All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014
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OK – in all fairness – this recipe has a lot of steps. Without a food processor – it might be too much of a pain in the ass to attempt. If you have a food processor & an afternoon to kill – this might be a fun project. It is pretty delicious – though not particularly healthy – despite the no-carb noodles made from cauliflower. This could be made vegan by subbing out the animal products with vegan alternatives but I will leave that to the motivated vegans out there. I don’t think I have to say “or vegan alternative” after every egg, butter or cheese ingredient for the vegans to work it out.
I used leftover arugula & pistachio pesto that I still had from my Arugula Pistachio Pesto Pasta with Goat Cheese and Ricotta Salata.
You can make this or any other pesto – or use a store-bought one.
Arugula Pistachio Pesto
This makes enough for at least a pound or two of pasta but it keeps well in an air-tight container in the fridge.
6 oz fresh arugula
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup Parmesan
1/4 cup pistachios (or other nuts)
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
I used 1/4 cup olive oil & 1/4 cup of water to thin the pesto. 1/2 cup of oil just seems crazy to me – but you can go all oil if you want to.
Blend into a pesto in a food processor – starting with just the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Drizzle more (or water) in as it purees until you get the consistency you like. Set aside.
I made a homemade bechamel but you could use a store-bought alfredo & get much the same results.
I used chopped mushrooms, leeks & Brussels sprouts – but any mix of sauteed vegetable would work.
I used this pink Himalayan salt that I have become obsessed with but any salt will do. And I used the Dash Onion & Herb seasoning but any Italian seasoning (or mix of onion & garlic powders) would be fine.
I used cauliflower “noodles” in this but real lasagna noodles work, too.
No-Carb Lasagna Noodles
1 large head cauliflower – riced (about 10 cups)
1 tsp salt
1 TBS seasoning (see above)
1 TBS oregano
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
I used a silicone cooking mat treated with cooking spray but greased parchment paper should work, too. Know that this stuff STICKS – even to the greased silicone mat – so – slather your cooking shit up.
Take the cauliflower & grate it up with the grater blade of a food processor – or with a manual grater – or get to chopping by hand until it has a rice-like look.
You can zap this in the microwave in 2 minute increments – stirring in between – until it softens but I loathe nuking things. I submerged the cauliflower in boiling water for about 5 minutes & then drained it in a colander under cold running water.
Once it is cool, in small batches, twist the cauliflower up in a kitchen town & wring as much moisture out of it as you can.
Then simply mix it up in a large bowl with the other ingredients & press it onto your well-greased cooking sheet (see images above). Bake it for about 45 minutes or until it begins to brown & is cooked pretty dry. Set aside & allow it to cool.
Garlicky Sauteed Brussels Sprouts, Mushrooms & Leeks
I made the mushrooms & leeks first & then decided to add Brussels sprouts so my photos might show a different cooking sequence but it can be done as I will outline now.
2 leeks – white sections only – chopped small
1/2 lb mushrooms – diced
1 lb Brussels sprouts – chopped or sliced fine
1 tsp each S&P
2 garlic cloves – minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley – chopped
It is important to cut the leeks & mushrooms & Brussels sprouts small so they do not stay too chunky & impede clean slicing of the lasagna.
I chopped the mushrooms & leeks & ran the Brussels sprouts through the slicer of my food processor.
Heat 2 (or so) TBS olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat & saute the Brussels sprouts until they begin to brown a bit. Add /4 water & steam them soft. Once the water is absorbed or evaporated – add the leeks & mushrooms & saute until tender – maybe 5 minutes. Stir in the S&P & the minced garlic and the parsley. Saute another minute & remove from heat. Set aside.
Herbed Goat Cheese Bechamel
2 cups almond (or other) milk
3 TBS butter
3 TBS flour
2 garlic cloves – minced
8-10 oz goat cheese – room temp
2 TBS chives (or other herb) – minced (optional)
Melt butter in a soup pan over med-high heat. Add the flour & garlic & whisk constantly until it thickens, begins to brown & becomes aromatic – maybe 2 minutes.
Add the milk in 1/4 cup increments & whisk it in until it incorporates & thickens before adding more milk. This should take maybe 5 minutes.
Add the goat cheese & chives & whisk until the goat cheese melts. Set aside.
Cauliflower Noodle Lasagna with Herbed Goat Cheese Bechamel and Garlicky Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms and Arugula Pistachio Pesto
Cauliflower “noodles” (recipe above) or real (cooked) lasagna noodles
1 cup pesto (recipe above) – or any pesto you prefer
Garlicky mushrooms, leeks & Brussels sprouts (recipe above) – or any cooked veggie mix you prefer
2-3 cups grated cheese (I used mozzarella)
Several hunks of fresh (packed in water) mozzarella (optional)
Parsley – chopped (as garnish)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
My photos show this lasagna cooked once & photographed & then reheated for a new photo session – hence the paler & more golden cheesy tops.
Prep your ingredients. Cut the cauliflower “noodles” into three equal portions – or however you can to get some layer-able “noodles.” Never fear if they break apart & stick a lot. Patch the pieces in & nobody will ever know the difference.
Assemble the lasagna. I started with a layer of bechamel (whisk it smooth if a skin has formed while it waited). Then I added the layers in this order:
1/3 of the cauliflower noodles
1/2 of the pesto
1/2 of the veggies
1/3 of the bechamel
another 1/3 of the cauliflower noodles
the other 1/2 of the pesto
the other 1/2 of the veggies
another 1/3 of the bechamel
Grated cheese – in an amount that looks good to you – I used about 1/2 – 3/4 cup
the final 1/3 of the cauliflower noodles
the rest of the bechamel
More grated cheese & some fresh mozzarella – if you are using it