I love vegetables these days. Its a huge turnaround for me. Up to the age of about 20, my vege repertoire consisted of fried mushrooms in garlic and raw carrots (exotic….I know!). Now, I make huge efforts to integrate vegetables into every meal, even my simple pasta dishes. The wonderful thing about this recipe is that it can’t exist without the vegetables and it is utterly delicious. The creamy texture is a winner and it really feels like a treat whilst hitting so many nutritional targets.
I recently did a promotion with Avonmore Cooking Cream and actually found the product to be a wonderful substitute for regular cream so that is what I have used in this recipe. By all means, use regular cream or quark if you prefer.
This recipe started out so simple and by the time I was finished, I had added a gazillion other ingredients. Rather than complicate it for you guys, I am giving you the simplest version and I will also list the small additions I made as I went along.
I also added a dash of tamari soy sauce instead of using salt in my seasoning – this is not an essential step and you can season as you prefer.
If you don’t have harissa, you can use a 1/3 teaspoon of chilli powder but don’t go wild with it. Its flavour you want to go for rather than heat.
Finally, if you don’t have sumac, don’t worry, just grate some lemon rind into the mix and be sure to add plenty of black pepper.
Putting It All Together
Start by breaking your cauliflower into small florets. Add a heaped tablespoon of miso paste or your chosen stock to the water. Put a lid on the pan and allow the cauliflower to steam while the water boils – do not let the water boil off. While that is cooking, fry off your parsnip and leek. The leek has quite a strong flavour so if you prefer to leave it out, thats perfectly ok!
Once the parsnip and leek begin to brown a little, add 2 tblsp of water to the pan and cover. Leave on a low heat and allow the parsnip to soften. Once soft, add to the cauliflower.
Add the thyme and the seasoning (salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon if you like). I used a hand held whizzer to puree this mix before adding the final ingredients.
Adding The Cream And The Cheese
I used the Avonmore Cooking Cream that I used in my recent ad campaign because it is lower fat and this is supposed to be a healthy, comfort food meal. However, you can use regular cream or even tinned coconut milk if you prefer a vegan meal.
Once the cream is mixed through, add in your grated parmesan. Of course you can use another cheese, but parmesan doesn’t go stringy when it is melted and the taste is fabulous, so this is what I recommend.
The Final Touches
While all this was going on, I had some very large pasta shells on the boil. I spooned a nice portion of my mix into the bottom of a heated pasta bowl then added the pasta on top. I drizzled with a little tamari soy sauce and I added some tamari fried mushrooms and sunflower seeds as a finish. These really added a bite to the dish.
The Pasta Plate Completed
The decoration of this dish took more time than the actual dish itself. I topped the dish with a kind of red onion and mixed pepper topping. For this, I just fried the onion and pepper in butter and added balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of brown sugar. I sprinkled the final dish with parmesan and tamari toasted sunflower seeds. Its ok to keep this simple and forego the addition of the final toppings.
I hope you give this a try – it is a real treat! I had already had my protein limit for the day by the time I ate this dish so its perfect to go with chicken or steak for the meat lovers.
As always, do tag me @westcorkfit if you decide to give this dish a go.
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