My iron-rich day and lightened-up cauliflower mac ‘n’ cheese – vegan, gluten free

What did my first full IRON-challenge day look like?  Well, it looked a bit like this:

Green tea green smoothie

spinach smoothie with strawberries

Followed by a bit of this:

curred hummus. oatcakes, carrot, celery

curried hummus with oatcakes and crudites

and finished with a bit of this:

cauliflower macaroni 'cheese' with kale salad

cauliflower macaroni ‘cheese’ with kale salad

IRON? By my calculations there was:

  • iron from the spinach in my smoothie (with a side of strawberries for Vitamin C).
  • a good portion of chickpeas at lunch with a multivitamin tablet to make sure I had Vitamin C (again) and then
  • kale and an iron-rich sauce over buckwheat pasta for dinner (the packet said 7% RDA iron per portion, but didn’t give a figure)

While it could just be the ‘placebo affect’ I think I am feeling less tired…barring a darkened meeting in the afternoon.  The presentation was fab 🙂 and woke me up, but the before and after had me flagging a little (if you were there, you know).  I’m going to keep focused on iron-rich foods and will see how I fair in my (self-imposed) fitness test next week!

Back to that Lightened up Cauliflower Mac’n’Cheese…

I had some butternut squash in the fridge which needed using up, so I baked it earlier in the week, without much thought into what I was going to do with it.  I decided on turning it into a vegan ‘cheese’ sauce – made with tofu for the iron count.  My Mum used to make cauliflower cheese occasionally with the Sunday roast in a rich cheesy sauce…mmm, but not so healthy. I didn’t think straight up cauliflower-cheese would be enough, so I made a ‘cauliflower-cheese, macaroni cheese’ hybrid.  We never actually had Mac ‘n’ Cheese at home growing up so it’s not something that naturally comes to mind, pasta was usually served as a bolognese, and then lasagne with the leftovers.

I was going to serve a side of broccoli (for iron), but i went to the Farmer’s Market at lunchtime and bought some kale, chard and – on the spur of the moment – a kohlrabi from the lovely people at Shillingford Organics.  A nice lemony kale salad would make the perfect accompaniment!

kale, kohlrabi, chard

farmer’s market treats

Vegan Cauliflower Mac’ n’ Cheese

For the sauce:

  • a hefty dose of roasted butternut squash – I think mine was about a third of one, but as they come in different sizes, that isn’t very helpful (sorry)
  • 50g silken tofu (I used Mori-nu)
  • 4 heaped teaspoons of Nutritional Yeast
  • water, to taste

For the Mac ‘n’ Cheese

  • a portion of cauliflower, steamed
  • a portion of cooked pasta of your choice (I used buckwheat)

For the kale salad

  • dinosaur kale (anything is more fun if you call it dinosaur)
  • sliced red onion
  • raw kohlrabi slices
  • cucumber slices
  • dressing made with 1/2 lemon (juice only) 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, a dash of tamari sauce, maple syrup (to taste)
vegan cheese sauce, butternut squash, tofu, nutritional yeast

before and after

I took the cheese sauce ingredients and put them in my blender.  Simples. 🙂 Add enough water to create the thickness you enjoy I think I would have added a bit of mustard to this sauce, as it was a bit bland.  BUT actually, it worked really well with the kale salad which was wonderfully sharp with the lemon juice.

vegan cauliflower macaroni cheese with butternut squashI put the cauliflower florets into the bottom of an oven proof container, and drizzled over some cheese sauce.  reserve a couple tablespoons of sauce and mix the pasta into what remains.  Pop this on top of the cauliflower, and cover the whole thing in the last of the cheese sauce.

Put it in the oven at 180C until heated through and the top is crispy.

To make the kale salad – add all the ingredients together.  Leave for ‘as long as possible’ I’m talking 1-8 hours not weeks!

Serve with a smile.

So on with the iron-challenge.  I was looking forward to having some raspberries for Vitamin C with my green smoothie this morning, but – without naming names, let’s say Bill Flowerpot (are you with me there?) – said he would get me some raspberries, but forgot.  So, I just had my green monster 🙂 with my usual lemon-water (does what it says on the tin – a slice of lemon in hot water).

I fancy a spaggy-bol over the weekend – can you point me in the direction of a good vegetarian version?


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One thought on “My iron-rich day and lightened-up cauliflower mac ‘n’ cheese – vegan, gluten free

  1. […] wanted mine wholegrain, and light.  I combined aspects of my low fat cauliflower sauce and my butternut cheese sauce, to create this yummy […]

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