A flavorful and easy vegetarian Cauliflower Bolognese from Emilie Raffa’s new cookbook, The Clever Cookbook. Vegetarian + Optionally GF.
My friend Emilie, the creator of the popular blog The Clever Carrot, just published her first cookbook! I’m grateful to be part of this celebration of accomplishment, and joy and to share the love of simply good food with y’all! I’ve been a reader of The Clever Carrot for a long time and I’ve been soooo… looking forward to this. It’s finally here!
When I received Emilie’s new book, I couldn’t put it down. Rob had just returned home with the mail in hand. We were due in town and had to leave straight away. I ripped open the envelope and there it was; The Clever Cookbook. Rushing out the door, I took it with me and proceeded to turn page after page, gazing at Emilie’s beautiful photography and inspiring recipes. Every recipe has a photograph, y’all.
The Clever Cookbook; Get Ahead Strategies and Timesaving Tips for Stress-Free Home Cooking is chock full of timesaving tips and practical advice, from prep-ahead vegetables to batch-cooking grains, make preparing meals on busy nights a little less time consuming.
In addition to fabulous recipes, she shares quick tips to boost flavor without spending loads of extra time in the kitchen. Emilie not only uses these double-duty flavor boosters in her recipes, but shares tips on how to incorporate them in any recipe.
Have you ever dumped curry powder on your oatmeal instead of cinnamon? I’ve been there and laughed when I read about Emilie’s experience with this! Emilie shares tips to get organized in the spice department and how to make homemade spice blends, just one example of her flavor-boosting tips!
One of my favorite practical sections is on beans. Emilie shares how to prepare several varieties of beans from scratch, with or without soaking and in the slow cooker, taking the mystery out of how to cook beans.
But it’s not just the tips, recipes and photographs that give me reason to love this book. Emilie’s wit, humor and warmth shine in her casual style of writing. I feel as though I’m in the kitchen with her cooking, sharing stories with a glass of wine in hand.
There are so many recipes I want to share with y’all but eventually settled on Cauliflower Bolognese since cauliflower is so tasty and in season right now. And really, when I saw the photograph of this recipe, I just wanted to face-plant!
Others I’ve tagged for making posthaste include No-Peel Butternut Squash Soup, One-Pot Caribbean Black Beans & Couscous, Heaven on the Cob (hurry up Summer!!), Banana Cloud Cake, No Roll Blueberry Scones and Speedy Smashed Mediterranean Chickpeas. There are so many more.
While The Clever Cookbook is not purely vegetarian, some recipes are and many recipes are easily adaptable. Emilie’s book is one I’ll return to again and again for practical tips, inspiration, and delicious recipes. This book is not only clever, it’s brilliant! “Because at the end of the day, we all have to eat.”
*Congratulations to Carole, the winner of The Clever Cookbook Giveaway!
- 1 Small Head of Cauliflower
- 2 Tbs Unsalted Butter
- 1 C Diced Onions 160g
- 1 Clove Garlic grated
- 2, 28 oz Cans of Whole Plum Tomatoes in thick puree, [794g]
- 1/2 C Red Lentils uncooked 96g
- Coarse Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 lb Thin Spaghetti Gluten Free if needed 454g
- Drizzle of Olive Oil
- Leaves Handful of Fresh Basil
- Wedge of Parmesan Cheese for grating
Slice the cauliflower in half, removing the thick center core. Cut into large chunks. Add to a food processor, break up the cauliflower into florets. Do not dump all of the cauliflower at once. You'll need to process in batches to create uniform pieces. Pulse the cauliflower, only 1-2 times. It will look crumbly with small florets through-this is perfect. Dump the mixture into a large bowl and repeat this step until you've processed all of the cauliflower.
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, warm the butter over low heat. Add the onions and saute' until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
Add the cauliflower to the pot. Increase the heat to medium and continue to cook stirring occasionally until the cauliflower begins to lose its shape and takes on a light golden color, about 5-6 minutes. Grate in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the tomatoes and red lentils. Mix until well combined.
Place the lid on top and bring the sauce to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer (covered), for about 30 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for an additional 15 minutes or so, until the cauliflower is tender and the lentils are broken down. The sauce should look thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (See Note)
When you're about ready to eat, bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain* (See Note) and return to the pot. Drizzle with olive oil to coat.
Portion your hearty cauliflower sauce over the pasta and top with basil leaves and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve.
*I added about 1/2 a cup of pasta water to loosen the sauce a bit. Adjust to taste.
Recipe reprinted with permission from The Clever Cookbook by Emilie Raffa