Recipe Confidence: Vegan Zucchini Butter + Cauliflower Cheese

Vegan Zucchini Butter and Cauliflower Cheese | vermilionroots.com. These vegan condiments can be spread thickly on toast, stirred generously into pasta or used as dips without the worry of saturated fat and calories.

Say what? Yes, you heard it right. Butter made of zucchini and cheese made of cauliflower. The Internet is a great resource for recipes. Too much zucchini from the garden? Google "what to do with large amounts of zucchini" and zucchini butter shows up as a solution. Recently turned vegan and missing cheese? Cauliflower blended with nutritional yeast may be the answer. They are made of vegetables and good for you, not to mention high in fiber and low in calories.

Adaptations: Zucchini butter
I found the zucchini butter recipe by chance, or rather out of desperation to use up the surplus of zucchini from our garden, on The Kitchn. The recipe entails cooking down zucchini with olive oil, garlic and shallots into a soft, spreadable consistency. Apart from using more zucchini than asked for, the only other adaptation I made was substituting shallots with yellow onion. 

Vegan Zucchini Butter and Cauliflower Cheese | vermilionroots.com. These vegan condiments can be spread thickly on toast, stirred generously into pasta or used as dips without the worry of saturated fat and calories.

Adaptations: Cauliflower cheese
The cauliflower cheese recipe has its origins in Oh She Glow's vegan alfredo sauce. I've heard about a magical cheesy vegan sauce made of the humble yet versatile cauliflower, and I thought it would make a good dairy-free spread for my sandwiches. Cauliflower and nutritional yeast seasoned with lemon juice, garlic, onion, salt and pepper make up the sauce in the original recipe. I wanted a punchier taste so I doubled the amount of nutritional yeast, added Dijon mustard, paprika powder and turmeric powder, and rounded up the overall flavor with a little maple syrup. 

Verdict
For a vegetable lover who avoids dairy and mayonnaise like myself, these vegan condiments work wonders, spread thickly on toast and sandwiches or stirred generously into pasta without the worry of saturated fat and calories. Use them as dips with raw vegetable sticks and crackers. Snack on them by the spoonful. They are easy to make, convenient to have in the refrigerator and delicious. But don't expect them to taste or behave like real butter and real cheese. They really are their own thing and much better enjoyed that way. 

Vegan Zucchini Butter and Cauliflower Cheese | vermilionroots.com. These vegan condiments can be spread thickly on toast, stirred generously into pasta or used as dips without the worry of saturated fat and calories.
Zucchini Butter
Adapted from The Kitchn. Makes about 2 cups.
2 to 2.5 pounds zucchini
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic bulbs, minced
1/4 yellow onion, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grate zucchini, drain in a colander for at least 10 minutes, and press out as much water as possible before you begin cooking.
Heat olive oil in a pot. In medium-low heat, sauté garlic and onion until soft and fragrant but not brown to avoid bitterness.
Mix in zucchini and cook over medium to medium-high heat until the zucchini turns soft and becomes spreadable, stirring frequently to prevent the bottom from being burned. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how smooth you want the butter to be. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Let cool and store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator. 

Vegan Zucchini Butter and Cauliflower Cheese | vermilionroots.com. These vegan condiments can be spread thickly on toast, stirred generously into pasta or use as dips without the worry of saturated fat and calories.
Cauliflower Cheese
Adapted from Oh She Glows. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
2 heaping cups cooked cauliflower florets
1/4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Cook cauliflower florets in boiling water until tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If mixture is too thick, add almond milk 1 tablespoon at a time and blend until desired consistency is achieved. The sauce should be thick and spreadable.
Transfer to an airtight jar and store in the refrigerator.