Vegan Cauliflower Nachos with Best Vegan Queso

­Yield: 2 servings

To make these addicting vegan roasted cauliflower nachos, you will need part of a recipe of my amazing Vegan Queso.

I studied a number of recipes, omitting and adding ingredients to suit my palate.  I arrived at something so delicious that I think you might use it to replace whatever your current favorite vegan cheese sauce is.

I know that’s a bold statement, and I know everyones’ palates are different, but even my picky omnivorous guy liked it. And him liking it is equivalent to someone else loving it.

Vegetable cooking spray

One head of cauliflower, trimmed and separated into florets

Sea salt to taste

Ground cumin to taste

Smoked paprika to taste

About 1/2 cup my Vegan Queso

2 tablespoons can of chopped green chilies, drained

Assorted toppings: black beans, drained, pico de gallo, sliced green onions, sliced black olives, vegan sour cream, fresh cilantro sprigs, or whatever you love piled on nachos

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a metal baking sheet with vegetable spray and spread cauliflower out on it in one even layer. Spray cauliflower with vegetable spray and sprinkle lightly with sea salt, cumin, and smoked paprika. Roast for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, stir 2 tablespoons chopped green chilies into 1/2 cup vegan queso, or to taste.  Remove cauliflower from oven, divide between serving dishes, top with queso, return to oven for two to five minutes, carefully remove, place serving dishes on a plate, and top as desired before presenting.

 

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Vegan Beer, Lime, & Chipotle-Roasted Cauliflower Tacos with Spicy Baja Sauce

Cauliflower Tacos--Aerial ViewYield: 6 tacos

In these addicting tacos–seriously, probably a Top 3–I put my own spin on tacos I discovered in Thug Kitchen Cookbook (thanks Dusten Keith for turning me on to this dynamic duo).

Instead of creating a braising liquid and a separate spice rub for roasting the cauliflower and onions, I created one thick marinade that serves as both, and I do actually marinate–rather than braise–the cauliflower and onions before roasting them.

In addition, the Thug Kitchen recipe calls for a cilantro slaw.  I chose instead to use shredded purple cabbage as a topping, along with cilantro and halved grape tomatoes, as build-your-own options because some folks–though it’s hard to believe–don’t care for cilantro.

For creaminess, because I do like a creamy contrast to the chewiness and crunchiness, I added my luscious Baja Sauce, a slightly adapted verison of the sauce that accompanies my Baja Tacos in  The Blooming Platter Cookbook.  This sauce is such a perfect balance of flavors that I like a little both under and over the layers of ingredients in these beauties.

 

Beer, Lime, Chipotle-Roasted Cauliflower (recipe follows)

Baja Sauce (recipe follows)

8-6 to 8-inch whole wheat tortillas at room temperature, wrapped in foil and heated during last 5 minutes of cauliflower roasting

Toppings:

Shredded purple cabbage

Halved grape tomatoes (I like tri-color)

Fresh cilantro leaves

Roasted and lightly salted pumpkin seeds

Lime wedges

(I am allergic to avocado, but if you’re not, by all means!)

To serve, allow diners to build their own tacos.  I like to start with a thin layer of Baja Sauce on a warmed tortilla followed by the roasted cauliflower adn onion, cabbage, grape tomato halves, fresh cilantro leaves, a little more Baja Sauce, and a few roasted pumpkin seeds with a lime wedge on the side for squeezing.

