Quinoa and Cauliflower Cheese
How about this for a twist on a Great British Classic! Unlike a traditional cheese sauce, I don’t add any flour or indeed any cheese, but we’ve found some good alternatives. The quinoa thickens the mix a little as it cooks to make for a wonderful texture that coats and caresses the cauliflower without becoming stodgy. Always use all of the cauliflower, the leaves and ‘core’ of the cauli taste just as good as the florets and provide a vibrant green and some crunch. I always cook more than I need when I make this sort of dish, it’ll keep for a couple of days in the fridge and freezes well.
By Alex Mackay
Suitable for gluten-free and vegetarians
- 2 x 250g Pouch Merchant Gourmet Red & White Quinoa
- 200ml oat or almond milk
- 400ml vegetable stock
- 1 average sized untrimmed cauliflower
- 100g grated mature cheddar cheese (I used violife) alternative, plus 100g for the top
- 200g soft cheese alternative (I used violife)
- 100g baby spinach
- Salt, freshly ground black pepper
- Bring the vegetable stock to the boil with 1/2 tsp salt. Add the quinoa and the oat milk. Put a lid on the pan. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Stir in the baby spinach, once it wilts, stir the soft cheese alternative followed by the 100g grated cheddar cheese alternative. The texture should be quite saucy, if necessary, add a little hot water. Take the pan off the heat. Season to taste. Set aside.
- While the quinoa simmers, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and put a colander in your sink. Remove the green leaves and stalks from the outsides of the cauliflower. Slice them into 2cm chunks. Break the florets of cauliflower apart. Cut the ‘core’ into 1cm slices. Boil the cauliflower ‘core’ and greens for 2 minutes, add the florets and boil for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Drain thoroughly.
- Preheat your grill to its medium/high setting. Spread the cauliflower into an ovenproof dish then season to taste. Spoon the quinoa mixture over it. Gently fold the two together.
- Sprinkle the 100g of cheese over the top. Grill for 5-6 minutes or until bubbling and golden. (Keep a careful eye on this, grills, thus grilling times, vary enormously)
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