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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Vegan Au Gratin

This recipe was birthed from having a jar of nutritional yeast cheese in my fridge and a mess of potatoes.  I've been toying with the idea of going vegan for the summer, like a cleanse, so in order to prep myself I knew I'd have to start throwing some recipes into my rotation now. As winter has come to a close, I've got to eat up all my root veggies and get my cupboards and fridge ready for summer greens, tomatoes, fennel and all those luscious fresh summer crops. This is definitely a keeper, and can more than likely be adapted to a summer salad if the nutritional cheese is thinned out without cornstarch. Any who, even if you don't eat vegan, don't be afraid of this luscious, decadent au gratin.

Nutritional Yeast Cheese
 1/4 C nutritional yeast
2 T flour
1 T corn starch
1/2 t mustard
1/2 t salt
1 T olive oil
1 C water

In a sauce pan add nutritional yeast, flour, corn starch, mustard, salt, olive oil and water and whisk together over medium high heat until it starts to bubble. Boil for 1 minute, not stirring, then remove from heat and add pepper to taste. Set aside.

Vegan Pesto

1/4 C basil, freshly chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 T nutritional yeast
2 T nuts (walnuts, cashews, pine nuts)
2 T olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a food processor adding more oil if necessary. Pesto is all about texture, so modify as needed.

Au Gratin
(serves 4-6)

4 red potatoes, sliced into thin discs
1 t salt
1/4 C pesto
1 C nutritional cheese
1 T olive oil

Coat glass pan with oil and heat oven to 400. Place thinly sliced potatoes in layers in the pan, slightly overlapping. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Whisk pesto and cheese together, adding oil if necessary to thin the sauce. Spread evenly over potatoes. Cover dish with tinfoil and bake for 1 hour, or until potatoes are soft.

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