About 1 1 /2 hours before you plan to serve the tacos, prepare cauliflower.
Beer, Lime, Chipotle-Roasted Cauliflower:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons medium-dark, flavorful beer

Juice of 1 small-medium lime

2 to 3 tablespoons Adobo Sauce from a can of Chilies in Adobo

2 to 3 teaspoons maple syrup

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste

1 head cauliflower (I like to use the golden yellow variety), trimmed and broken into florets no larger than a grape

1 medium onion, quartered, and sliced into 1/4-inch wide slivers

In a large microwave-safe bowl, whisk together all ingredients.  Add cauliflower and onion and toss well to coat.  *Heat for 1 ½ minutes on high in microwave, toss again, and let marinate for about an hour at room temperature.  After about 50 minutes, preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Toss cauliflower again, drain off any excess liquid (reserve for another use if desired), spread cauliflower and onion in an oiled roasting pan, and roast for about 20 minutes or until tender and beginning to caramelize, stirring once or twice during roasting process.  About 5 minutes before cauliflower is finished, place foil-wrapped tortillas in oven to heat through.

*While cauliflower marinates, make Baja Sauce.

Baja Sauce:

1/2 cup vegan sour cream (or your favorite nut-based “crema”)

1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise

Juice of 1/2 small lime

1 heaping tablespoon capers, drained and roughly chopped

1 teaspoon Dijon or stone ground prepared mustard

½ teaspoon cumin

2 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably the Mexican variety)

1/3 cup fresh dill weed, finely chopped (or 1 heaping tablespoon dried dill week, not seed)

Optional but delicious: 1 tablespoon chimichurri

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients until well-combined.  Chill, covered, until serving time.

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Vegan Migas Mash-Up–A Restaurant Redux

Migas Mash-Up--Rectangular PlateYield: approximately 4 main dish servings (2 if you are really hungry)

My Migas Mash-Up is more of an idea than it is a recipe because it all depends on what is hanging out in your fridge.

Yesterday, realizing that we were heading into the weekend and that I am leaving town on Tuesday was leaving me feeling a little stressed about what to do with last week’s restaurant leftovers.  Food waste makes me crazy and Joe and I dine out about three times a week, often bringing home leftovers.  He is not the best about eating his veggies and “carbs”–yes, he’s one of those–and restaurant portions tend to be too large for both of us.

Remembering that among the leftovers were 6 small flour tortillas, I wondered about migas: crisped up tortilla strips, traditionally scrambled with eggs (or tofu for vegans) and other traditional Mexican ingredients.  Though, we did have some refried beans and Mexican rice in the mix, there was plenty that was more “New American” which I felt would be compatible with the Mexican flavors, and a little Italian that wasn’t assertively seasoned, so I decided to go for it.

Friday night, we had been to an Italian restaurant where I enjoye bruschetta with chopped tomato, red onion, and slices of grilled eggplant.  I removed and diced the eggplant, and transfered the tomato and onion into a separate bowl to use as a kind of pico de gallo over the top.  I diced the grilled bed and set it aside with rolled and sliced tortilla strips.

Other odds and ends–all in very small amounts of 2 to 4 tablespoons–in addition to the refried beans, Mexican rice, eggplant, tortillas, and grilled bread included a more risotto-like rice, caramelized onions (sort of fajita style), bronzed carrots (slices of carrot roasted with blackening seasoning and brown sugar), green beans cooked with tomatoes and onion, very thick pureed white bean soup, about 5 sweet potato fries, a couple of artichoke hearts, a dab of roasted red peppers, and half of a veggie burger made with black beans and corn.

I would estimate there was, all together, approximately 2 cups of grain, bean/legume, and vegetable ingredients and about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of tortillas and bread.  Following is how I put it all together for a crave-worthy dish that was more than the sum of its parts.   And I encourage you to give it a try using whatever leftovers–from restaurants or home-cooked meals–provided all flavors are reasonably compatible and that you have some kind of bread to include: tortillas, baguette, cornbread, vegan naan or flatbread, etc.  If onion isn’t included in your leftovers, you might want to included some diced or caramelized sauteed onion. My amalgamation required no additional seasoning other than salt and pepper, but if you need the addition of a couple of spices to bring it all together, by all means!

