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Cozy Vegan Cauliflower Gratin | The Full Serving to

This cozy vegan cauliflower gratin is pure consolation meals with a healthful twist. Cauliflower is baked with a creamy, cashew-based sauce and crispy breadcrumbs. It’s an ideal dish for sharing and a straightforward make-ahead possibility for the vacations.

“Gratin” is a kind of phrases that instantly brings coziness to thoughts. I consider meals effervescent out of bakers which have simply been pulled from the oven. I consider melted cheese and crisping bread crumbs. I’m transported to winter months and the consolation meals that braces me for them.

This vegan cauliflower gratin is the entire issues {that a} gratin, by this definition, ought to be. It’s warming, creamy, and crispy on prime. It’s cozy and comforting. But it’s additionally healthful. The gratin is made with a whole head of cauliflower and a cashew-based sauce. I like to make use of recent, do-it-yourself bread crumbs as nicely.

Consolation and diet in a single place—simply the type of recipe that I like.

The cauliflower gratin is a good possibility for vacation meals as a result of it may be made forward of time, frozen, and reheated. It’s good for sharing.

Nonetheless, you don’t should share any of it. That is additionally a flexible, chilly climate aspect dish that may accompany your favourite vegan proteins or winter salads. Because it’s straightforward to make forward, I’ve a sense that it’s going to turn out to be an everyday a part of my winter meal prep.

A white, shallow baking dish is filled with vegetables. A creamy, white sauce is being poured into the dish.

What’s a gratin?

Regardless of what number of years I spend cooking, I’m at all times amused by what I don’t know. There are many culinary phrases that I take advantage of frequently, however shut examination reveals that I’ve solely a hazy understanding of their that means.

Gratin is one in every of these phrases. I’ve a way of what it’s, however as I used to be penning this put up I figured it was time to get a correct definition.

In keeping with each Merriam Webster and The Oxford Companion to Food, “gratin” refers to a browned prime, or crust. Gratin varieties when a dish has been cooked au gratin.

I’ve learn that au gratin is derived from gratter, the French phrase for “scratch” or “scrape”—a reference to the grated topping on a gratin. I’ve additionally learn that “gratin” is derived from gratiner, which implies “to broil.”

Both matches. Gratins are normally baked in shallow dishes. And so they’re coated with some type of topping—normally bread crumbs—that may crisp up when broiled.

All of which means that this cauliflower gratin could not technically be a gratin, since I don’t end it within the broiler. However the bread crumbs on prime actually may very well be browned underneath a broiler, they usually do turn out to be properly brown and crispy within the oven. By the spirit of the definition, if not the letter, this seems like a correct gratin to me.

Thank goodness for cauliflower

Thank goodness for cauliflower, proper?

At this level, the flexibility of this crucifer is the stuff of humorous memes. Cauliflower will be changed into steak, dip, or mash. It may be baked, roasted whole, served with whole grains or in salads.

Most just lately, I used it as the bottom for a vegan alfredo sauce and creamy pasta. That dish has turn out to be one in every of my favourite straightforward dinners.

A silver colander holds raw broccoli florets. It rests on a white surface.

It’s no shock, then, that cauliflower is a superb base for a creamy gratin.

Gratin is mostly made with potatoes. I like that model, however I feel that there’s quite a bit to be mentioned for utilizing cauliflower for a similar type of preparation.

Cauliflower gratin is lighter in texture than potato gratins, however it nonetheless feels substantial. It has an incredible texture: not too stodgy, not too mushy. The creamy cashew sauce within the recipe helps to bind the cauliflower florets collectively.

After all, the gratin can be wealthy in the entire vitamins that cauliflower offers. This contains numerous fiber, numerous vitamin C, vitamin Okay, and potassium.

The way to make cauliflower gratin

The steps for making ready this cauliflower gratin are fairly easy.

Soak your cashews

You’ll start by soaking cashews for the creamy sauce within the recipe. The soaking step helps to melt the cashews and makes them simpler to mix. I soak cashews each time I make my all-purpose cashew cream, tofu whipped cream, cashew cheese, or cashew queso.

I soak cashews for about two hours in room temperature water earlier than mixing. For those who’re quick on time, you possibly can soak them in boiling water for half-hour as a substitute.

Prep and prepare dinner your cauliflower

When the cashews are able to go, you’ll convey a pot of salted water to a boil and preheat your oven. It’s time to prepare dinner your cauliflower florets and items.

