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Dairy Free Egg Free Pasta Restricted Diet (e.g. GF, Vegan..) Savoury Vegan

Creamy Cauliflower, Mushroom & Kale Pasta Bake {vegan option}

November 21, 2016

Creamy Cauli Mushroom and Kale Pasta Bake

This post was created in partnership with Barilla Pasta – they’ve got an amazing competition on at the moment where you can win £1,000 of British Airways vouchers to use towards a weekend trip to Italy (that would be my dream come true!) – to enter you just have to post a pic of a pasta dish either on the comments of this post on Barilla UK’s facebook page OR on instagram using the hashtags #OutsideTheBox and #BarillaUK. Just think of all the pizza and gnocchi you could be eating *weeps tears of joy*. 

Now onto the recipe! If you are as much of a pasta bake fan as I am, you’ll love this post.

Every year I start to feel a bit blue once winter arrives. All that luscious summer produce is gone and with it, the sunlight has withered away. I’m stuck wondering why the heck we still have to put the clocks back and hour in the winter? It just means the meagre afternoon sunlight becomes even more fleeting. I miss fresh tomatoes, peaches and big bunches of fresh basil 🙁

Creamy Cauli Mushroom and Kale Pasta Bake

The upside is the comfort food that always seems appropriate to cosy up with. Miso soup, pie and big bowls of porridge are all top favourites. Anything baked ticks two boxes because a) it’s probably going to involve hot carbs and b) If I close the kitchen door whilst I’m cooking, the whole room gets warmed up and I don’t need to wear a jumper for once!

Creamy Cauli Mushroom and Kale Pasta Bake

It won’t come as a surprise that pasta bake is a definite winter winner for me. You can pack in loads of veggies so you feel relatively healthy – I even snuck cauliflower purée into the sauce because I’m all about that vegetable/fibre life plus it makes it even creamier! I used Barilla’s wholemeal penne pasta and I have to say, it’s my favourite wholemeal pasta I’ve ever tried as it still has a perfect texture (despite the bran) and a light, nutty flavour. As eating dairy-heavy foods can give me stomach cramps, I prefer this cheese-light sauce to something like classic mac and cheese. There’s just a sprinkling of parmesan on top which packs in the umami tang without needing half a block of Cheddar. Garlicky mushrooms and hella fresh thyme bring the flavour in and a scattering of breadcrumbs on top give it that irresistible crispy topping. It’s a perfect dish to shared with friends on a weeknight or Sunday evening when you’re in need of some proper, hearty food.

Creamy Cauliflower, Mushroom & Kale Pasta Bake {vegan option}

Ingredients

  • 1 small head cauliflower , outer leaves removed, cut into medium florets
  • 1 small potato (~100g), sliced 3mm thick
  • salt
  • 250 g wholemeal penne pasta (I used Barilla)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 200 ml semi-skimmed milk or unsweetened non-dairy milk (see notes)
  • 200 ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • black pepper
  • 250 g chestnut mushrooms , sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic , crushed or finely chopped
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme , leaves picked & stems discarded
  • 100 g curly kale , chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • Topping:
  • 4 tbsp breadcrumbs (see notes)
  • 30 g Parmesan cheese , grated
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme , leaves picked & stems discarded
  • a drizzle of olive oil

Instructions

  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to the boil. Add the cauliflower and potato. Bring back up to the boil over a high heat then turn the heat down to simmer – leave to cook for 8 minutes until the cauliflower and potato are soft. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cauliflower and potato from the water to a large jug or bowl – set aside for later and keep the pot of water on the stove.
  2. Add the pasta to the pot of water and bring back up to the boil (add more water to the pot if needed to cover the pasta). Once boiling, turn the heat down to simmer and leave the pasta to cook for 5 minutes until only just barely cooked on the outside with an uncooked centre. Drain the pasta and rinse it under cold water in a colander. Set aside in the colander for later. Return the pot to the stove.
  3. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to the pot along with the flour. Stir over a medium heat until smooth and cook for 1 minute. Combine the milk and stock together in a jug – gradually mix this liquid into the flour-oil paste in the pot, stirring in between additions until smooth. Once all the liquid has been added, bring the mixture to a simmer over a medium-low heat and let it cook for 2 minutes – it won’t be very thick right now but don’t worry!
  4. Pour the hot contents of the pot and the tablespoon of mustard into the jug/bowl containing the cauliflower and potato. Blend using a hand blender until completely smooth and thick. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Set the sauce aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F).
  6. In a medium frying pan, heat the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil over a medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and let them cook, stirring occasionally until they’ve shrunk down and are releasing liquid (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic, thyme and a pinch of salt to the frying pan, turn the heat down to low and cook for 1 minute. Add the kale to the frying pan and cover with a lid or large plate. Leave to steam for 5-7 minutes until the kale has wilted down. Remove the lid and take off the heat.
  7. In a medium casserole dish or roasting tin, mix the pasta, mushrooms, kale and sauce. Mix the topping ingredients (except the olive oil) in a small bowl and sprinkle over the pasta. Drizzle with some olive oil, slide the dish into the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes until the topping is slightly browned. Divide between bowls and serve hot.

Recipe Notes

- To make this vegan: omit the parmesan from the topping and just season with some flaky salt and nutritional yeast instead. Use unsweetened, non-dairy milk in the sauce.
- To make breadcrumbs: take one slice of bread and rub it on the coarse side of a grated to shred it into coarse breadcrumbs.
3.5.3217
3.5.3217

 

 

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  • Stasja November 21, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    This looks like my ultimate dream meal. 🙂 I’ve already pinned it.

  • sweetkabocha November 22, 2016 at 12:19 am

    Oh just in time!! I promised a pasta bake for a Thanksgiving potluck and I really needed some inspiration 😀
    xo

  • Rachel @ Baking Up Bliss November 22, 2016 at 2:18 am

    This sounds so savory and delicious! I love that it can be made vegan too 🙂

  • Maya | Spice + Sprout November 22, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    Mmm! Warm carbs = <3 <3 <3

  • wallflourgirl November 22, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    This is my kind of comfort food! I miss the sunlight terribly and get so sleepy now around 4 PM, when it starts getting dark. Thinking about this dish just makes me want to curl up with my blankets and dig straight into the baking dish 🙂

  • Rachael November 23, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Love a pasta bake and this one sounds delicious!

    Rachael xx.
    http://theteacozykitchen.blogspot.co.uk/

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  • Emma November 26, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    A perfect winter warmer.

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  • Dan Humphries November 28, 2016 at 8:47 am

    Pasta! It’s my all time fave and my nieces’ as well. Love to try this one. Sure they’ll love this too! Thanks for sharing the recipe! Keep more recipes coming!

  • Eva November 28, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    I’m eating this right now and daaaaamn, it is amazing ?

  • Alan Read December 1, 2016 at 8:00 am

    Who wouldn’t love pasta bake? I love it. It looks so delicious!!

  • Ruby_&_Cake December 4, 2016 at 7:37 am

    I would happily swap seasons with you (i’m a child of winter – summer is figurativley killing me) I would love to be eating this right now on a winter night – its too hot to be eating anything other that popsicles right now.

  • Greg Child December 19, 2016 at 6:19 am

    I’m a pasta bake fan. I am definitely going to try this. Thanks for sharing.

  • Rawisara Marko January 10, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    I tried this cake today and it’s absolutely delicious

  • sweetcoffee January 30, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Thanks for the post. It looks very yummy.

  • Michael Kitson May 26, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Love that you’ve provided a vegan option! 🙂

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