 

6 flour tortillas, rolled and sliced

3 bias-cut slices of grilled baguette, cubed

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

1 tablespoon vegan butter

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Approximately 2 cups of vegan sliced and/or diced cooked aromatics (like onion and garlic) vegetables, beans/legumes, and grain-based leftovers

Garnish: vegan sour cream, pico de gallo or salsa, and sprigs of fresh basil or cilantro

In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon butter.  Add tortillas and baguette and saute for 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly crispy and golden brown.  Transfer to a plate in a thin layer so that they remain crispy while you proceed with the preparation.  Heat remaining tablespoon oil in the skillet and begin adding ingredients, starting with onion, and adding ingredients of similar textures together–softest last–and heating through for about a minute before adding the next ingredient.  Be sure to scrape the “fond” or brown crust off the bottom of the skillet periodically, lowering heat if necessary and avoiding drying out the misture too much; it should be about the consistency of bread pudding.  At the very end, fold in the crispy tortillas and bread and heat through.  Serve immediately topped with a little vegan sour cream, pico de gallo or salsa, and sprigs of fresh herbs.

 

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Vegan Black Bean, Kale & Corncake Snack Stacks (with Garlic Aioli)

Black Bean and Corncake Snack StacksYield: 8 Black Bean and Corn Cake Snack Stacks (plus extra black bean filling)

 

To celebrate the release of the FREE Snackable eBook, the good folks at Go Dairy Free and So Delicious Dairy Free have teamed up again to sponsor the ultimate Snackable Recipe Contest!

My entry is the perfect little 3-bite snack that you can pick up to enjoy.  And they are simple to prepare.

Corncakes made with luscious So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk are the tasty foundation for these Snack Stacks.  A dab of mock Garlic Aioli–garlic powder whisked together with vegan mayo (raw garlic is a little too much of a good thing here)–anchors a mound of black beans, kale, onion, garlic, and spices cooked into a creamy mélange with So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk.

You can your stacks however you choose.  I like carrot shreds, cucumber slices, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a dusting of smoked paprika.  But avocado (to which I am, sadly, highly allergic) and grape tomato halves would be delicious, healthy and colorful too.

1/2 cup yellow corn meal

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 cup plus So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk

2 tablespoons creamed corn (a canned vegan product available at virtually all grocery stores) or 2 additional tablespoons So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk

2 teaspoons vegetable oil divided

2 teaspoons vegan butter, divided

Creamy Black Bean, Kale, and Coconut Milk Filling (recipe follows)

Garlic Aioli (Recipe Follows)

Optional garnishes: carrot shreds; thin cucumber or avocado slices, halved; cherry tomato halves; lime wedges for squeezing; and a sprinkling of smoked paprika

In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, sea salt, baking powder, cumin, smoked paprika, coconut milk, and creamed corn.  Spray a large cast iron skillet with nonstick spray, place over medium-high, and heat 1 teaspoon each of oil and vegan butter.  As the butter melts, swirl to coat bottom of skillet.  Scoop batter, 1 level tablespoon at a time, into skillet and spread to about 2 1/2 inches in diameter.  Repeat to make 4 corncakes, cooking approximately 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Remove to a serving plate and repeat with remaining batter, beginning with heating the remaining oil and butter.  To serve, spread each corncake with about 1 teaspoon of Garlic Aioli, top with a heaping tablespoonful of the bean and kale filling, garnish as desired, and serve immediately.  Note: corncakes may be prepared ahead and kept well-covered until serving time.   

Creamy Black Bean, Kale, and Coconut Milk Filling:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion (half a medium), diced

Sea salt

1 cup coarsely chopped kale with thick stems removed

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1-15.5 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

Freshly ground black pepper

In the same skillet as you made the corncakes, heat olive oil over medium-high.  Add onion and a pinch of sea salt and sauté, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes or until softened.  Add kale and garlic and continue to sauté and stir for about 3 minutes or until kale is softened, but still bright green. Add all remaining ingredients and cook, stirring, for another 2 to 3 minutes or until ingredients reduce down and come together into a thick, fragrant, and creamy mixture. Season to taste with pepper and additional sea salt, if desired.

