Cauliflower Sauce Risotto with Herbs + Kale

Going dairy free or even just eating less dairy requires getting comfortable with getting creative in the kitchen and thinking outside the box. Making things creamy isn't easy when you don't eat half and half, milk or cheese. What then? Do you have to give up creamy comfort foods for good? No, not exactly. 

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

My 5 top favorite plants to cream things up:

  1. Cashews
  2. Potatoes
  3. Cauliflower
  4. Tofu
  5. Dairy-free Yogurt and/or Milks combined with nutritional yeast
Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny
Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

Today I'm going to introduce you to a creamy cauliflower sauce that works well for risotto or as a soup base or even a vegan fettuccini. This recipe is adapted from the wonderful Pinch Of Yum blog. I had yet to make one of their recipes before but seriously drool at every photo of their plant-based creations. This recipe is originally not vegan, it's made with chicken stock and real butter. So I adapted it to fit my diet. And it worked very well. The sauce gets an A in my book. 

This risotto is really simple and basic but is garlic-y and really really creamy! The color of the sauce also gives the illusion of dairy, which is nice because comfort foods are all about past memories. Physiology studies show that comfort foods we crave are actually artifacts from our past. Crazy right?

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

What are your comfort foods? I'd love to try and recreate them without dairy or meat. Let me know if you have any suggestions or foods you just can't live without that you'd like to give a makeover. Do you have any other memories associated with food?

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

I personally crave bagels! All throughout high school I was obsessed with bagels. I ate them daily topped with honey, cream cheese, butter with salt, berry jam or even almond butter. I mostly crave cream cheese. I shared a photo on Instagram the other day of my everything bagel (gluten-free) topped with Kite Hill cream cheese (dairy free). It did the trick. Craving cured. 

Back to this recipe (wink) - it was also approved by my kids. That's a big deal. When my kids like something I know it's a winner because it's hard to find something that both kids and parents will eat that is healthy. They truly loved it. Also, If you are still new to being dairy free then add some regular parmesan to this dish after making it. Just fold in the parmesan shreds. You will think the entire dish was made from cheese. Just a little goes a long way. Trust me. My mom tested this out and she loved it. She said she didn't need to add the parmesan at all but even just a little bit did add that cheese flavor she was craving.  Plus it's topped with healthy fibrous toasty kale

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny
Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto Recipe

Yields 4 dinners

INGREDIENTS

Risotto

  • 1 1/2 cup dry uncooked risotto rice
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 cubes or tsp bouillon 
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 7 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 3 Tbsp vegan butter (I used Myconos)
  • 1/2 cup soaked cashews
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup of lightly dried or fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley and basil  

Garnishes (optional)

Kale Chips:

  • 1/2 head kale, chopped into 1-2 inch strips
  • 1 tsp olive oil or avocado oil
  • sea salt + pepper

Vegan Cashew Parmesan Cheese

DIRECTIONS

Prep:

  1. Cook the risotto rice in the same way you would cook normal white or brown rice. I used a rice cooker. 
  2. Set the cashews in a bowl covered with water and let them soak. 
  3. Preheat oven to 400 for the kale chips. 
  4. Get out the following: food processor to blend the sauce, blender for the cashew cream, a cookie sheet to make the kale chips, a saucepan for the onion and garlic and large pot for boiling the cauliflower. 

Now Get Cooking:

Cauliflower:

  1. Cut the large stem off the cauliflower. Chop the rest into big pieces. Set the cauliflower in a large pot on the stove. Cover it with the 6 cups of water and the bouillon cubes/paste. 
  2. Boil the broth. And then turn the head down to medium/low and cook covered with the lid until cauliflower is soft and fully cooked. About 8 or so minutes. Do not discard the water.
  3. Using a slotted spoon you'll want to remove the cauliflower from the hot broth and put it into a food processor for blending. 

Onion, Butter & Garlic: 

  1. Add the butter and onion only to a saucepan on medium heat. Let the onions cook for about 5 minutes until they are translucent and start to caramelize a little on the edges.
  2. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute. Remove from heat. 
  3. Add this mixture to the cauliflower in the food processor bowl. 

Cashew Cream:

  1. Add the soaked cashews to a blender with 1 cup water. Blend this up until creamy. 
  2. Add 1/2 cup this cream to the food processor bowl with the cauliflower and butter mixture. 
Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

The Cauliflower Sauce:

  1. Now that everything is in the food processor you'll want to add the salt and pepper. 
  2. Blend away. And keep adding the cauliflower broth for more liquid if needed. You don't want this sauce to be super duper creamy and thick. But you don't want it to be a soup either. So play around and keep adding broth by a spoonful until you have the perfect texture. No chunks. 

