VEGAN MAC' AND CHEEZE
Especially those of us with food allergies, dietary preferences, or just a healthy appreciation for health.
It can be hard to find meals as satisfying as the ones you used to remember eating. You know, like when you were six and ate tacos for breakfast and waffles for dinner. (Okay, I'm exaggerating: I'm almost 23 and I still do that.)
But seriously- I MISS MAC' N CHEESE. Like, the super gross kind you could heat up in the plastic cups in the microwave (cancer, anyone?). But since I can't justify that awful snack, I decided to create a slightly spicy, flavorful, much healthier recreation of the old favorite.
Loaded with secret ingredient goodies like nutritional yeast, tahini, and turmeric, its worth more than you'd expect, too. The cheezy sauce is chock full of B vitamins and anti-inflammatory power just waiting to be gobbled up!
The cheeze sauce is a little tangy, with just enough spice added to give you a few extra layers of flavor. Whenever I make this dish, we finish the whole pot in a day. Never any leftovers, here.
And sometimes-maybe its the B vitamins, or maybe its that cheesy flavor- I just crave a spoonful of nutritional yeast. And though I certainly don't mind just going for it, it can be a little dry.
This is a way better alternative.
Seriously though, you're gonna love me for this. You're only fifteen minutes from a big, warm bowl of childhood memories...ready, GO!
12 ounces gluten-free pasta elbows
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup unsweetened milk substitute of choice (we've used hemp, almond, and walnut-all delicious!)
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons tahini
3 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne red pepper
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Gluten-free pasta, especially when brown rice based, tends to absorb more water than normal, so be sure to add extra water to the pot before boiling; it usually takes a few extra minutes for GF pasta to reach the al dente stage, too. And be sure to add a little salt to the water before boiling- it flavors the pasta.
As pasta cooks, combine the raw cashews and nut milk in a blender or food processor. I never soak mine before hand- I prefer the slightly thicker sauce that results from not soaking them in this recipe.
Once combined, add the rest of the ingredients. Yup, all of 'em.
(Told you this recipe was easy!)
Blend until combined. Set aside.
Once pasta is al dente (literally meaning "to the bite"; leave a little texture in that pasta! Don't boil it into mushy submission.), strain, rinse, and put it back into the pot. Pour in the cheeze sauce, using a wooden spoon to gently toss and coat the pasta.
Turn the burner back onto low and continue to cook the pasta and cheeze sauce together about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens to the noodles.
Serve with a garnish of fresh basil or cilantro, avocado, or a little hot sauce for the best grown-up vegan mac' n cheeze you can imagine.
To reheat, simply warm the pasta in a pan with a little non-dairy milk, stirring 'til creamy.
Saves well in a refrigerated space for about a week.