Baked Penne and Cauliflower with Cheesy Sauce

This is the BEST vegan/grownup mac and cheese I’ve had, hands down.  It is the perfect combination of creamy and crunchy with a perfect crusty top layer.  Mmmmm. Might not be able to save any for leftovers tomorrow…

Let’s make it, shall we?

  • 1.5 tbsp plus 1 tsp vegan butter
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into 1 in florets
  • 1/8 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1.5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 can diced stewed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 c unsweetened soy or rice milk
  • 4 oz Daiya shredded nondairy cheddar cheese (that was half the bag)
  • 6 oz penne pasta (again, half the container)

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Coat a medium-sized baking dish with 1 tsp of the vegan butter.

Cook the cauliflower in a large pot of salted boiling water until tender, about 5 minutes.  Remove the cauliflower from the pot of water and transfer it to a bowl. Reserve the pot of water.

Cook the nutritional yeast in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it is golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Add the remaining 1.5 tbsp vegan butter and stir until it’s melted.  Add the onion, garlic, and steamed cauliflower and saute until the onion starts to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and cook for two minutes.  Whisk in the mustard, salt, paprika, milk, and cheese.  Simmer until the mixture thickens slightly, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Return the reserved pot of water to a boil over high heat.  Add the pasta and cook for 7-8 minutes, until tender but firm.  Drain.

Transfer the pasta to the prepared baking dish.  Stir in the cauliflower-cheesy sauce.  Cover with foil and bake until heated through, about 25 minutes.  Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the top begins to brown.

Drool worthy, amirite?

Enjooooy your new favorite vegan comfort food with some nondairy milk and a hearty appetite.

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