Comfort food, hallowed be thy name.
In some other life, I considered myself a “foodie”, dining out in my beloved Manhattan restaurants on such fare as squid ink pasta, deconstructed zucchini and flights of maple syrup—(okay, I made those last two up)—but lately, as in for the last 20 years—all I want is pizza. And grilled cheese and tomato soup and peanut butter and jelly and tuna melts and french fries…and the mac daddy of nom nom cuisine, Mac N Cheese.
Unfortunately for Kraft, I also have vegan leanings, meaning a little sleight of hand is required to nail those coveted flavors.
Read on, fanciers of iconic American love-on-a-plate—this one’s a keeper.
“Fooled You!” Mac N Cheese Recipe:
I cup butternut squash, cooked and mashed
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 1/2 cup soy or unsweetened almond milk
2 tbl corn starch
4 tbl nutritional yeast (I usually decry the use of nootch, but in this recipe it disappears nicely)
2 tsp dijon mustard
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tbl lemon juice
sea salt and fresh crack pepper to taste
12 oz cooked egg noodles or whatever kind of noodle you like
1 cup fresh or frozen peas, optional
1 cup bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350. Blend all ingredients except noodles, peas and bread crumbs in a high powered blender until very smooth (and dare I say, dairy-like?)
Heat mixture in a saucepan and stir with whisk until thickened.
Combine mixture with cooked noodles and peas, pour in a greased casserole dish and top with bread crumbs. Bake 20-30 minutes until brown and bubbly.
Note, to amp up the nutritional value of this dish, or just get rid of a bunch of wilted veggies, toss in any extras you like. Sliced mushrooms are super tasty, broccoli would be great, cauliflower—anything that’s laying around. Also feel free to play with toppings—try crushed almonds, pumpkin seeds or crispy fried onions.
Ready, set—forks up!
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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photo: nettsu via Flickr