A delicious family-friendly gluten-free rigatoni pasta bake recipe in a creamy dairy-free nut-free bechamel or white sauce with green chard and cauliflower.
Course: Main Dish
Keyword: pasta bake, rigatoni, vegan pasta
Servings: 3- 4
Author: Teenuja Dahari - veganlovlie.com
275gorange cauliflower[2 cups] cut into small florets (white cauliflower is fine too)
350ggreen chard[4 cups] cut into ribbons (Swiss/rainbow chard or beet greens, kale or spinach are also good substitute)
4 - 5sprigsfresh dill
300gcorn rigatoni pastaor other gluten-free pasta
1 1/2tablespooncoconut oilor vegan margarine or vegetable oil
4tablespoonsall-purpose flouror use rice flour for gluten-free
400mlcoconut milk [1 can] make your own using the homemade coconut, see notes
375mloat milk[1/2 cup] make your own of a thicker consistency, see notes
1/4teaspoondried chili flakes
2 - 3sprigsfresh thyme
Salt to taste
Breadcrumbs or crushed crackers for garnish
Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil.
Meanwhile, prep the vegetables. Cut the cauliflower into florets and cut the green chard into ribbons. Finely chop the dill and set aside.
Once water has reached full boil, drop the pasta in. Boil until the pasta is almost cooked or follow the package instructions and reduce the time indicated.
While pasta is boiling, lightly cook the vegetables.
In a skillet on medium-high temperature, add 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil. Add the cauliflower and cook covered for about 5 minutes while stirring occasionally. Add in the green chard and cover. Let the chard wilt for a few minutes then stir. Set the vegetables aside.
By now the pasta should be almost cooked. We want the pasta to be cooked only up to 75% as it will cook further while baking. So drain the water and set the pasta aside.
Make the white sauce.
In a pan, heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil on medium temperature. Add the flour and whisk to mix it thoroughly with the oil (a silicon whisk is very useful in this case). Make a roux by roasting the flour into the oil for about 3 to 4 minutes until the flour lightly changes colour to a golden beige.
Now lower the heat to a medium-low, and start adding in the coconut milk a little bit at a time while continuously stirring. If lumps start to form, turn the heat to even lower and continue to stir more vigorously while adding a little bit more of the coconut milk. Soon, the lumps should melt away leaving a creamy thick mixture. Next add in the oat milk and continue to stir. Add water if required if the mixture is too thick.
At this point you may turn off the heat or turn it to very low while adding the flavour ingredients into the sauce. So, add in the nutritional yeast, miso paste, chili flakes, Marmite, thyme leaves and salt to taste. The sauce is what will flavour the whole dish, so make it a little bit saltier than what you would normally have. When mixed with the pasta and veggies, it will be just right.
Turn the heat back to medium and simmer while stirring for a few more minutes until the sauce is neither too runny nor too thick.
Turn off the heat and set aside.
Make the pasta bake
Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can mix the pre-cooked vegetables with the pasta or leave them separate and layer them into the baking dish. Once mixed, fill a rectangular baking dish with half of the pasta and veggie mixture. Layer with half of the white sauce. Mix the sauce lightly with the pasta so that it seeps in between.
Sprinkle with some of the chopped dill.
Place another layer of pasta and vegetables followed by a top layer of the rest of the white sauce. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. I have used some crushed crackers instead of breadcrumbs. Use gluten-free breadcrumbs/crackers if needed. Sprinkle with some more dill.
Place in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until a nice golden crust is formed on top.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Accompany with a green salad and enjoy!