Risotto:

  1. Add the cauliflower sauce to the warm risotto rice. Blend gently with a large slotted spoon or wooden spoon. Gently fold the sauce into the rice. Add all the fresh or lightly dried herbs. 

Mini Kale Chips (optional):

  1. Chop the kale. Large stems removed. Add the pieces to a cookie sheet. 
  2. Gently massage the olive oil, salt and pepper into the kale. 
  3. Lay the pieces evenly across the cookie sheet. Do not overlap. 
  4. Cook about 6 minutes in the oven. You'll know when they are done. They are very flat and the color changes to a darker brown. They should not be burnt
  5. Garnish the risotto with these little kale chips. 
Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

If you're in the mood to really play around with innovative ways to make creamy foods without dairy, sign up for my newsletter because I am sharing a homemade ricotta recipe that uses macadamia nuts and is to die for. You can use it in so many recipes to add serious creaminess. The texture is similar to goat cheese. 

Magical No-Cook Creamy Marinara

I have shared a variation of this magical tomato sauce a few times on the blog already. But never have I given up my original secret recipe...until now!

No Cook Marinara Ready in Minutes | Weekly Must Make Recipe | Vegan #puremamas Recipe

I have many exciting, delicious and healthy recipes accumulated here on the blog, but some of them I have made only twice ever; which is crazy to think because so many are so good. But I am constantly coming up with new ideas that old ones rarely make a comeback.

However, this recipe is different. I have made it over 200 times - not kidding by the way (!!) We make it every week; sometimes twice a week. I use it on pasta, over zucchini noodles, as a pizza sauce or lasagna sauce. It is a great go-to when I have unexpected guests because I usually always have the ingredients in my pantry and fridge.

Tip: I often make a batch of this for babysitters because then all they have to do is boil up some pasta for the kids and then add this sauce. Super easy. Super healthy. I love to pair it with a green smoothie (try my easy green drinks or try my green milk recipe) that way the kids get loads of veggies, protein and fruit in one meal. Smoothie plus this pasta recipe takes less than 20 minutes to whip up. 

Super Easy, Quick, Healthy, No Cook (raw vegan) Marinara Recipe that the entire family will love! | #vegan #puremamas
Raw Vegan Marinara Pasta Recipe | Easy, Healthy, No Cook Sauce | #puremamas Recipe

But usually, this marinara is made weekly for my kids. There is something about the no-chucks that makes it a win for the whole family. And the fact that it takes such little time to whip up. I will never forget the first time they saw what I put into the blender before making it and they were shocked: "you put all that into the sauce?" 

When baby sitters and friends and family taste this pasta they almost instantly ask for the recipe. Or I get a text the next day "where can I find the marinara recipe from last night?" It’s got a really clean and "magical" feeling because it’s flavorful and it’s raw (meaning, made with fresh raw ingredients, not cooked). 

Fresh Homemade Marinara Recipe - A No Cook Sauce - Raw Vegan - Healthy, Simple and Kid APPROVED! #puremamas

I know people argue that cooking tomatoes is a healthier way of eating them. But I’m still having a hard time accepting these findings - I feel like fresh tomatoes are so amazing and why cook those fresh flavors away? I find the taste of raw tomatoes to be much more desirable and there is something about cooked/stewed/canned tomatoes that is much more acidic tasting.

Fact: my son doesn’t do well with cooked tomatoes and when he was a baby he threw up his spaghetti almost instantaneously - until I created this sauce. Now he eats it all the time and loves spaghetti again. Thank goodness. Is there a connection? Not sure. But I like to think so. 

Kid Friendly Marinara that The Whole Family Will Love! Magical Marinara Recipe #puremamas #vegan #plant-based

Additionally, cooking (roasting, stewing or even using canned tomatoes) tomato sauce takes so much longer. First you heat the oil and soften the garlic and other veggies. Then add the canned tomatoes, blah blah. When you’re in a hurry, you want homemade (as opposed to popping open a jar), but don't have time to cook, this recipe is your savior. 

Raw Vegan Family Friendly Marinara Recipe | Plant-based | Healthy #dairyfree #glutenfree #puremamas

The list of ingredients might seem like a laundry list but in fact once you make this a few times you won’t need to measure anymore. Guessing works well and playing around with your own measurements is fun, too. But stick with the recipe until you have a good grasp on proportions. And then you'll be able to whip it up any night in just minutes. 

Magical Tomato Sauce

Yields approx 18oz sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups chopped raw tomatoes or cherry/baby tomatoes (not chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • ¼ cup miso paste
  • ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp agave nectar or 2 heaping Tbsp cane sugar or honey
  • 2 large cloves raw garlic (or preferably a heaping tsp of Majestic Garlic spread)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 squirt (1 Tbsp) sriracha (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a high speed blender jar add all of the ingredients. Blend on medium and then high until everything is creamy and no chunks remain.
  2. Top your favorite noodles with the wonderful sauce and garnish with cashew parmesan cheese and tons of fresh basil.

