I love pasta bakes – but it has proven difficult to make vegan versions with the same satisfying taste of comfort food. That is, until I found this pasta bake recipe from Izy Hossack. It tastes delicious and has all the warmth and satisfaction of comfort food without being unhealthy! The secret? Cauliflower! Yes, there is a whole head of cauliflower hidden in this recipe! My version below is slightly changed from the original recipe from Izy.
It is a bit of an involved recipe and requires some time but is oh so worth it.
I hope you try it and I hope you love it 🙂
Difficulty level: Confident Cook
Time: 1 hour and 40 minutes (I had the cauliflower pre-cut and washed and also had the kale pre-washed)
Serves: 3 – 4 people
- 1 small head cauliflower, cut into medium florets
- 1 small potato, sliced into about 1 cm slices
- 250g penne pasta
- olive oil
- 2 Tbsp plain flour
- 200ml unsweetened soy milk
- 200ml vegetable stock
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 200g button mushrooms, sliced (not super thinly sliced)
- 6 -7 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 3 cups tightly packed chopped kale
- 4 Tbsp breadcrumbs
- 4 Tbsp vegan parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- a drizzle of olive oil
- Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil over high heat.
- Add the cauliflower and potato to the pot of boiling water and bring back to a boil. Once it is boiling again, lower the heat to simmer and let it simmer for 8 minutes. After 8 minutes, remove the cauliflower and potatoes to a large bowl.
- In the same water (add more water as necessary), add the pasta and let it come to a boil over high heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Drain pasta, mix with some olive oil to prevent it from sticking and set aside.
- Mix together 200 ml of stock and 200 ml of soy milk in a bowl or jug.
- In a medium pot, add 2 tablespoons of flour and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir over low/medium heat and let it cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Then, add the stock and milk mixture gradually, mixing it constantly.
- Once all the liquid is added to the pot, let it come to a simmer and continue to simmer for 2 minutes – stirring frequently to avoid clumps forming.
- Pour the liquid over the bowl of cauliflower and potato, add a tablespoon of dijon mustard and blend it all together using a hand blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I used 1 teaspoon of salt. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 180 C.
- In a medium fying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, garlic and 1 teaspoon of thyme and cook for 6 minutes, uncovered.
- Add the kale to the frying pan, turn heat down to low, cover with a lid and cook for 7 minutes. Remove the lid and set take the frying pan off the heat.
- Now, make the topping: in a small bowl, mix together 4 tablespoons of breadcrumbs, 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme, and 4 tablespoons of vegan parmesan.
- In a medium casserole dish, mix the pasta, mushrooms & kale, and the cauliflower sauce. Mix it well to combine. Sprinkle the topping on top and drizzle with some olive oil.
- Bake in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes until the top is golden brown (darker in some places is absolutely okay).