Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Vegan French Food You say?....Vegan Vegetable Au Gratin with Vegan Bechamel Sauce!!!

Yummy, ooooey-gooooey and doesn't leave you feeling overindulgent and icky!  It may not be the most gorgeous presentation of food, but your taste buds would beg you to differ.

Granted, this is not one of the healthiest recipes on here, but you are featuring some powerhouse veggies!  I used swiss chard, broccoli, zucchini and cauliflower.  But you can use any vegetable that suits your palate or whatever is in you "plantry".  Kale would be absolutely fantastic in this dish!  Also, you don't always have to watch what you eat, especially when you are vegan.  Just make sure that you are getting a balance of everything your body needs.  If you are craving something, that usually means that your body is telling you something.

This recipe is great for left overs as well!  Tastes great when heated up!

Vegan Vegetable Au Gratin with Vegan Bechamel Sauce

Please do NOT get discouraged by the lengthy recipe.  It really only takes 45-60 minutes!  You won't regret it!

1/2 head cauliflower (keep in head form, do not cut into florets yet)
1/2 head large broccoli (keep in head form, do not cut into florets yet)
1 zucchini sliced with mandolin
1/2 yellow onion diced
2 clove garlic chopped
s + p
2 tsp cayenne pepper
"everyday" seasoning
1/3 c panko crumbs
shredded vegan shredded cheese (enough to sprinkle on top)
bechamel sauce (go to link of directions are below)

First you want to blanch both the cauliflower and broccoli heads (this is why you don't want to cut them into florets yet.  To do this, boil 1 large pot of salted water and set up and a bowl with water and ice.  Throw in either the cauliflower or broccoli in the boiling water for 2 minutes, then transfer to the ice bath and leave in for 2 minutes.  Repeat with the next veg.  With your hands, break each vegetable into florets and place in strainer to dry. (you do not want un-needed liquids when you are baking this!)  In the meantime, saute garlic and onions in saute pan with evoo for 2 min and then add zucchini.  Season and saute for an additional 3 minutes and set aside.  Preheat oven to 375.

Now it's time to make the vegan bechamel sauce:
2 tbsp vegan butter or EVOO
2 tbsp flour
2 c unsweented Almond Milk
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp dijon mustard (optional)
4 tbsp vegan shredded cheese (I use Follow Your Heart Brand) (optional)

First, you want to start by making a roux.  This will work best if use vegan butter, but I am sure it is doable with EVOO.  Heat vegan butter over med heat and melt, then add in flour. 
When mixture thins and starts to bubble, reduce heat to low and cut back on the whisking. Cook and mix for about 5 minutes.  Slowly whisk in almond milk and bring to a gentle simmer.  Stir frequently and add in the last four ingredients.  Mix thoroughly and simmer 5-10 minutes.  Season with s +p to taste.
In a 9x13 baking dish mix in all your vegetables so that they are evenly distributed.  Carefully pour your sauce over.  Sprinkle the panko crumbs over and follow with the shredded vegan cheddar cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes.  Then turn to broil and bake for an additional 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit to cool for about 5-10 minutes.


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