  3. Enjoy!

Variations: You can add fresh basil and/or oregano to the sauce before blending for added flavors and nutrients. If you do not have issues with dairy, feel free to add parmesan cheese. Trying to eat less dairy but can't give up parmesan cheese - I recommend starting with this Go Veggie parm, it's AMAZING! 

Also, try this sauce in your next lasagna. It's a game changer. 

no cook marinara sauce #vegan #gluten-free #familyfriendly | ready in minutes | recipe via #puremamas

Thanks in advance for trying any of my recipes. I would love to see what your final dishes look like - please tag me on social or leave me a comment. I so appreciate all the feedback. Good or bad. Questions or thoughts! Everything is welcome. @julinovotny on Instagram or tag #puremamas 

"Cheesy" Crispy Baked Fries [nut free | dairy free | vegan]

I love love love potatoes. And of course, so do my kids. We devour them in minutes around here. We dip them in all sorts of sauces - aioli, pesto, ketchup, mayo, bbq sauce and today: cheese sauce (plant based cheese sauce, of course!). 

This time my cheese sauce is nut-free. I usually use cashew sauce for creaminess but this time I used pepitas (pumpkin seeds) instead. 

#puremamas @JuliNovotny Crispy Fries Recipe || Vegan Cheese Sauce Recipe
Crispy Baked French Fries | Recipe via @julinovotny #puremamas | vegan & gluten-free

Everybody always asks me how to get the fries to taste crispy! I have an answer for you: corn starch! You don't need more than 1 Tbsp of corn starch to crisp them up and it's an optional ingredient. If you want to keep your cuisine cleaner and not use powders, then great, you do not need to add it. But don't expect your fries to be overly crispy unless you cook them for a really long time and most of the moisture is gone. That works too but the fries tend to be almost rock hard. 

Crispy Potato Fries || Cheese Sauce (vegan + nut free) || Recipe via #puremamas @JuliNovotny

The Kennebec potato seems to work best for me. It's got a really soft skin and they are easy to cut. Much easier than a russet or sweet potato. They also cook quickly and crisp up really nicely. 

Half of my potatoes were cooked on a deep dish baking sheet but one had parchment and the other did not. I prefer the cooking without the parchment for quicker cooking potatoes and crisper texture. But, of course that means I might have to scrub the pan a bit harder at clean up. 

Crispy Baked Fries Recipe

Yields 2 cookie sheets or 2 medium bowls full

INGREDIENTS

  • 4-5 Kennebec Potatoes (keep skin on), cut into long chunky slices
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • 3 pinches of sea salt

 

  • Zip lock bag, freezer size (for mixing ingredients)
  • Oil for baking pan/tray or parchment paper for lining pan/tray (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 430 degrees F (convection bake). 
  2. In a zip lock baggie combine everything but the oil/parchment for the pan. Seal the zip lock bag and shake and mix with hands.
  3. Once potatoes are completely coated, spread out evenly onto lightly oiled baking trays (or covered in parchment). Do not overlap potatoes. 
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes, depending on oven. Keep an eye out because if they do not have parchment paper they are quicker to cook and if they are thinner chunks of potato they are also cook quickly. So cook time will vary. They are done when both sides are browned. I like to swap trays from top tack to bottom rack and bottom rack to top rack for even cooking. 
  5. Once fries are done, remove them with a metal spatula so they don't get crushed or mangled. 
  6. Dip in your favorite sauce. See below for my nut free vegan cheese sauce recipe. 

Cheesy Sauce [nut-free version]

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Blend everything up in a blender on medium and then high speed. You'll have to scrape the sides of the blender a few times to get it all mixed evenly. 
  2. This will take about 2 minutes to get all the chunks removed and evenly mixed and creamy. Add more water if necessary. 
  3. Use this sauce as a dipping sauce or just squeeze it all over the fries before serving. We did the latter and dipped the cheesy fries into bbq sauce. So good. 
I'd love it if you would  pin this image to Pinterest ; It would make my day! Have a wonderful week everybody!  And if you decide to make the recipe,  please share your image on Instagram , I'd love to see your creation. Feel free to tag #puremamas

I'd love it if you would pin this image to Pinterest; It would make my day! Have a wonderful week everybody!

And if you decide to make the recipe, please share your image on Instagram, I'd love to see your creation. Feel free to tag #puremamas

Raw Vegan Alfredo Sauce Over Kelp Noodles

I've been meaning to test out a few vegan Fettuccine Alfredo recipes lately but haven't really made it a priority because to be honest, I don't even know if I have ever really liked the traditional sauce. I can't put my finger on why it always turned me off, because I was a macaroni and cheese addict. You'd think they would go hand in hand for me. But nope