Starchless Cauliflower, Goat Cheese and Almonds Bake

With a request to develop a “vegetarian, starchless bake”, the decision to use cauliflower as the main ingredient was quite obvious, as this vegetable’s texture when cooked is as close to that of potatoes.
In order to add color and different textures to the bake, while keeping preparation as uncomplicated as possible, I’ve added to it a mix of frozen vegetables, along with sliced almonds and two types of goat cheese. I then simply seasoned the mixture with freshly grated nutmeg and four peppers mix, and topped it with additional almonds and cheese, to create a tasty, crunchy topping. The result was a flavorful and aromatic bake that can be served on its own, as a light main course, or as a side dish. Try it and enjoy.

* Using frozen mixed vegetables makes for easier preparation. If you prefer to use fresh vegetables, steam them lightly before adding to the mixture.
* Due to the fact the bake contains no starches, a fairly long baking time is needed in order to stabilize it.
* If you can’t find wine soaked goat cheese, Pecorino or Parmesan cheeses can be used instead.
* The bake can be kept in the fridge, covered, for up to two days. To keep the crunchiness of the topping, make sure to reheat it in a toaster oven, not in the microwave.

Makes: 10
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 1 hour 20 minutes

1 large head of cauliflower
½ cup water
3 L eggs
1 tsp salt
½ tsp each: freshly grated nutmeg, four peppers mix
2 cups frozen mix of carrots, peas and corn, thawed
½ cup sour cream
½ cup almond flakes
½ cup wine soaked goat cheese, finely grated (see notes)
4 oz (115 grams) fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled
For the topping:
½ cup wine soaked goat cheese, finely grated (see notes)
½ cup almond flakes

1. Trim the cauliflower, wash and place in a large flat pot, in one layer. Add the water, cover and steam over high heat, for about 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender. Strain, if needed, and mash coarsely with a potato masher. Measure 4 cups and place in a large bowl.

2. Preheat the oven to 370F (188C). Line a 12” x 8” (20.5cm x 30cm) pan with baking paper.
3. Add the eggs, salt, nutmeg and peppers mix to the mashed cauliflower, and mix well. Add the frozen vegetables, sour cream, almond flakes, grated goat cheese and crumbled fresh goat cheese. Mix gently, so that the fresh goat cheese chunks will still be visible. Pour the mixture into the lined pan and level the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the grated goat cheese and almonds for the topping all over.

4. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until the bake is set and the topping is golden.

Leeks and Cheeses Filo Bake

Leeks are at their best in the winter, and when I saw some fresh and plump ones, I immediately grabbed a few. I used a couple of them to make leeks and potatoes patties (recipe can be found HERE), and with the rest I’ve decided to prepare a filo bake. Continue reading

Zucchini, Cheese and Herbs Mini-Bakes

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Turkey, Leeks and Potatoes Meatloaf

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Sephardic Swiss Chard, Potatoes and Cheese Bake

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Mushrooms Tart with Potato Crust

Mushrooms Tart with Potato Crust

While we can get mushrooms year round, for some reason, winter always seems like a more appropriate season for mushroom dishes.
This easy and tasty tart is a good example for such dishes. It is hearty yet not too heavy – just perfect for a cold days lunch or dinner.
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Mushrooms and Sweet Potato Mini-Bakes

Mushrooms and Sweet Potato Mini-Bakes Ronit Penso

Baked mushrooms casserole is a favorite of mine, and as Thanksgiving dinner is approaching rapidly, I’ve decided to experiment with my original recipe, to make it more suitable for the holiday.

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Zucchini Cheese Bake with Hazelnuts Topping

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Asparagus, King Oyster Mushrooms and Goat cheese Tart Ronit Penso

Asparagus, King Oyster Mushrooms and Goat cheese Tart

Asparagus, King Oyster Mushrooms and Goat cheese Tart Ronit Penso

The combination of asparagus and mushrooms is one of my favorites. Their flavors and textures seem to work so well together. I like to sauté them together and mix with cooked pasta, grated Parmesan cheese and good olive oil, or serve with polenta.
But when I saw these wonderful King Oyster mushrooms at the store, I thought it would be a shame to just chop them, so I’ve decided to use their unique shape with whole asparagus in this tart, which is very quick and easy to assemble and is just perfect for brunch. Continue reading

Swiss Chard: Cheesy Bake and Spicy Salad

swiss chard cheese bake ronit pensoI’ve often wondered why the term “Swiss Chard” was used for a plant that originated in the Mediterranean basin and not in Switzerland.
Wikipedia gives this explanation “The word “Swiss” was used to distinguish chard from French spinach varieties by 19th century seed catalog publishers” – yet this still doesn’t explain why “Swiss” was chosen and not, say “Greek”… Who knows, maybe the catalog publishers were Swiss…

However, be it Swiss or not, Swiss chard is worth getting familiar with, and not only because of its’ highly nutritional values. Though similar in its’ uses to spinach, the chard leaves are firmer and have a more pronounced flavor, which make them much more suitable for bakes than spinach. Continue reading