Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Vegan Creamed Spinach and Roasted Cauliflower Slices


Creamed spinach is one of those things I loved as a vegetarian, and my sister-in-law always used to get a completely decadent version from a gourmet grocery store every year for Christmas. But, it's the type of dish that makes you feel kind of gross afterwords; it's rich, creamy, and delicious going down, but heavy and thick sitting in your stomach. That's not my favorite kind of food; my favorite food is food that makes me feel GOOD after eating it, but that's still delicious and satisfying. So I decided to take that creamed spinach and make it much healthier and vegan!

This vegan creamed spinach has a tofu base, so you can have it as a side or a meal; but it also uses a somewhat "creamy, cheesey" vegan white sauce, so it still tastes a little decadent. I paired it with a version of these "cauliflower steaks," which made for a delicious, healthy meal!

Ingredients:
Serves about 4

Cauliflower slices:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • Lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
Creamed Spinach:
  • 10 oz fresh baby spinach, chopped (2 packages of frozen spinach, thawed and drained, will also work)
  • 1/2 package silken tofu, drained
  • 1/2 of the recipe of this white sauce (to include 2 Tbsp Earth Balance, 2 Tbsp flour, 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast, 1.5 tsp of tahini, 1.5 tsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/8 tsp salt, 1/2 cup plain unsweetened non-dairy milk)
  • 1/2 tsp nutritional yeast flakes (in addition to amount used in white sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp tahini (in addition to amount used in white sauce)
  • 2 Tbsp cashews, soaked in water for 10-30 minutes (the longer you soak them the smoother and more easily they will process)
  •  Salt & pepper to taste
Delicious, healthy vegan creamed spinach

Steps:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. 
  2. Slice the cauliflower into "steaks" - cut the head in half, and then in half again lenghtwise, for long, about 1-2 inch thick pieces to preserve the fanned appearance. You'll have about 4 "steaks" and some leftover florets that kind of fall off when you're cutting, but you can still roast & use the little pieces (they still taste great, they just won't look as impressive!) 
  3. Spray a cookie sheet (or two) with a little non-stick, high heat spray, and place the cauliflower in a  single layer on the sheet(s). Drizzle with about 1 Tbsp of olive oil and spread around with your hands to coat evenly. Sprinkle with lemon-pepper seasoning and place in the oven. Roast for about 15-20 minutes, and then flip, and roast another 15-20 minutes. 
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the white sauce. (You simply melt the butter, add flour, mix, and then add the rest of the white sauce ingredients but the milk. Add in the milk last, in small amounts as you whisk, then allow to thicken as little as you stir.)
  5. Place the tofu in a food processor along with the cashews and additional nutritional yeast and dijon mustard. Add in the white sauce and blend well, until smooth and creamy.
  6. Heat about a tsp of olive oil in a pan, and lightly steam the chopped spinach (if using frozen spinach, thaw first, then place in pan and continue). Add in as much of the cream sauce as desired, and mix gently as you heat. 
  7. Serve with a roasted cauliflower slice on top (and/or mix in some roasted cauliflower florets) and enjoy!

Notes:
I loved this meal! Roasting cauliflower just brings out such an amazing flavor, and if you have it, I highly recommend using the lemon-pepper seasoning (the brand I have is called Sylvia's, though I can't remember where I got it....) When I made it just for myself, I used one 5 ounce package of fresh baby spinach, and otherwise the same amounts as above, but just used about 1/2 of the cream sauce; so doubling the spinach should be just about the right amount for the full cream sauce listed above, though you can always store extra for use on pasta, broccoli, or more spinach later! I have also made this creamed spinach with frozen spinach, but (not surprisingly) prefer the fresh version.

    4 comments:

    1. That looks like just my kind of dish! I also love creamed spinach and roasted cauliflower- just hadn't thought of putting them together. Very tasty!

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    2. i love roasted cauliflower! what a delicious meal!

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    3. I love making a version of this with Swiss Chard- so YUM!

      The Cauliflower Steak is teh perfect tagalong :)

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      Replies
      1. oh chard! why didn't I think of that?!

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