Garlic Aioli:

3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

In a small cup, whisk together mayonnaise and garlic powder until well combined.

Snackable-Recipe-Contest-Badge

 

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Vegan Southwestern Quinoa Confetti Salad (Perfect for a Father’s Day cookout!)

Southwestern Quinoa Confetti SaladThis delicious salad was inspired by one I enjoyed at Pompano in NYC.  I use more ingredients–including the kale, tomatoes, cucmbers, and optional black beans–because if the salad was scrumptious without them, it would be even better with.

Yield: 6 servings

1 cup uncooked quinoa (I used a mixed colored variety)

2 cups water

Sea salt

1-15 ounce can yellow hominy, rinsed and drained

Optional: 1-15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained (not included in accompanying photograph)

1/2 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 cup coarsely chopped kale

2-6 inch cucumbers, diced

Approximately 12 grape tomatoes, quartered

1/4 cup olive oil

Juice of 1/2 large lime

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon chile powder

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, or to taste

Optional: 1 tablespoon nutrition yeast

 

In a 2-quart saucepan, combine quinoa, water and a teaspoon of sea salt, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, for about 15 to 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender and water is absorbed/evaporated, stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile, preheatoiled  grill pan over medium high.  Place onion slices in one half of pan and kale in the other, lightly salt, and grill for about 3 minutes on each side or until nice caramelized grill marks appear.  Combine quinoa, hominy grilled onion and kale, cucumbers, and grape tomatoes in a large non-reactive bowl.  In a small cup or bowl whisk together olive oil, lime juice, and all spices, seasoning to taste with additional sea salt.  Pour over salad, sprinkle with cilantro and optional nutritional yeast, and gently toss to coat completely.  Note: I like to enjoy a couple or three servings of the salad without the black beans and then add them to the leftovers to enjoy for a another few servings.

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Quick Vegan Chilaquiles–A Mexican Restaurant Leftovers Redux

Quick ChilaquilesYield: 2 servings

Joe and I go out for Mexican food at least once a week–alternating between two neighborhood restaurants– and, last night, we both ordered something different than we normally do.  He, an omnivore, ordered chilaquiles and I ordered what I didn’t realize was vegan fajitas, as it was called something like “Vegetarian E,” with a side of refried beans.  Had I realized, I would have known it would be way too much food, though I never mind tasty leftovers.

I topped my beans with a few of the griddled veggies–onions, red and green peppers, and mushrooms–including some of those nice deeply caramelized bits, and enjoyed them with a side of tortilla chips (too many!) and fresh, zesty pico de gallo.  I felt completely sated, yet there was a heaping mound of the vegetables still left and three tortillas rolled up in foil.  So, we packed it all up and brought it home.

Having considered lots of options for those vegetables–some I hope to try in the future–I ultimately decided on my own version of chilaquiles for lunch today.  I sliced the tortillas, pan sauteed them in a little oil, crumbled in some tofu and spices which I sauteed until the tofu began to turn the barest hint of golden brown, added the veggies with a little salsa and nutritional yeast, and sauteed the whole mixture until heated through.

I hope you find this quick Mexican melange as addicting as I did topped with a dollop of vegan sour cream and a slice of marinated cucumber.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3-8 inch flour tortillas, stacked, rolled, and cut into 1/2-inch clices

Sea salt

7 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed gently with paper towel (half of a 14 ounce box)

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

2 cups sauteed and slightly caramelized fajita veggies (sliced onion, red and green bell peppers, and mushrooms)

2 tablespoons prepared salsa (I used a pineapple variety)

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Garnish(es): vegan sour cream, sprigs of fresh cilantro, slices of cucumber or lime, and lightly salted and roasted papitas (pumpkin seeds)

Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high.  Add tortillas and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring constantly, until beginning to turn crisp. Crumble in tofu, sprinkle with cumin and smoked paprika, and saute, stirring, for a couple of minutes or until tofu becomes a little drier and begins to turn a light golden brown.  Scrape up any bits of tortilla or tofu that begins to stick on the bottom of the skillet and turn brown, as they add great flavor.  Add the vegetables, salsa, and nutritional yeast, and continue sauteing, stirring, and scraping, until heated through, only a couple more minutes.  Serve immediately garnished as desired.

