Here is a simple one I made a while ago. The Cookie Monster made me a pasta bake one evening, bless him, albeit using store-bought sauce (he’s good at eating, but not so good at cooking!) He inspired me to make my own pasta bake, homemade sauce and all, with some of my favourite ingredients: broccoli, tofu and nooch. Curious, or just plain weirded out? Keep reading, it gets better.
(Mum liked it too, and she’s had to cook tons of pasta for us over the years. I’ll take it if she likes it, I’ve passed the test.)
Prep time: 15-20 minutes*
Cooking time: 40 minutes total*
For the sauce:
400g cauliflower, roughly chopped (3 + 1/2 cups)
260ml unsweetened soya milk (1 cup + 1 tbsp)
6 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 small garlic cloves
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
100g tofu (3oz)
1 tsp vegan margarine (optional for extra creaminess)
a pinch of turmeric
a pinch of thyme
1/4 tsp nutmeg
juice of 1/2 lemon
For the crumbly topic:
1 slice gluten-free bread, toasted (or regular)
1 heaped tbsp nutritional yeast
And the rest:
425g broccoli and green beans, you decide how much of each you want (4 cups)
220g gluten-free spirelli (or regular pasta; farfalle looks really beautiful in this dish, too)
Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC. Grease a large ovenproof dish.
Steam the cauliflower for 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender, add the soya milk and begin blending. Add the other sauce ingredients, one by one, until all are used up and the sauce is smooth and creamy.
Steam the broccoli and green beans for 5-10 minutes. Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
Combine the pasta, broccoli, green beans and pasta sauce in a large bowl. Pour into the ovenproof dish.
In a small bowl, crumble the slice of toast with your hands (or blitz in a food processor), mix in the nutritional yeast, and sprinkle over the pasta.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
* Remember that you can easily multi-task when making this dish. While the vegetables are steaming you can also cook the pasta (I steam my vegetables over the pot of pasta), blend the sauce while the pasta is cooking, etc. And of course, clean up the kitchen and lay the table while the pasta is baking. Just remember to keep on eye on things.
• The tofu is where it’s at in this sauce. If you’ve ever added tofu to smoothies, you’ll know it’s the magic ingredients to make them silky smooth. Same with this sauce. Try it, I promise you won’t regret it.