This recipe is going to knock your socks off. It takes a bit of time to prepare, but could easily be assembled and then refrigerated for a couple days before its baked.
If you are new to plant-based cooking, as you read through the ingredients of this recipe you’ll likely be thinking, “what the hell is nutritional yeast?”. The short answer is that it is a deactivated strain of yeast (no, you cant leaven your bread with it) and its full of protein and B vitamins and has a nutty cheese-like flavor. Its sold in most supermarkets, usually in the baking aisle. Braggs and Red Star are the most popular brands out there, but I’m lucky enough to live near a grocer with a good bulk bin aisle, so I usually just grab mine from the bulk bins.
I also use white miso in this recipe. Do not substitute for brown or red miso as the flavor of these will be too strong. While miso is used in a lot of Asian cooking, I use it here to create depth of flavor that would be lacking if you left it out. Miso has a savory taste that you may have heard described as umami. You won’t taste the miso here, but it is a really important component of the sauce. If you haven’t experimented with miso, I encourage you to do so. Its great on roasted veggies, or to make the quickest cold weather dinner ever- miso soup with veggies and tofu.
To create the creamy sauce, I used one of Escoffier’s mother sauces: a béchamel. Well technically its a mash up between a béchamel and a velouté. Honestly, Escoffier himself would probably say its none of the above because its vegan, but I think he will get over it. We’re simply using the technique.
You make a roux from non dairy butter and flour and cook that for about 1-2 minutes then slowly incorporate a mixture of non dairy milk + vegetable stock with a whisk and then bring it to a simmer to thicken it up. You have probably made a béchamel or velouté before if you’ve made gravy, for example. This one is no different.
After your béchamel is complete, toss everything together in a baking dish, top it with some panko breadcrumb for an added crunch and bake it for about 30 minutes and serve it up. Ifs full of flavor, creamy and comforting. I plan on making this-and variations of it- many times over.
This recipe is so good, you won’t even miss the cheese. I promise.
Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Mac
- For the Roasted Cauliflower:
- 4 Cups Cauliflower Florets
- 2 Tbsp Franks Wing Sauce
- 2 tsp Sriracha optional
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/2 tsp Paprika
- For the Béchamel:
- 3 Tbsp Earth Balance
- 3 Tbsp All- Purpose Flour
- 1 1/2 Cups Non Dairy Milk I used So Delicious Unsweetened Original
- 1 1/2 Cups Vegetable Stock
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 2 tsp Ground Mustard
- 1 Tbsp White Miso Paste
- 1/2 Cup Nutritional Yeast
- 8 oz Pasta- I used pipe rigate but bowties shells or rigatoni would all be great
- 1/3 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
- Preheat oven to 400*
- Place Cauliflower florets in the center of a baking sheet. Pour the wing sauce and sriracha over the florets and then sprinkle garlic, onion, paprika and salt over them. Toss with your hands to evenly distribute everything. Put into the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes.
- Fill a large pasta pot with water and set it over medium high heat.
- Meanwhile, make your béchemel. Into a deep skillet or a dutch oven over medium heat, melt non dairy buttery spread. Add 3 tablespoons of flour into the butter and combine with a whisk. Cook your roux for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Slowly and while constantly whisking, add your non dairy milk and vegetable stock. Once the liquid is all incorporated, add the onion, garlic, paprika and ground mustard and bring to a simmer for 3-4 minutes, whisking occasionally. The béchamel should slightly thicken but it will still look pretty runny. After the sauce has thickened, remove from heat and whisk in the miso paste and nutritional yeast.
- Cook pasta to al dente. This is important. The pasta will soak up more of the creamy sauce and won’t get over cooked and mushy if its left slightly underdone. Drain pasta and put into an 8x8 or 9x9 square pan. Put the roasted cauliflower on top of the pasta and then pour the béchamel over everything and stir to evenly distribute everything. The sauce may seem a little runny, but it will absorb into the pasta in the oven. Top the mixture with panko and bake the 400* oven for 25-30 minutes.
- Let cool a bit before serving as this will be piping hot.
Let me know how you liked this recipe— I’ve been loving hearing from you all!