Creamy cauliflower coconut pasta sauce

Another week has flown by in Melbourne and I am now getting into the rhythm of the city. I love the fact that practically everything is in walking distance and there is so much to see, do and eat, of course. My list of foodie places is growing everyday and am looking forward to trying them all out, eventually!

Adding to my healthy pantry! Emma Lauren Food.

Adding to my healthy pantry!

As well as dining out, I have been enjoying some delicious meals at home. I mentioned in my previous post that I will be adding to my healthy pantry each week to keep inspired to create healthy meals and treats. Yesterday I purchased chia seeds, unhulled tahini, coconut flakes and slivered almonds. Almond milk and coconut yoghurt are staples on my weekly shopping list, along with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Creamy cauliflower coconut sauce. Emma Lauren Food.

Filled with Australian products

Not long before I moved to Melbourne, I was lucky enough to receive a Native Box from the lovely owners! As I’ve mentioned before, Native Box is packed with Australian eco-friendly products, sample and full-sized. Once again, I was amazed by the quality of the products and the size of them too! Included in this box was a full-sized packet of Orgran’s gluten free buckwheat pasta spirals which I used in my creamy pasta recipe featured in today’s post – that’s what I love about the Native Box, it allows you to try products you wouldn’t normally! I’ll definitely be purchasing this pasta again now that I know how delicious it is and will try out some more of the Orgrans product too!

Head over the to Native Box website to see how you can get your hands on one of these eco-friendly boxes and to learn more the company’s fantastic work!

Creamy cauliflower coconut pasta sauce. Emma Lauren Food.

Orgran buckwheat pasta that arrived in my Native Box!

The Orgran buckwheat pasta has an earthy flavour to it which complements the shiitake mushrooms and asparagus in the creamy sauce.

Creamy cauliflower coconut pasta sauce. Emma Lauren Food.

Cooked cauliflower

It’s important the cauliflower is completely cooked through so it can be blended easily. I love how the blended cauliflower takes on a cream-like texture; it is definitely going to become a substitute in many more of my recipes!

Creamy cauliflower coconut pasta sauce. Emma Lauren Food.

Aromatic

When the leek and garlic are cooked they release an aromatic smell that fills the room. I like to use leeks in my cooking when I am short on time or only want a subtle onion flavour. Plus, they are a beautiful green colour.

Creamy cauliflower coconut sauce. Emma Lauren Food.

Creamy sauce taking shape

By adding the blended cauliflower and coconut milk to the frypan, it allows the sauce to become fragrant due to the cooked leek and garlic.

Creamy cauliflower coconut sauce. Emma Lauren Food.

Adding the remaining ingredients

I’ve added shiitake mushrooms and asparagus to this sauce to enhance the flavour and texture. The mushrooms lend a ‘meatiness’ and the asparagus provides a crunch. Nutritional yeast adds the cheesy flavour to the sauce and is packed with vitamin B. It can be purchased from most health food stores or from your local supermarket in the health food aisle.

Creamy cauliflower coconut sauce. Emma Lauren Food.

Stirring through the cooked pasta

Once the pasta is al dente, add it to the creamy sauce and as the pasta is a spiral shape the sauce will cling to the ridges.

Creamy cauliflower coconut sauce. Emma Lauren Food.

Ready to be devoured

There are so many vegetables in this pasta, some obvious and others hidden – the cauliflower! I’m sure if you served this with just the creamy sauce, your guests would think they are enjoying an Alfredo pasta dish made with cream, little would they know it has been made with cauliflower!

Creamy cauliflower coconut sauce. Emma Lauren Food.

Bowl of creamy pasta!

This pasta will keep in the fridge for up to two days in a sealed container.

Now, all I feel like is a big bowl of this healthy pasta for dinner!