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Vegan Mexican Refried Bean Burgers–A Restaurant Leftover Redux

Refried Bean Burger--A Mexican Restaurant Redo

Yield: 2 burgers

My husband and I typically dine out three times a week: Date Night on Wednesday, and then Friday and Saturday.  Except for special occasions and opportunities, we stick to what we refer to as “The Rotation,” which is a handful of ethnic restaurants very near our home that we cycle through about every couple of weeks: Chinese (unbelievably good Chinese), Mexican, Italian, Thai, and Vietnamese.  There are actually three Mexican/Fresh-Mex restaurants on The Rotation, so I end up with more Mexican leftovers than any other.

Our area has absolutely no vegetarian or vegan restaurants.  The two I can think of that tried to make it over the years were vegan, one raw–really excellent ones–didn’t succeed.  So, especially in the Mexican restaurants which offer no dishes with tofu like the other restaurants–oh, how we wish we had a restaurant like San Francisco’s Gracias Madre here!–I try to get the tiniest bit creative with my order so that my only option isn’t a plate of rice and beans.  Because, as you know, even those dishes under the “vegetarian” section of the menu typically contain queso and crema.  Yes, they can be omitted, but then you’re back to rice and beans.

One of the Mexican restaurants on The Rotation at least offers spinach, broccoli, and mushrooms–it is practically unheard of in these parts for a Mexican restaurant to serve a green vegetable that isn’t a chili–so I order various combinations griddle grilled and served on top of my beans (the truth is that I’m not much of a rice eater: too many calories with too little nutrition).  Wednesday night, my order included onions, green bell pepper, spinach and tomatoes.  And I had about half of it leftover.

Restaurant portions are so huge that who doesn’t come home with leftover, right?  And they tend to be good eats simply heated, but, yet again, I wanted something different, something more interesting, for my lunch on Friday (we were home again for three Snow Days last week!).  Since the base of all of my burgers is mashed beans, I decided to make a burger.  To them, I add chopped onion, celery, bell pepper, some kind of chopped nut, vital wheat gluten, old fashioned oats, nutritional yeast, and spice–the magic formula for a burger that tastes sensational and that holds together beautifully with a crave-worthy mouth-feel.

In this case, since my beans included some grilled veggies, I omitted my typical trio and then proceeded as usual.  For 4 burgers, I start with a 15.5 ounce can of rinsed and drained beans, or about 1 1/2 cups before being processed with the vegetables, which reduces all of their volume.   So, since my leftovers measured about 3/4 cup including the grilled veggies, that sounded like about half the amount of bean-vegetable mixture I typically start with, so I used half the amount of everything else which was perfect.  I used some roasted pecans I had on hand as the nut–delish–and minimal spice, just some ground cumin, salt and pepper.   Half a toasted pretzel roll (not very Mexican, but what I had and fantastic), a little mayo, baby kale leaves, and the pico de gallo that I had also brought home from the restaurant was all this burger needed to become a fiesta on my plate!

It may be my best burger yet…but I think that about all of my burgers.  Go out to eat, bring home some leftovers, and enjoy even more the second time!

