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.

Hazelnuts and Dried Cranberries Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal cookies are a favorite of mine: quick and easy to make, they can have a chewy or crispy texture, and can include many additions, such as dried fruits, chocolate chips, nuts and more.
When I was asked to develop a gluten-free version of these tasty cookies, I’ve decided not to include any unknown flour substitute mixes, and instead, experiment with an “all oats” version. Continue reading

Zucchini, Cheese and Herbs Mini-Bakes

These tasty mini bakes are perfect for a weekend brunch, as a side dish or a light snack any time of the day. Continue reading

Soba Noodles Salad with Peanut Butter and Tahini Dressing

Soba Noodles Peanut Salad Ronit Penso
If the cold weather outside makes you less enthusiastic about light, crispy-cold salads, here is a hearty and warming salad, that is perfect for the weather. Continue reading

Sephardic Swiss Chard, Potatoes and Cheese Bake

Sephardic Swiss Chard, Potatoes and Cheese Bake Ronit PensoThis tasty bake is well loved in the Sephardic cuisine (check HERE for information about it), and is traditionally served for Saturday brunch. The bake is usually served with Tzatziki (recipe can be found HERE), hard boiled eggs and fresh vegetables or vegetable salad. Another tasty option is to serve it with a bit of date or maple syrup. The combination of sweet and salty is addictive.

Continue reading

Meringue Nests with Meyer Lemon Curd

Meringue Nests with Meyer Lemon Curd Ronit Penso

Continuing with the meringue theme, here is another easy and tasty recipe that is just perfect for festive entertaining. This impressive dessert can be made ahead and assembled just before serving. It is light, flour-less, and wonderful when served after a heavy meal.
Continue reading

Crispy Flourless Sesame Seeds Cookies

Crispy Flourless Sesame Seeds Cookies Ronit PensoI came up with the recipe for these light and crispy cookies, as I wanted to create cookies that will contain sesame seeds as the main ingredient, and not just as an added garnish.
The result was just what I wanted – the sesame seeds’ unique flavor is dominant, and yet the cookies are light and airy.

Continue reading

Green Falafel (Chickpeas and Herbs Fritters)

Green Falafel Ronit penso These little chickpea fritters are known around the Middle East, Turkey, Greece and other countries, as a tasty street food. Every country has its own version, but aside from Egypt, where the dish is made with Fava beans, all others use chickpeas as the base for the dish.
The recipe here follows the Israeli version, which was introduced by Yemenite Jews. To this, other flavors were added with time, such as the spicy Moroccan Harissa (red hot peppers paste) and other seasonings.

Continue reading

Flourless Banana, Peanut Butter and Coconut Cookies, with Chocolate Drizzle

Flourless Coconut, Peanut Butter and Banana Cookies, Ronit PensoThese tasty and chewy cookies started with a minor disappointment: I’ve tried one of the popular recipes for flourless peanut butter cookies (the ones that contain only peanut butter, sugar (or sweetener) and an egg), and the result was not as exciting for me as it was for a lot of the online reviewers. I thought the cookies were on the boring side taste-wise, and found their texture too crumbly to handle.
However, by then I was already in “flourless peanut butter recipe” mood, so I started to add “this and that” to the original recipe. The cookies here are the result of that process.
They are tasty on their own right, but the chocolate drizzle adds another layer of flavor, which goes so well with all the ingredients.
Try them and decide for yourself.

Continue reading

Yogurt, Dried Apricots and Pistachios Squares

Yogurt, Dried Apricots and Pistachios Squares Ronit PensoCheese cakes are a favorite of mine, but at the same time, I find them quite heavy and sweet, not to mention it takes quite a bit of time to prepare and bake them properly.

So, I went on a mission to create a quick, lighter and less sweet version of cheese cake. I tried low-fat cream cheeses, but didn’t like the taste or texture. Instead, I’ve decided to try and bake a cake with thick yogurt and just loved the results. Continue reading