I'm still really enjoying National Vegetarian Week; I'd forgotten how easy it is to not eat meat. It really is easy. The options are endless. Every day I'm seeing incredible, new plant-based products in the supermarket. The weather had turned yesterday in London. We've gone from glorious sunshine to cold grey skies again, and I really wanted comfort food, specifically, southern American diner style comfort food. I picked up some veggie BBQ ribs, made with peanut and ready to pop straight in the oven, tick! You can't have ribs with mac'n'cheese. And greens. Comfort food doesn’t just have to be stodge, for me, garlic spring greens with bacon are the ultimate comfort vegetable dish. Sadly, all of the good vegetarian bacon substitutes contain gluten - no probs though, I'd just make some out of aubergine. Then there's the ultimate king of the diner menu dish - a blooming onion. They are heaven. A whole, deep fried onion, coated in a Cajun spiced crumb, that fans out like a huge flower, you pick the 'petals' and plunge them into a dip. The thought of getting the deep fryer out and making something deep fried though was not an option, for a start I didn't want to have to clean it afterwards, and I wanted something a bit more healthy, so I decided to find a way to bake one - it didn't disappoint!
- Prep Time20 min
- Cook Time45 min
- Total Time1 hr 5 min
- YieldServes 4
- 500g carrots
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 500g gluten free macaroni, cooked
- 300ml single cream
- 300g mature cheddar (grated)
- 1tsp salt
- 1tsp pepper
- 1tsp paprika
- 1tsp dried thyme
While your carrots are roasting, cook the gluten free macaroni for seven minutes and drain and rinse in cold water to stop it cooking any further. Keep this to one side.
Next grate the cheese all of the cheese, put about a third of it to one side (you’ll be sprinkling this on top).
When your carrots are cooked, take them out of the oven and chop into chunks that will fit easily into your food procecssor. Add 200ml of the non-dairy cream or cream, and process for about 2 minutes until they are a completely smooth paste.
Transfer the carrot paste into a large saucepan over a medium heat (you’ll need one big enough to stir in the pasta), this the base of your sauce.
Stir in the remaining cream, salt, pepper, paprika and thyme.
Add the cheese and keep stiring until it has all melted and the sauce is smooth.
Stir the cooked macaroni, until it is well combined and transfer to a large backing dish (you can even use the baking tin that you used for the carrots, that’ll save you on washing up)
Sprikle the remaining cheese over the top of the macaroni cheese and place in the oven for 20 minutes.
When the cheese is melted, golden and bubbling, remove it from the oven and dig in!