3/4 cup refried beans (very smooth), with grilled onions, peppers and spinach (mostly refried beans)

1/4 cup finely chopped roasted pecans

1/4 cup vital wheat gluten

1/4 cup old fashioned oatmeal, uncooked

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

vegetable oil

1 toasted pretzel roll, top and bottom (or bread/roll/bun of your choice)

2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise

approximately 10 baby kale leaves (or the fresh green/lettuce of your choice)

approximately 1/4 cup pico de gallo

In a medium bowl, combine first 8 ingredients with a fork and then your fingers to make a fairly stiff, moist mixture with almost a cookie dough-like consistency.  If sticky, add a bit more vital wheat gluten.  Shape into two 3/4- to 1-inch thick patties.  In a cast iron skillet over medium high, heat a thin layer of vegetable oil and cook burgers for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown, slightly crusty on the exterior, and heated through. Spread half a tablespoon of mayo on each roll or bun, and then top with half the kale leaves, the burger patty, another half tablespoon of mayo, and half the pico de gallo. Serve immediately.   Note: all Restaurant refried bean mixtures will, of course, vary somewhat in moisture, consistency, and spice, so vary remaining ingredients accordingly.

 

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Vegan Southwest Mac-n-Cheese (with Go Veggie! cheeses)

Southwestern Mac-n-Cheese--horizontalYield: 6 to 8 servings

(If you want to skip the backstory and product review, just scroll down a little bit to the creamy-cheesy recipe!)

Recently, I received a big box of Go Veggie! vegan products to test.  If your preferred grocery store, like mine, only stocks Go Veggie! vegetarian products (made with casein and such) and you thought it wasn’t the brand for you, I have good news: they make quite a range of vegan cheeses and, so far, I have found them very tasty with beautiful melt-ability.  Look for the purple packaging and click here for a store locator.

Just prior to receiving the bountiful box, I had seen two unrelated shows on the Food Network in which the hosts made mac-n-cheese, so that seemed the perfect dish in which to test several of the products all at once.  Both recipes were made with a veloute sauce instead of a bechamel.   Of this pair of French “mother” sauces, bechamel is a classic white sauce and veloute exactly the same, only made with stock instead of milk or cream.  I liked the idea of a veloute since so much “dairy” is used for mac-n-cheese anyway.  But if you are a non-dairy “Dairy Queen,” then, by all means, substitute your favorite non-dairy milk for the vegetable base/bouillion and water.

So, this morning, having literally not cooked all week–we dined out for dinner a lot with a guest in town, meaning there was also plenty of leftovers for my school lunches–I eagerly woke up  and dove into what turned out to be my very simple and satisfying project.  Since the cheddar-like package of “shreds” I was sent was called “Mexican Flavor,” I decided to nudge my recipe slightly west of  the Missisippi River without making it overpoweringly Mexican.

The award-winning Go Veggie! Dairy Free Cream Cheese Alternative added just the right amount of body to my veloute, which is definitely a bit thinner than a bechamel, due ot the lack of butterfat.   Their cream cheese has a pleasantly mild flavor and creamy texture, though a little liquid had separated, which may have been due to shipping and really didn’t present a problem, regardless; I simply poured it off before using.

The Go Veggie! Dairy Free Mexican Flavor Shreds melted beautifully, though I could barely detect any Mexican spices in the mix of both Cheddar- and Jack-style shreds, which is probably just as well because that allows the cook to better control the spices and resulting flavor.  I chose a mere half teaspoon of ground cumin and a quarter teaspoon each of chili powder, dried oregano, and smoked paprika, along with onion, garlic and roasted poblano peppers.

For the topping, the Go Veggie! Dairy Free Grated Parmesan Style Cheese was tasty–nutty, pungent and appealingly dry–and browned just perfectly mixed with vegan butter and Panko bread crumbs.  I could have used crushed corn chips, but I was trying to merely suggest the Southwest, not hit anyone over the head with a sombrero!

Speaking of heads, I am head-over-heels for this one, and hope you are too!  My finished dish is just perfect to me: not a thick, “gloppy” cut-it-with-a-knife mac-n-cheese, but pasta noodles bathed in a rich, silky, deeply flavorful and golden sauce with plenty of cheesiness, though far less cheese than many recipes call for.

