Plain on the outside, party on the inside.  This colorful dish serves a veggie-loving crowd who go for all things cheesy and saucy.  It’s not too spicy for the kiddos and is also enjoyed by adult guests who welcome a change from the standard mac and cheese.  If you’re in a hurry or just feeling lazy, you may top the dish with plain panko instead of the special crumb topping described here, although it does add an interesting touch.

Ingredients:

1 large yellow cauliflower (4 cups florets)

2 cups 1-inch-cubed potatoes

½ red bell pepper, diced

½ cup diced red onion

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

1 small jalapeno, minced (optional)

2 cups plain unsweetened nondairy milk

1 cup whole raw cashews

¼ cup nutritional yeast

2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

2 teaspoon chickenless base, such as Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base (or salt)

Salt and pepper to taste

Breadcrumb topping (see following recipe)

Thinly sliced scallions for garnish or chopped parsley

Directions:

1.      Place a steamer basket over boiling water and add the cubed potatoes, then add the cauliflower florets on top.  Steam for 8 minutes.

2.      Spray a 9×13-inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.  When the potatoes and cauliflower are finished steaming, drain them and add them to the casserole dish.

3.      Add the pepper, onion, peas, corn, and jalapeno to the casserole.  Salt and pepper the veggies lightly and stir them around.

4.      In a high-speed blender, combine the milk, cashews, yeast, lemon juice, garlic powder, mustard, and chickenless base.  Blend on high speed for 4 full minutes, until silky smooth.

5.      Pour the blender sauce over the veggies and stir them around to coat them evenly. Top with the breadcrumb mixture.

6.      Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, until nicely browned and bubbling hot.

7.      Garnish with scallions or parsley.

Breadcrumb Topping:

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

2 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon seasoning mix, such as Mrs. Dash

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon garlic powder.

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.  Keeps well in the fridge or freezer.