Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for creamy baked orzo with cauliflower, onions and mustard – The Guardian

Dijon mustard adds a soupçon of je ne sais quoi to this dish of orzo and cauliflower baked in a creamy, piquant sauce
Often, one ingredient in a dish will do a lot of heavy lifting, either boosting flavour or allowing other ingredients to shine. If we’re handing out awards, salt takes first place but, for me, dijon mustard isn’t too far behind. It always adds sass, tanginess and oomph to anything it touches, and without being abrasively hot or spicy. In today’s recipe, it’s not a dominant flavour, but it is the sun around which orzo, onions, lemon and cauliflower revolve.
You’ll need a 25cm x 30cm (or thereabouts) baking dish for the orzo and a large oven tray (or two smaller ones) for roasting the cauliflower. Not all vegetable stock is suitable for vegans, so remember to check the ingredients list.
Prep 10 min
Cook 1 hr
Serves 4
6 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions
, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and black pepper
1kg cauliflower
, leaves removed (800g net)
5 garlic cloves
, skin on and left whole
1 lemon, halved
400ml vegetable stock (made with 1 stock cube and 400ml water)
250ml vegan single cream
2 tbsp dijon mustard
300g orzo
Fine sea salt and black pepper

1 handful fresh parsley, very finely chopped
Heat the oven to 240C (220C fan)/475F/gas 9 and line a large oven tray (or two medium ones), ideally with reusable baking sheets.
Put three tablespoons of the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt, fry, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, until soft, reduced and caramelised, then take off the heat.
While the onion is cooking, break the cauliflower into 3cm pieces. Pop these on to the tray(s) with the whole garlic cloves and one of the lemon halves, drizzle with the remaining three tablespoons of oil and sprinkle over half a teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill. Mix gently with your hands to coat, then spread out into a single layer, so the pieces are not touching (they’ll sweat, otherwise). Bake for 15 minutes, then remove and leave to cool. Turn down the oven to 210C (190C fan)/410F/gas 6½.
Using a fork, whisk the cream and mustard into the stock.
Now assemble the bake. Put the orzo in a 25cm x 30cm baking dish, add the onions and toss to coat all the pasta grains in oil. Add the pieces of roast cauliflower. Squeeze the garlic flesh out of the skins (discard the latter), then chop and add to the dish. Squeeze over the juice of the baked half-lemon, then pour the stock over the top and mix really well. Bake for 10 minutes, then stir and return to the oven for 15 minutes, until the orzo is tender.
Scatter a handful of finely chopped parsley over the pasta and serve with the remaining half-lemon cut into wedges, for squeezing on top.


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