This rich, creamy vegetable bake is reminiscent of scalloped potatoes, with added cauliflower. It’s sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, vegan, low glycemic and suitable for an anti-candida diet.
I’m so excited to have another fabulous recipe to share with you today from my friend Somer McCowan’s new book, The Abundance Diet: The 28-Day Plan to reinvent your health, lose weight, and discover the power of plant-based foods.
Now, don’t get nervous: I am not advocating a weight-loss diet here! (Those of you who know me know that I don’t believe in dieting, counting calories, points, carbs, etc.). So, that’s not what The Abundance Diet is all about!
As Somer says in her introduction, she uses the word “diet” in the classic sense, meaning, “the kinds of food that a person habitually eats.” So this book focuses on “diet” as a way of eating healthfully. Weight loss may be one of the consequences of eating this way, but improved health is the primary goal.
And with this book, you’ll achieve that goal pleasantly–along with some gorgeous food!
[How good do these Raw Cookie Bites look? Drool!]
The book is loaded with spectacular photos from Annie Oliverio (including the gorgeous cover photo above, which is also today’s featured recipe!).
Inside, you’ll find four parts: Part I, “Getting Started,” tells you all about Somer’s own journey back to health after a diagnosis and many years dealing with ulcerative colitis, a debilitating bowel disease. In addition, there are sections on assessing your relationship with food and “reinventing your kitchen”–a primer on how to stock a healthful pantry and refrigerator.
Part II, or “The 28-Day Plan” explains Somer’s philosophy behind the foods and why it’s not a conventional “diet.”
In Part III, “The Recipes,” you get the goods! From an entire chapter solely on Green Smoothies (yay!) to breakfasts, salads/dresssings, soups and stews, dips and “snackage” (love that!), main dishes and desserts and a bonus section on juice fasts.
Some of the recipes I have bookmarked include Island Bliss Green Smoothie, Razzleberry Lemonade, Chocolate Buttermilk Pancakes, Raw Neapolitan Overnight Oats, Black Bean Veggie Burger Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing, Tomato Basil Bisque, Vegan Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup), Cheesy Herb and Vegetable Crust Pizza, Homestyle Mexican Casserole, Blueberry Peach Tart with Apricot Crumble, Chocolate Orange Silk Mousse and Cherry Garcia Soft-Serve. But truthfully, there were loads more I want to try out, too.
While Somer does use bananas, dates and other dried fruits, I found that almost all of the recipes could be easily adapted to my special diet. Like me, Somer favors recipes made from real, whole foods, without artificial anything–so I found myself drooling over many a page in the book!
[BBQ “Bacon” baked Chickpeas look like the perfect snack!]
Finally, the book wraps up with Part IV, “Fitness and Maintenance,” a section on how to maintain your healthy eating beyond the 28 days of the book’s plan. Overall, this is far more than a cookbook; it’s a guide and resource for living a healthful lifestyle along with great food.
I had a tough time choosing a recipe to try, but finally settled on the Cheesy Cauliflower Potato Bake (with its interesting backstory–see the recipe note copied from the book, below).
[My own casserole of cheesy cauliflower-potato goodness!]
One of the HH’s favorite foods is Scalloped Potatoes, and he’s not a huge fan of cauliflower, so I thought this would be the perfect way to offer him something he already loves while sneaking in an extra veggie. The dish was so cheesy, smooth and creamy, with a crisply baked topping and bursting with melt-in-your-mouth chunks of potato and cauliflower, that he couldn’t resist. I just loved it, too.
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT THE BOOK: Due to an unfortunate printing error, the 28-day menus are absent from the book. You can download them directly from Somer’s blog, here.
Cheesy Cauliflower and Potato Bake
reprinted with permission from The Abundance Diet by Somer McCowan (© 2015, Vegan Heritage Press LLC)
This is a lighter and fresher version of an artery-clogging cholesterol-laden casserole made with potatoes, sour cream, cheese, butter, gelatinous cream-of-something soup, cornflakes coated in butter, and more cheese. This satisfying bake doesn’t leave you feeling like you need to take a nap afterwards.
2 large russet potatoes (1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice [I used redskinned potatoes for an ACD-friendly version]
1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets (4 heaped cups)
1/4 cup raw cashews (soaked 4 to 6 hours)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 tablespoons tapioca starch
1 tablespoon mellow white miso
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon dry sherry (optional) [I omitted]
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard powder
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast [can add more miso for ACD stage 2]
Dash of cayenne
Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large pot, bring 6 to 8 cups of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and cauliflower, reduce the heat to medium, and boil for 10 minutes. Don’t worry if the vegetables are still slightly firm, as they will continue cooking in the oven.
While the vegetables are cooking, make the cheesy sauce: In a blender or food processor, combine the cashews, almond milk, tapioca starch, miso, smoked paprika, garlic, salt, onion powder, vinegar, tomato paste, sherry, mustard powder, nutritional yeast, and cayenne and blend until completely smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes.
Drain the potatoes and cauliflower in a colander. Arrange the cooked vegetables in a lightly oiled 9×9-inch square casserole dish. Pour the cheesy sauce over the vegetables, gently folding the sauce into the vegetables if necessary.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is crusty and golden, the sauce is thickened, and the vegetables are completely cooked through. Makes 4 servings
Suitable for: ACD Stage 2 and beyond; sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, vegan, low glycemic.
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