If you have a nice head of cauliflower, you can put it to good use in this vegetarian entrée. I love the cheesy cauliflower flavor of it, pretty substantial served with a yam and a beet salad; a great meal. It isn’t that difficult to construct; the crust is shredded raw potatoes mixed with an egg and some salt and pressed into the pie pan. You bake it for about 45 minutes and then gently lay in some shredded cheese, then the cooked veggie filling, top it with more cheese, pour on the egg custard and sprinkle it with paprika before baking it to a crispy tender pie that should serve 6 unless you are piggish; then 5 large slices!
The no traditional pie crust makes this easy to create. Nothing tricky at all in this recipe. Just a few steps to put it together. It is pretty much naturally gluten free, just a bit of rice flour to dust the pan with; I dusted the excess right into the shredded potatoes. Just a bit of flour in the pie pan and in the crust.
Cauliflower Cheese Pie
POTATO CRUST: 1 tsp. sea salt
1 lg egg, beaten
1 -3 tsp. gf flour, divided
Directions: Heat oven to 400 degrees. 4 large potatoes; washed. I left them unpeeled but you can peel if you prefer to do that. Grate each whole potato on coarse side of a box grater. I did it right into a large mixing bowl. I like to press a couple paper towels on top to soak up any excess liquid. Add rest of ingredients and stir well. Press into a pie tin sprayed with cooking spray and then dusted with rice flour. I used a big spoon to lay it around the pan and then a fork to press it into the shape of the pie tin. I left a bit above the glass/metal rim to form a nice rim of the crust. Spray the potatoes all over with the cooking spray. Bake 40-45 minutes. Make the filling while it bakes.
About 3 cups cut up flowerets of raw cauliflower
1-2 Tbsp. mild olive oil or sunflower oil
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp. dried basil
Directions: Cut up the cauliflower; it was about ¾ of the head. Heat a ½ inch of water in a large sauté pan. Add the cauliflower, put a lid on and cook 5-6 minutes until just tender. Gently pour the pan into a large colander to drain well. Then heat the oil in the same pan. Add the chopped onion; sauté on low 5-6 minutes, I like to add a couple Tbsp of water to let it steam; then add the garlic, and then the dried herbs. Stir and let cook another minute. The onion should be soft, cook longer if needed. When done, turn heat off; gently add the drained cauliflower and a quarter to a half tsp sea salt. Mix gently. While the crust is still baking make the custard.
3 large eggs
½ cup whole or 2% milk
1 2/3 cup grated cheddar cheese: I used mostly sharp cheddar with a bit of Monterey Jack cheese too.
Directions: beat the eggs in a medium mixing bowl until fairly blended, add the milk.
When the crust comes out turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Pour half the grated cheese into the hot crust, distributing it evenly. Gently spoon the cauliflower filling on top. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Pour the custard in all over the top. Sprinkle well with paprika and bake 40 minutes; until the custard looks done. Let set 10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
It keeps 4-6 days in the fridge; well wrapped. I heat a slice at a time in the microwave. A lovely lunch indeed!