Creamy cauliflower coconut sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1/2 leek, washed and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, approx. 270mL
  • 3 TBSP nutritional yeast, extra for topping
  • 1 bunch asparagus, washed and chopped
  • 100g shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 250g buckwheat or gluten free pasta
  • 1 cup kale, washed and chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Add cauliflower florets to a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a rolling boil and cook for 5 – 7 minutes until tender then drain and set aside.
  2. Add coconut oil in a large frypan over medium heat and add leek and garlic. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes until softened.
  3. Add cooked cauliflower and coconut milk to a blender/Vitamix and blend until smooth.
  4. Add blended cauliflower and coconut to the cooked leek and garlic. Stir until well combined.
  5. Bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Add the pasta and boil for time instructed on the packet.
  6. Stir in the nutritional yeast, asparagus and shiitake mushrooms to the sauce.
  7. Drain pasta in a colander, reserving 1 cup liquid in case sauce becomes too dry.
  8. Add pasta and kale to sauce in frypan and cook until sauce begins to cling to pasta, 1 – 2 minutes. If it’s too dry, add a little pasta liquid and stir it through.
  9. Divide among bowls or serve on a large plate, top with extra nutritional yeast and enjoy!
Creamy cauliflower coconut sauce. Emma Lauren Food.

Dinner is served!

This pasta dish was served with a side of sweet potato and potato wedges, and hummus.

I hope you all enjoy this meal during the coming winter, it’s a quick yet comforting mid-week meal!

Raw coconut chocolate salted caramel slice

It’s been a week since I moved to Melbourne and I’ve finally settled into my own place. As I’m working in the CBD, it has been great exploring new cafes and have already found some that will become my go-to places for coffee and lunch during the week.

Green Press in Melbourne CBD. Emma Lauren Food.

Colourful salads from Green Press

If you haven’t already been to Green Press, do yourself a favour and go! It has an array of healthy vegan salads to choose from, changing almost daily. There is the option to add chicken, beef and falafels on top. They also offer some breakfast items and sweet treats, along with pressed juices.

I enjoyed this so much that I went back again on Thursday for lunch!

Almond milk latte from Madamimadam. Emma Lauren Food.

Almond milk latte from Madamimadam

Madamimadam is a cool cafe down one of the many side streets in the CBD. It was quite busy the morning I went so that is usually a good sign. They make their own cold pressed almond milk which tasted amazing in my latte. Will definitely be heading here when I need my caffeine fix for the day!

Pantry essentials. Emma Lauren Food.

Pantry essentials

Now that I’ve moved into my own place, I have already started stocking up my healthy pantry. To start with I’ve purchased almond milk, cacao powder, coconut nectar, buckwheat flour, buckwheat groats, coconut oil, almond butter, coconut yoghurt and Himalayan pink salt. I look forward to adding to this each week.

Raw coconut chocolate salted caramel slice. Emma Lauren Food.

Almond milk latte from Forest Green

Today, an early morning walk was on the cards as I wanted to explore the area I’ve moved to. I came across Forest Green, a nice cafe on High Street, and fortunately they stocked almond milk. So, I enjoyed a latte whilst reading the paper. I always like to have a look at the menu even if I’m not ordering food and Forest Green’s menu sounds really delicious so will have to go back for breakfast one morning.

Raw coconut chocolate salted caramel slice. Emma Lauren Food.

Choc-coco base

Since arriving in Melbourne, I was fortunate enough to stay with my good friend and her family until I found more permanent accommodation. As a thank you, I made dinner and dessert for them on Saturday evening. Dinner consisted of roasted pumpkin stuffed with moroccan spiced lamb and dessert was this indulgent slice.

Raw coconut chocolate salted caramel slice. Emma Lauren Food.

Smooth chocolate layer

I wanted the different layers to consist of different textures. The base was slightly chewy, the chocolate was smooth and the salted caramel had little bits of crunch to it.

Raw coconut chocolate salted caramel slice. Emma Lauren Food.

Chocolate layer

The chocolate was glossy in appearance and as it’s quite rich only a thin layer was needed. I used coconut oil as one of the ingredients as it sets quite quickly and is easy to cut through.

Raw coconut chocolate salted caramel slice. Emma Lauren Food.

Salted caramel…YUM!

The salted caramel really enhances the flavour of the slice and is very simple to make, only three ingredients needed.

Raw coconut chocolate salted caramel slice. Emma Lauren Food.

Final layer

This recipe purposely makes a small batch as now I’m living on my own I don’t have anyone to eat all these goodies. If you’d like to make more, just double or triple the ingredients.

Raw coconut chocolate salted caramel slice. Emma Lauren Food.

Indulgent squares

This slice will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to two weeks.

