Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Much Depends on the Sauce

My husband, an eat-alongside vegan (I'll define that later), claims that much of the tastiness of my vegan cooking depends on the sauce.  He claims that if every vegan and wanna be vegan had five or so sauces in their repertoire they would eat very well.

Tonight I made a cauliflower, greens, pepper and tomato gratin with a soy white sauce (with daiya mozzarella shreds) topped with bread crumbs, paprika, nutritional yeast and smoky "bacon" tempeh.  Gary is not much into "goopy" sauces (I prefer to think of them as gooey), but he really liked the dish (as did I) - I served it with whole wheat pasta penne tossed in an olive oil, garlic and fresh pea sauce. 

I was very happy with all the combinations and I'm adding these sauce concepts to my list of "vegan sauces."

I'm sorry I made this on the fly and didn't write down what I did, but here are the basics:

Spicy Cauliflower Gratin

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Steam a head of cauliflower florets until just tender. Saute 1 chopped onion, 4 minced garlic cloves until golden, add in 1 chopped jalapeno and 1 red pepper.  Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and cumin to taste.  Saute until peppers are softened.  Add in a couple of handfuls of chopped greens (I used a mix of mustard, turnip and collard), sauteed for a few minutes, add a cup of water and stir/steam until greens have softened, add in drained cauliflower, 2 tomatoes cut in 8ths each, Saute until cauliflower and other veggies are cooked through. 

Grease casserole dish. make white sauce following traditional recipe but substituting vegan margarine for butter and unflavored soy milk for milk.  When thickened, add about 1/2 cup non-dairy mozzarella cheese shreds.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Put veggies in dish.  Pour sauce evenly over. Sprinkle with bread crumbs, nutritional yeast and paprika. (Optional, cook smoky tempeh as per package instructions, chop and sprinkle over sauce.) Bake about 20-30 minutes until slightly browned and sauce is bubbly.

Pasta with Garlic and Green Peas

Heat olive oil in deep pot, saute sliced garlic until golden, add cooked pasta, toss.  Add lightly steamed peas, toss and serve.
An eat-alongside vegan is a spouse, friend, partner or other who is not him or herself a vegan but who enjoys vegan food and is supportive of your vegan efforts.


  1. I like the term "eat-alongside vegan." I'm not a vegan - nor is my wife - but we actually eat vegan (though probably more vegetarian) all the time. Good food is good food - I don't need meat or fish or dairy to have a good eating experience. Anyway, nice dish. I find myself cooking cauliflower (and other veggies) in the microwave rather than steaming them. It's essentially the same thing, and just seems easier. Anyway, thanks for this.

  2. actually - I often steam veggies in the microwave, which is what I did in this case.
    Thanks for your support in 2 blogs, now!