future reference. Thank you!

  • Sally-Ann Webb says:

    Hi Amy, this looks delicious. Cant wait to try it. I realise that I can halve the recipe to make for one, but I love to save time when cooking and was wondering if you could freeze it okay? Thanks 🙂

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Hi Sally-Ann, I haven’t tried freezing it but it should work. I imagaine the top might be softer after freezing. I would freeze it after topping then bake it when you’re ready to eat it. Please let me know how it goes!
      Amy x

      • Sally-Ann Webb says:

        That sounds like a primo idea, to bake after freezing. Will try that and let you know how it goes. Thank you so much x

  • Geri L says:

    I made the Cauliflower Bake this am. I used my fridge contents….broccoli, carrots, brussel sprouts, and of course the swiss chard, etc. I agree that adding a savory ingredient or two would enhance the overall flavor. Really impressive looking when it emerged from the oven and equally impressive for a luncheon with a salad. The cauliflower topping was a great alternative to dairy. Also love the Chia Vanilla Pudding, Amy. Thanks your sharing your creations in this beautiful book.

  • Nik says:

    Amy – You so rarely use superlatives that when you called this dish “best ever” I knew I had to make it. We just had it for dinner and it was SO. GOOD. despite my best effort to ruin it: After putting the casserole in the oven I turned around and realized the cashew cream was still on the counter. Argh! It still turned out beautifully (so even people allergic to nuts should give it a try!) and I can imagine it would be even richer and creamier with the cashew. A small observation: In the instructions you say to blend the cashew but you should add that 3/4 cup water, right? That’s what I did and the texture looked just like your picture. Thank you for another excellent recipe – this one should go in your next book 🙂

  • Emily says:

    I just made this and it was a huge hit – the topping was light and fluffy and veggies underneath had so much flavour – ideal for freezing weather here in London

  • Ann Van Gampelaere says:

    Hello Amy,
    I am a housekeeper for two lovely men and the most important part of my job is the cooking. They want fresh and healthy food. I just made the cauliflower bake and they LOVE it. It’s sooo delicious. I just bouhgt your book and I can’t wait to try it out. I live in Belgium and I think it’s magical that with modern technologie I can enjoy your knowledge and recipes. Thank you so much for sharing.
    Love,
    Ann

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Hi Ann,

      Thank you for your message. Its so nice to here that you’re making my recipes and they are being enjoyed in Belgium….you;re right it is kind of magical.
      Looking forward to hearing how you like the book!

      Happy cooking,
      Amy x

  • alwayshungry says:

    Hi Amy,
    Just a little wave from the south of France to say that I made this last night and I loved it!
    I keeped the recipe pretty close to yours. Had to swape a few ingredients but I did keep it totally veggie 😉 Just so you know it can be made over the span of a couple days, I didn’t have much time for cooking so I roasted, sauteed, steemed, blended and baked when I could. I have a lot leftover so I’ll be freezing it, I’ll let you know how it turns out. 🙂

  • Monica says:

    Hi, Amy,

    First, thanks so much for your incredible book! I just purchased it and have been reading it all weekend. I made your pumpkin bread this morning for breakfast and it was absolutely divine.
    Second, a quick Q about the recipe above, which I’m anxious to try: In making the topping, after draining the cashews, are they blended with the 3/4 c filtered water?
    Thanks so much for your sharing your culinary knowledge. It’s so refreshing to finally have a beautiful cookbook that embodies how so many of us want to eat and live. Not to be greedy or anything, but please write another! 🙂

    Cheers,
    Monica

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Yes they are. You create a nut milk to blend with the steamed cauliflower. Lately I have done it all in the vitazmix (if you have one) and used the stirrer to keep it moving. Thanks for your very kind words about my book. I’m so thrilled to hear you like it! Hopefully I’ll write another…it was hard to fit everything into one book!
      Amy x

  • Louise says:

    Hi Amy
    Wow I’ve just read your article in the Guardian today and I have to say, that was one of the best things I’ve ever bought! I have tummy problems and have to heavily restrict my diet and it’s a struggle to keep it interesting and stop my self from going off track with cravings for foods I just can’t digest. My restrictions are wheat, dairy, sugar, eggs, yeast and a number of other randoms such as broccoli, cabbage, sprouts and kidney beans! Reading your recipes has given me a new motivation and with the almond milks, cashew butters etc, I can now enjoy those rich, creamy sauces and dips that are truly missed in my current diet – thank you! Just one question – I can’t eat yeast so can I just leave it out of the cauliflower bake or anything I can replace with please? Lou x

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Hi Louise,

      I’m so happy to hear! You could leave the nutritional yeast out and just season it to taste, it does give a lovely umami flavor but you could add tamari if you’re allowed it. Let me know how it goes!

      Amy x

  • Louise says:

    Ooh I should also ask… You use a lot of ingredients that aren’t sold in your average supermarket – any advice on the easiest place to go that you mostly shop in without going to lots of specialists please?

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Hi Louis,
      Not sure if you have my book that there is a resource in the back (if you;re in the US). Otherwise most healthfood stores have the ingredients or you can order them online.

      Happy cooking!
      Amy.

      • Louise says:

        Thank you, you’re a true inspiration, I’m off to buy your book today and source the ingridients and start cooking! I’m in the UK but travelling to NY in two weeks so can pick anything I can’t find here. Have a great rest of your weekend! x

  • Louise says:

    Argh your book doesn’t launch in the UK until June… Gutted. Good job i’m visiting NY in April, I’ll be sure to grab a copy! Until then, I’ll use the recipes on your website, blogs and facebook! x

  • Eleftheria says:

    Hi Amy,

    I baked this “cauliflouer bake” for today’s dinner and it turned out amazing! What a lovely recipe! And the cauliflower is sweet and perfect! Thanks very much for this and all the other recipes of yours! They are always tasty and imaginative!

    Good afternoon!
    Eleftheria, Athens – Greece

  • Brooke says:

    Wow. I made this tonight (it’s summer, but it was a chilly, rainy day where I’m at) and I already can’t wait to make it again. I didn’t have every ingredient and did my best cooking while taking care of my 4 month old, but despite those setbacks it still came out incredibly delicious. Bravo and thanks for sharing.

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