Meatless Monday: Cheesy Cauliflower White Bean Gratin

I’m keeping it short and sweet today since my computer is about to self-destruct. I wish I was kidding. If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen me tweet that my computer has decided to no longer open programs (except the internet) and has a very full memory. Needless to say, I’m going to be buying an external hard drive and spending lots of time going through my archives. Joyous.

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Anyways, I’m pretty sure I should just start calling this “cheese + cauliflower” Monday since that seems to be the trend lately. What can I say? I’m slightly obsessed with loving the cheesy cauliflower bakes. This particular bake was inspired by the white bean gratin over at How Sweet It Is – if you haven’t seen Jessica’s blog, please go there immediately. Her recipes and photos will have you drooling for days.

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This cheesy bake makes a perfect side dish during the last little speck of winter that is lingering around. It’s also light enough to enjoy for a nice spring lunch eaten al fresco, or you know, in you’re cubicle while you look out of the window. Plus, it’s easily made vegan by using veg stock, omitting the cheese, and adding some nutritional yeast to the pureed bean and cauliflower mixture. Now, I only wish fixing my computer issues were that easy.

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Cheesy Cauliflower White Bean Gratin

Insipred by: How Sweet It Is

Yields: 6 side dish servings

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets and steamed

1/2 bunch of kale, de-stemmed and sliced into thin ribbons

2 cups canned or cooked white navy beans or other white beans, drained and rinsed

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 small onion, thinly sliced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup vegetable stock

1 tsp. dried thyme

1/4 cup unsweetened soymilk (if you only have the vanilla sweetened kind, use it! it tastes fine)

1/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

salt + pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Steam cauliflower by microwaving for 5-8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute. Add white beans to skillet and let them get warm for another 2 minutes.

3. Pour bean mixture to a large blender. Add 1/4 of the steamed cauliflower. Next, add stock, soymilk, a generous pinch of salt, fresh black pepper, and dried thyme. Blend until creamy. You can add a splash more stock or milk if you need to thin it out.

4. Place remaining cauliflower and kale into a casserole dish. Pour bean and cauliflower mixture over and toss until coated.

5. Spread ricotta cheese over mixture. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top.

6. Bake for 25-35 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.

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