Recipe: Cauliflower Queso

Howdy! If you’ve visited or hail from the great state of Texas, you know that queso is a Tex Mex staple. If you don’t know, queso is Spanish for cheese and is also a liquidy, cheesy heaven of a dip. I’m here with a cauliflower(!) version so you can indulge your craving without guilt.

Ingredients

1/4 c raw cashews, soaked in hot water for one hour
2 T organic Earth Balance
1 yellow onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
1 large cauliflower head, chopped
1/2 c vegetable broth
1/3 c + 2-3 T coconut milk
2 sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 c nutritional yeast
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t chili powder
1/4 t turmeric
1/2 t sea salt, more to taste
tortilla chips or crudité for serving

Instructions

  1. Poor boiling water over cashews and allow to soak for one hour. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet heat butter over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and jalapeños and sauté for about six minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, remove about half of the onion/jalapeño mixture and set aside.
  3. Stir cauliflower and vegetable broth into the remaining half of onion/jalapeño mixture, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender.
  4. Add cauliflower mixture to a food processor or high-powered blender along with remaining ingredients, including cashews. Blend mixture until smooth. If too thick, add additional milk 1 T at a time until desired consistency is achieved.
  5. Taste queso and add more sea salt, if desired.
  6. Transfer queso to a large bowl and stir in remaining onions and jalapeños. If desired, top with fresh jalapeños or cilantro.
  7. Serve immediately with tortilla chips or crudité.

This recipe creates a vat of cauliflower queso. I advise freezing most of it in small portions and, when ready to eat, move from freezer to fridge 24 hours in advance and then reheat on the stove. Consume unfrozen queso (or incorporate it into another recipe calling for cheese sauce) within one week.

Super into cauliflower? Buy too much cauliflower for this recipe? Try one of these recipes:

Spiced Cauliflower with Feta
Roasted Garlic Cauliflower

Adapted from Vegan Cauliflower Queso.


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Recipe: Mujaddara

Mujaddara is a Lebanese dish, but I’ve also seen it associated with Jordan and Iran. I believe the origins are regional and predate today’s borders, but if you have more info please let me know in the comments below.

This recipe is simple,  savory, and an unsuspecting crowd pleaser. The caramelized onions are heaven and the vibrant spices bring the dish to life. Rick houses it.

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Ingredients

1 c lentils
1/2 c olive oil
1 t cumin seeds
1/2 t black peppercorns, cracked or whole
3-5 red onions
2 t sea salt
3/4 c brown basmati rice
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t cayenne
1″ cinnamon stick
3 c water
1-2 lemons
2 T pine nuts, toasted (optional)

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  1. Put lentils into a medium saucepan and cover them with about an inch of cold water. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn down to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the lentils cook, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for a minute. Add cumin seeds and peppercorns, occasionally shaking the pan until the cumin seeds darken, about one minute.
  3. Sauté onions and 1/2 t sea salt, stirring often. The onions are done when they’re dark brown in color with slightly crispy edges. This will take about ten minutes.
  4. With a slotted spoon, move about half of the onions to a tea towel or paper towel-lined plate. These are for garnish.
  5. Add ground cumin, cayenne, and cinnamon stick and sauté about one minute.
  6. Add rice, stirring often until some grains start to brown. In quick succession, add the cooked lentils, water, and remaining sea salt and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer, cover, and cook 30 minutes.
  7. Keeping the lid on, turn off the heat and allow the rice mixture to steam for about five minutes.
  8. If using, toast pine nuts in a small skillet over medium-low heat about five minutes.
  9. Serve rice mixture with the reserved onions, a squeeze of lemon juice, and pine nuts, if using.

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Unlike the photo above, make a polished table presentation by filling a mold or small bowl with the dish and flipping it onto a plate.

Enjoy this mujaddara for lunch or dinner, as a side, or as a main course.

Serves four.

Adapted from Lebanese Lentils, Rice and Caramelized Onions.

Recipe: Israeli Pearl Couscous

If you have some leftover oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes from the Magic Tofu Quiche, we’re about to put them to work! This is one of those dishes you keep eating when you’re really full because it’s just so. damn. good.

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Ingredients

1 1/4 c water
2 1/4 c vegetable broth, divided
2 c Israeli pearl couscous*
pinch of sea salt
pinch of black pepper
5 T olive oil, divided
1/2 c pine nuts
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 c black olives, chopped
1/3 c oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/4 c fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

*Israeli pearl couscous is imperative to use in this recipe as regular couscous makes a vastly different dish.

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  1. Bring water and 1 1/4 c of broth  to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in couscous, sea salt, and black pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about eight minutes.
  2. Heat 3 T olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in pine nuts, cooking until pine nuts are toasted and golden brown, about one minute. Remove from heat.
  3. Heat remaining 2 T olive oil in a saucepan. Cook garlic and shallot until softened, about two minutes.
  4. Stir in black olives and sun-dried tomatoes and cook until heated through, about two minutes.
  5. Pour in remaining 1 c broth and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce has reduced, about eight minutes.
  6. Combine couscous, sauce, pine nuts, and parsley, mixing well.

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Serves eight.

Adapted from Couscous with Olives and Sun-Dried Tomato.

Recipe: Coleslaw

It’s 4th of July weekend, and you know what goes well with burgers, fireworks, and independence? COLESLAW. Trick all the Ricks in your life and bring this tasty vegan slaw to share at a cook out. Or, make it and keep it all to yourself. This is a judgment free zone.

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Ingredients

1 head of green cabbage
1 carrot
1 c organic Vegenaise
2 T coconut milk
2 T white vinegar
2 T cane sugar
1/2 t sea salt
1 t black pepper
1/2 t celery salt

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Never underestimate the power of a sad looking carrot in the bottom of your vegetable crisper. It may no longer be a crunchy, raw delight but it can be roasted. It can be baked into a cake. It can be shredded into slaw. It can be born again, honey!

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  1. Shred the cabbage and carrot in a food processor, or chop coarsely by hand.
  2. In the serving bowl, combine the Vegenaise, milk, vinegar, sugar, sea salt, pepper, and celery salt.
  3. Stir the cabbage / carrot mixture into the dressing until well combined. Cover and refrigerate if not serving immediately.

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Serves eight.

Adapted from Cabbage Slaw Recipe.

Recipe: Roasted Beets and Sweets

 

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Ingredients

3 large beets*, peeled and diced
3 T olive oil, divided
3 sweet potatoes*, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 t garlic powder
1 t sea salt
1 t black pepper
1 t cane sugar**

*Bonus points if you use rainbow beets and different sweet potatoes. The more color, the better!

**Ditch the sugar to make this recipe paleo.

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  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. In a bowl, toss beets in 1 T olive oil until coated. Distribute evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.
  3. Rinse the bowl, then toss sweet potatoes, onion, garlic powder, sea salt, pepper, sugar, and 2 T olive oil until coated.
  4. Mix sweet potato mixture with the beets on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, stir the mixture, then bake another 25 minutes until all vegetables are tender.

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Serves six.

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Adapted from Roasted Beets ‘n’ Sweets.