It will contain coring and breaking down your head of cauliflower. It’s one in every of my least favourite kitchen duties, truthfully, however this how-to might help to make the method environment friendly. You may also buy pre-cut cauliflower florets.

Subsequent, you’ll prepare dinner your cauliflower in boiling water for 6-10 minutes. The cauliflower ought to be totally cooked earlier than it goes into the gratin. You’re aiming to have florets which are absolutely fork tender, however not mushy (although if they’re slightly mushy, that’s OK).

Drain the cauliflower florets nicely after boiling.

Mix the creamy sauce

Whereas the cauliflower cooks, you possibly can mix up your creamy sauce. It’s effective to make use of both a meals processor or a blender for this, however in case you don’t have a strong blender (comparable to a Vitamix or a Breville Tremendous Q), then a meals processor will probably be extra environment friendly.

Assemble and bake

Now it’s time to assemble the gratin!

That is straightforward. You’ll pour a small quantity of the creamy sauce into the underside of an oiled or buttered baking dish (I take advantage of a 7 x 11-inch rectangular baker). Organize the entire cooked cauliflower on prime.

Pour the remainder of the sauce over the cauliflower and use your arms to be sure that the entire items are coated or submerged in sauce.

Sprinkle the highest of the gratin very generously with bread crumbs. Switch the gratin to the oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes, or till the bread crumbs are a deep golden coloration.

Cool and revel in

Give the cauliflower gratin about fifteen minutes of cooling time earlier than you slice and serve it. At that time, it’s time to take pleasure in it!

An overhead image of a rectangular baking dish. It has been filled with baked vegetables and a crispy bread crumb topping.

Cauliflower gratin elements

Listed below are the principle elements that you simply’ll want with the intention to make the cauliflower gratin.

Cauliflower

…in fact!

You’ll want one additional massive (~3 lb) or two small (~1.25 lb) heads of cauliflower. After preparation, this could come to about two and 1 / 4 kilos (~1020 g) of florets and items.

You’ve got the choice to buy pre-cut florets in the event that they’re out there at your grocer. You may also use two one-pound baggage of frozen cauliflower. For those who do, you possibly can skip the boiling step for the recipe. As a substitute, prepare dinner the cauliflower in line with bundle directions. Be sure you drain it of any extra cooking liquid. Then, proceed with assembling the gratin as described above.

Cashews

For this gratin and all of my different creamy, cashew-based dishes, I take advantage of uncooked cashews. They’ve a impartial, buttery and virtually candy taste that lends itself to sauces and lotions.

All-purpose flour

Flour will assist to thicken the creamy sauce and bind this casserole collectively. There’s solely 1 / 4 cup of flour right here, however that quantity is hard-working and essential for the recipe’s success.

If it’s good to make the gratin gluten-free, you should use a gluten-free, all-purpose flour mix instead of common all-purpose. I actually like King Arthur’s Measure for Measure.

Dietary yeast

Dietary yeast provides a slight tacky taste to the gratin. It replaces the cheese that may usually broil on prime of a gratin or be folded into the inside. Nonetheless, the tacky taste right here isn’t overwhelming; it’s there, however it’s refined.

As an added bonus, dietary yeast at all times provides slightly additional plant protein to vegan recipes.

Bread crumbs

You should utilize recent or dried bread crumbs to make the cauliflower gratin. I favor recent bread crumbs for this recipe, and I’ve included some fast directions for making them within the notes part of the recipe, beneath.

Nonetheless, do-it-yourself bread crumbs are an added step. For those who don’t have time, don’t fear. Dried bread crumbs (common or panko) will work properly, too.

Seasonings

I hold the seasonings of the gratin fairly easy: a contact of nutmeg, some garlic powder, and lemon juice. You possibly can completely add extra garlic (or roasted garlic), extra salt, or a selected herb that you simply like with the intention to customise the recipe.

Can I make the gratin nut-free?

Nice query! I truly really feel slightly badly that I’ve shared three current recipes—tofu whipped cream, classic vegan pumpkin pie, and this cauliflower gratin—that rely closely on cashews. Cashews are positively a staple ingredient for me, however I do know that this doesn’t make life straightforward for these with cashew or tree nut allergic reactions!

For those who’re allergic to cashews, however not all tree nuts, you possibly can actually substitute the cashews with pine nuts. Pine nuts will work fantastically within the cream sauce.

For those who’re allergic to all tree nuts, then you should use one of many following to interchange them:

  • 1 cup Tofutti (soy-based) vegan cream cheese
  • 12 ounces extra-firm silken tofu
  • 1 cup oat milk and two additional tablespoons all-purpose flour

I feel that the primary two choices work finest, however all are doable relying in your wants.

