I can’t stop accidentally cooking vegan dishes. I am not a vegan; Greek yogurt is my breakfast staple and I would never choose to live without cheese or ice cream (not discounting the vegan alternatives, I just don’t think I would willingly cut out the real stuff). But in my quest to capitalize on the health benefits and versatility of vegetables, I find myself creating creamy, dairy-free dishes…by accident.
This week I gave avocados a rest and turned my attention to cauliflower as a buttery addition and thickening agent to my pasta sauce. I created my standard marinara then hit it with a bit of steamed cauliflower and almond milk to create a vegan rose sauce. Combined with some sauteed broccoli and spicy vegan sausage, this pasta hit all of the right notes. Enjoy!
1 12 oz can of crushed tomatoes (I used these)
1/2 a large white or yellow onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 head of cauliflower, cut into large chunks
1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
1 box of fusilli (or other pasta noodles)
Olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
Additional pasta mix-ins: I added sauteed spicy vegan sausage (2 dogs) and 3 cups of sauteed broccoli.
Start by sauteeing your flavor base, onions and garlic. In a sauce pan over medium heat, add in about 3/4 tablespoon of olive oil and the chopped garlic and minced onion. Saute for 5-7 minutes or until golden.
Add in the entire can of crushed tomatoes, a pinch of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper (about a teaspoon of each), stir, cover, and lower the heat to simmer the sauce for 20 minutes. In the meantime, cook pasta according to the directions on the bag or box, strain, and set aside.
If you’re going to add any sauteed veggies into the mix now is the time to get them going on a pan! A busy stove-top is a happy stove-top.
Using a microwavable bowl, place the chopped cauliflower inside with about 1 inch of water.
Cover with a microwave safe top or plastic wrap and microwave for 10 minutes. When removing the cauliflower from the microwave and peeling back the plastic, be extremely cautious of the steam!
In a blender or food processor, combine the steamed cauliflower with a cup of almond milk and blend until smooth.
Combine the cauliflower mixture with the red sauce, stirring until fully incorporated, and add-in any extra ingredients (broccoli, vegan sausage…anything!). Give your sauce a quick taste and add salt, pepper, and spice* until desired flavor has been reached.
*I like to add a bit of cinnamon and a drop of balsamic vinegar to change it up!
Plate your pasta noodles, top with your rose sauce, and enjoy your guilt-free creamy creation…I topped mine (pictured below) with parmesan and more pepper flakes!