Pasta With Creamy Cauliflower Bechamel Sauce
Pasta With Creamy Cauliflower Bechamel Sauce
Everyone loves pasta. And everyone loves macaroni bechamel. I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t.
Unfortunately, when you are trying to eat clean, anti-inflammatory foods, it doesn’t quite make the cut.
The basic ingredients in macaroni bechamel:
- Wheat pasta
- Meat filling
Wheat pasta and flour contain gluten. Gluten is a gut irritant that makes tiny lacerations in the intestinal wall. These partially undigested food particles (gluten) leak into the system and cause inflammation, which can lead to a host of problems including weight gain, joint pain, muscle aches, headaches, acne and digestive problems. (Please note that any pain in the body can be a sign of inflammation.)
Dairy milk: Causes digestive upset and sensitivity due to lactose and casein. Dairy products are very mucous forming and may contribute to health problems, like sinus problems, ear infections, Type 1 diabetes, and chronic constipation. In addition, dairy products are filled with rBGH or bovine growth hormone, created to increase milk production in cows. When you consume dairy products, you are also consuming rBGH.
Butter: Most butter on the market is processed, not pure, raw butter—which is actually good for you.
Meat filling: Although there is nothing intrinsically unhealthy about the meat filling, the problem arises due to the fact that it is mixed with the starchy pasta. When you do that, you slow down your digestion and the food sits in your belly for many hours, causing discomfort. This is because proteins take the most time for the body to break down, so it’s best to combine protein with easily digestible, leafy green or non-starchy vegetables that aid in the absorption process.
So how can you still enjoy this dish? By upgrading your ingredients and tweaking it a little bit, you can make a healthier version that is not only tasty and guilt-free but goes easy on your digestion.
CREAMY CAULIFLOWER PASTA
3 Cups Brown Rice Pasta. Although a grain, brown rice is not refined as wheat is and is gluten-free. It is much easier on the digestive system.
Bechamel sauce — this sauce was created by one of my best friends. She has refused to take credit for it, even though it is really life changing in terms of how versatile it is in healthy cooking. I have used it for this recipe as well as for Zucchini (koussa) Bechamel, as a sauce for stir fried chicken and as a sauce for vegetables. It is an ingenious way to turn basic, sometimes, boring, dry, dishes into thick, creamy alternatives.
- One medium cauliflower head
- 3/4 can coconut milk (Many people worry about the fat content of coconut milk. Although it does contain significant amount of fat, this fat is the only type of fat your liver converts to energy instead of storing it as fat in your body. The fats from coconut milk (or coconuts in general) are also beneficial as antiviral and antibacterial agents.)
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- Sea salt, pepper, dash nutmeg
Vegetable Filling: Mixing vegetables and grains does not cause the same digestive upset as a protein/starch mix does.
- ½ red pepper
- ½ green or orange pepper
- 3 cups sliced mushrooms
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 tomatoes, chopped and seeds removed
- 1 TBS olive oil
- Sea salt, pepper, oregano to taste
Boil pasta according to package instructions and set aside.
For the sauce:
Chop up and boil cauliflower until soft. Add to a blender with the coconut milk and garlic clove, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Blend until consistency is smooth. You can add more coconut milk or boiling water if you feel it is too thick. Set aside.
For the filling:
Add the olive oil and all the vegetables to your pot at the same time on medium high heat. You don’t want to heat the oil ahead of time as this makes it rancid. Saute the vegetables until soft and the mixture forms a thick sauce. Season with salt, pepper and oregano to taste.
Assemble pasta. Mix some of the cauliflower sauce with the pasta until evenly coated and creamy. Pour a thin layer of the cauliflower sauce on the bottom of a pan; Add a layer of pasta; add all of the vegetable filling; then cover with one more layer of pasta. If you have any sauce left, you can cover the pasta with it. Sprinkle some more oregano over the top.
For more recipes for Sohour, Iftar and desserts as well as hydration and SOS tips..make sure you download your FREE Ramadan Guide here: http://danadinnawi.com/ramadan-guide/…
Dana Dinnawi is an Integrative Nutrition health coach specializing in empowering women to improve their health and family life. She received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where she studied more than one hundred dietary theories and a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods. She can be reached through her website and Facebook page.