6 tablespoons vegan butter

1/2 medium yellow onion, diced

2 large cloves garlic, minced

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)

2 rounded teaspoons powdered vegetable base (or 2-3 bouillion cubes; not the extra large ones for 2 cups of liquid)

Pinch sea salt

2 cups water (or your favorite unsweetened non-dairy milk)

1/4 cup Go Veggie! Dairy Free Cream Cheese Alternative

1-8 ounce package Go Veggie! Dairy Free Mexican Flavor Shreds

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon chili powder (mile or hot, your choice)

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/8 teaspoon freshly gound black pepper

2 poblano peppers, stemmed, seeded, halved, roasted under the broiler until skin blackens (about 5 minutes), skin removed, and finely diced

8 ounces rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions, drained, rinsed, and drained again

Crunchy Topping (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.   In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onoins are translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic, and cook and stir for another minute.  Whisk in flour to make a roux, cooking and whisking for a couple of minutes to remove raw flour taste.  Slowly whisk in vegtable base and water.  (Note: you may substitute vegetable stock for vegetable base and water.)  And cook for about 7 or so minutes or until sauce is quite thick.  Add cream cheese alternative and whisk until melted, followed by shreds and all spices.  Check for seasoning, and adjust if necessary.  Stir in poblano peppers and then fold sauce into pasta and spoon lightly into prepared dish.  Sprinkle topping evenly over the surface, covering completely, and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving to allow the sauce to reabsorb back into the pasta.

Crunchy Topping:

1 tablespoon vegan butter

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup Go Veggie! Dairy Free Parmesan Style Grated Cheese

In a small saucepan, melt butter overmedium high.  Remove from heat and stir in crumbs and cheese until all ingredients are well combined.

Southwestern Mac-n-Cheese--vertical

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Vegan Mexican Migas Casserole with Tortilla Crumb Topping

Mexican Migas CasseroleNo, this isn’t part of my Thanksgiving Countdown–the last dish of my 3-course feast is coming up tomorrow!–rather, this is just an outrageously tasty and satisfying, stick-to-your-ribs-without-weighing-you-down dish for any night of the week.  And heated leftovers are crave-worthy for lunch.

 

Yield : 6 servings

 

I call this delightful mash-up of everything Mexican “migas” because of the tortilla chips.  Real migas, of course, calls for eggs, which are absent from this dish, as well as torn up tortillas–my favorite part!  A partial bag of leftover chips and company coming for dinner inspired this dish, as I knew the chips would absorb moisture from the other ingredients and plump up like tortillas.

 

1 tablespoon  olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1/8 teaspoon salt

8 ounces chopped kale

1-15.5 ounce can beans,  e.g black or pinto, rinsed and drained (I use a tri-bean variety)

1-15.5 ounce can diced roasted tomatoes, drained

1-12 ounce package frozen yellow corn, thawed

1 1/2 cups sliced sautéed mushrooms

2.5 ounce can (dry weight) sliced black olives, drained

4 ounces canned diced green chilies

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

4 cups white corn tortilla chips + 1 cup finely crushed

1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup vegan sour cream

1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise

Freshly ground black pepper

Garnishes: dollops of vegan sour cream, a little salsa or chimichurri, and some roasted pumpkin seeds.

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high, heat olive oil.  Add onion and salt, and sauté, stirring frequently for 3 minutes or until softened.  Add kale and sauté for another 3 minutes or until softened and slightly wilted.  Transfer mixture to a very large bowl and add all remaining ingredients, except finely crushed tortilla chips, in order given, lightly crushing the 4 cups of tortilla chips with your fingers as you add.  Fold all together until will combined.  Transfer mixture to prepared casserole dish, lightly smoothing top.  Sprinkle with finely crushed tortilla chips, spray top lightly with nonstick cooking spray (a canola or olive oil variety) to promote browning, and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.  Cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving topped with a dollop of vegan sour cream, a little salsa or chimichurri, and some roasted pumpkin seeds.

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