Raw coconut chocolate salted caramel slice

Makes 6 slices

Ingredients:

Base
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, extra for decoration
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 2 TBSP cacao powder
  • 1 TBSP coconut nectar*
Chocolate
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 2 TBSP cacao powder
  • 1 TBSP coconut nectar*
Salted caramel
  • 1 TBSP almond butter
  • 1 tsp coconut nectar*
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Method:

  1. Line a small baking tin with baking paper.
  2. Mix base ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. Press into prepared baking tin and should be about 1cm thick. Set in the freezer.
  4. Mix chocolate ingredients together and pour over base. Return to freezer.
  5. Mix salted caramel ingredients together and spread over chocolate. Set in the fridge.
  6. Cut into slices and enjoy!

Note: you can substitute the coconut nectar for honey, 100% pure maple syrup or rice malt syrup – may have to adjust quantities to suit your taste buds!

Raw coconut chocolate salted caramel slice. Emma Lauren Food.

Layers of goodness

These are not very thick but are quite rich so a little slice goes a long way.

I hope you’ve all enjoyed your Easter long weekend and have indulged in some healthy chocolate treats!

Chocolate – that’s healthy, vegan and refined sugar free!

Before I share the decadent chocolate recipe, I have some exciting news to tell you. It’s not blog related, but more on a personal note – I am moving to Melbourne! I’ve been offered an amazing career opportunity and am very much looking forward to checking out all the amazing cafes and restaurants the city has to offer!

If you have any favourite places to eat, I would love to hear from you so I too can try them out.

Now, moving onto the much anticipated chocolate recipe. This is definitely one to make over the coming Easter period as it’s prime time to indulge in chocolate.

Chocolate - that's healthy, and vegan! Emma Lauren Food.

Cacao butter melting

I’ve use cacao butter as it ensures the chocolate remains solidified longer, meaning it won’t melt as quickly as using only coconut oil.

Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and refined sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Adding in the cacao powder

Cacao powder is what makes this chocolate chocolatey and is considered a superfood due to its high nutrient and antioxidant value.

Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Glossy appearance

I just love how the chocolate takes on a glossy appearance once all mixed together, makes you want to eat it by the spoonful.

Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and refined sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Lined tray

By lining a baking tray, this ensures the chocolate does not stick and can be easily removed once solidified.

Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and refined sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Variety of toppings

What I love most about this chocolate is the toppings you can add. The combinations are only limited by your imagination!

Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and refined sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Pouring into the tray

The consistency should be thin enough to pour straight into the prepared tray.

Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and refined sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Spread evenly

Once all has been poured, spread the chocolate evenly over the tray as quickly as possible. Once the cacao butter starts to cool, it will start to solidify.

Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Ready for toppings

Now it has been evenly spread, the chocolate is ready to be decadently decorated.

Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Designer chocolate

You could say this is designer chocolate, but homemade and healthy!

Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Variety of toppings

The decadent toppings I chose were from left to right: goji berries and coconut chips; pistachios, cacao nibs and buckwheat groats; and salted caramel macadamia.

This chocolate will keep in the freezer in a sealed container for up to one week, if it lasts that long that is.

Chocolate

Makes a lot!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cacao butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups cacao powder
  • 2/3 cup 100% pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Melt cacao butter over low heat in a small saucepan.
  2. Line baking tray with baking paper (the size of the tray was 18 x 28cm).
  3. Place all ingredients in a medium size mixing bowl and mix until well combined.
  4. Pour chocolate onto prepared baking tray.
  5. Add toppings of your choice.
  6. Place in freezer for 1 hour or until hardened.
  7. Cut into pieces and enjoy!
Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and refined sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Salted caramel macadamia chocolate

To make this decadent topping, for the caramel I mixed 1 TBSP almond butter with 1 TBSP 100% pure maple syrup with a pinch of salt. Chop macadamia nuts and sprinkle on top of chocolate and add dollops of salted caramel. Set in the freezer, then enjoy!

 

Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and refined sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Goji coconut chocolate and pistachio cacao buckwheat chocolate

I sprinkled enough of each ingredient to cover the surface, then placed it in the freezer to set!

Chocolate - that's healthy, vegan and refined sugar free! Emma Lauren Food.

Coconut salt chocolate

This topping is simple, coconut chips and salt. Perfect for those who are unable to eat nuts!

I hope you all enjoy this chocolate recipe over Easter and throughout the year too. Comforting to know you can indulge in decadence that is actually healthy!