Preparation and storage

Cowl any gratin leftovers and retailer them within the fridge. The gratin will hold, coated and refridgerated, for as much as 4 days. This implies that you would be able to put together and bake it two and even three days earlier than you intend to serve it.

You may also assemble the gratin with out the bread crumbs, cowl it, after which put it within the oven the next day.

Can the cauliflower gratin be frozen?

Sure, it will probably! Leftovers of the gratin will be frozen for as much as 4 weeks. Which means it’s a contender for very organized, make-ahead vacation cooking.

And in case you, like me, stay alone, this additionally means that you would be able to put together the gratin on any chilly winter evening and freeze a bunch of leftovers for future coziness.

Extra cozy winter baked dishes

Oh, how I like an excellent casserole or baked dish. I might stay off of those within the colder months, consuming a few of what I make instantly, freezing particular person parts for later. Nothing makes me really feel extra comforted than an excellent slice of lasagna, baked pasta, or gratin.

Particularly now that I do know what gratin truly means.

Listed below are a few of my different favourite, plant-based winter baked dishes:

And right here’s that very cozy, vegan cauliflower gratin.

A baked casserole dish is held in a rectangular white pan. It's covered in bread crumbs and being served with a large, silver spoon.
A white, rectangular baking dish has been filled with a cauliflower gratin and topped with breadcrumbs. It rests on a white cloth against a white surface.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook dinner Time: 40 minutes

Soaking time for cashews 2 hours

Yields: 8 servings

  • 1 cup raw cashews (140 g)
  • 1 additional massive head (~3 lb) or 2 small (~1.25 lb) heads cauliflower (2 1/4 lb/1020 g florets after preparation)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour (30 g)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (plus additional for boiling the cauliflower)
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (substitute 1 clove garlic)
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (20 g)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly floor black pepper
  • 1 heaping cup (105 g) recent breadcrumbs* or 3/4 cup (84 g) dried bread crumbs (I favor recent for this recipe; see notice)
  • Convey two cups of water to a boil. Pour the boiling water over the cashews and permit them to soak for a minimum of 2 hours and as much as in a single day. For those who soak them for longer than two hours, switch the cashews to the fridge. When the cashews have soaked lengthy sufficient, drain and rinse them. 

  • Preheat your oven to 350F. Calmly oil or grease a 7 x 11 x 2 in (10 cup) baking dish with vegan butter. (28 x 18 x 5 cm, or 2.4 L.)

  • Core the cauliflower and break it down into small florets and bite-sized pieces. You need to have about 2 1/2 lb (1020 g) cauliflower after preparation. Convey a big pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the cauliflower florets and items for 6-10 minutes, or till the entire items are fork tender, however not mushy. (The water temperature could drop if you add the cauliflower, during which case, be affected person: the water will begin to boil once more in case you cowl it and permit it to achieve a boil once more.) Drain the cauliflower. 
  • Whereas the cauliflower boils, mix the soaked and drained cashews, water, flour salt, nutmeg, garlic powder, dietary yeast, lemon juice, and pepper in a strong blender or a meals processor till the combination is totally clean. 

  • Pour 3/4 cup of the blended creamy cashew combination into the underside of your ready baking dish. Add the entire cauliflower to the dish. Pour the entire remaining liquid over the cauliflower, coating the items nicely. It’ll appear like a whole lot of liquid, however it is going to thicken because it bakes. High the gratin with the breadcrumbs.

  • Bake the gratin for 30-40 minutes, or till the crumbs on prime of the gratin are a deep golden brown. Enable the gratin to chill for quarter-hour earlier than reducing into items and serving. Get pleasure from!

*To organize recent breadcrumbs: tear 3 slices (105 g) of stale white bread (sourdough, peasant or nation bread, or white sandwich bread) into tough items and switch them to a meals processor. Pulse till they’re damaged up into crumbs. Switch the crumbs to a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or till very evenly golden and dry. Proceed along with your recipe. 

A single slice of a plant-based cauliflower gratin rests on a fluted white serving plate. It's topped with bread crumbs that have turned golden brown in the oven.

Simply taking a look at a slice of this cozy, creamy dish makes me smile. It makes me much less involved that temperatures are presupposed to drop quickly tomorrow, as a result of the upside of chilly climate is numerous consolation meals.

I hope you’ll discover consolation within the gratin someday this season, too. Get pleasure from!

xo

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