This is not the post I had planned for tonight, but I just couldn’t wait to tell you about it!!
As I was sitting in traffic on the way home today, my mind drifted off to dinner and I argued back and forth with myself. “Cook something exciting! No, no, just eat leftovers. Noooo, leftovers are boring! Okay, I’ll cook something.” I always win my arguments.
I’ve been on a little bit of a vegan kick lately (I blame Oprah), and I wanted to stick with that theme tonight. I remembered a recipe from this month’s issue of Runner’s World for macaroni and cheese that slyly incorporated cauliflower as a way to greatly reduce the amount of cheese while still maintaining the richness.
I thought to myself, “Hey, I could probably do something like that but omit the cheese completely!” And then I remembered that I still had a butternut squash from my first CSA box. Butternut squash is yellow. Cheese is yellow. [insert "Aha" moment here]
I am in love with this Mac ‘Un’ Cheese. I hope you like it, too.
Macaroni ‘Un’ Cheese
- 2 cups chopped butternut squash
- 8 ounces whole wheat rotini or other short pasta
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch of nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 heaping tablespoon Earth Balance spread, melted
- Preheat oven to 400F. Bring a pot of water to a boil for pasta. In a steamer basket, steam butternut squash until tender, about 20 minutes. Warm vegetable stock and bay leaves on stovetop for 5 minutes.
- Add pasta to water. While pasta is cooking, transfer the squash, stock (remove bay leaves), nutritional yeast, sesame seeds, dijon mustard, and spices to the bowl of a food processor. Process 1-2 minutes until smooth and creamy. Use more or less stock to reach desired “cheese” sauce consistency.
- Once pasta is cooked to al dente, drain and return to pot. Pour sauce overtop and stir until all noodles are well coated. Pour into four small ramekins or one 8″ square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with breadcrumbs and drizzle with Earth Balance.
- Bake for 20 minutes until breadcrumbs are browned and crisp. Serve hot!
I love the sound that butternut squash makes when you drop it into a pot or onto a baking sheet. Is that just me? Does anyone else know what I’m talking about?
While the noodles boil, prepare your sauce.
After it’s all mixed together, pour it into ramekins or a baking dish.
Now sprinkle on the breadcrumbs!
I enjoyed mine with butternut squash fries that I tossed with a tablespoon of roasted almond butter and then baked until crisp. I also had a salad that I topped with a leftover garbanzo veggie burger spread with tomato paste and hummus. Ohhhhhh Myyyyy. It was all so good!
The macaroni ‘un’ cheese was browned and crisp on top, but moist and creamy and throughout. It tasted so rich and cheesy without containing any eggs, cheese, milk, or butter! Oh goodness! I will be making this a lot from now on!
If you are not familiar with nutritional yeast, it is a bright yellow yeast flake with a cheesy/nutty odor and flavor. It’s great in sauces or sprinkled on popcorn and is super high in B-vitamins!
Here are the stats for nutritional yeast:
Inactive dry yeast, vitamin B3, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12
|Nutrients||Per 1 heaping tablespoon|
|Total Fat||1 gram|
|Vitamin B1 (thiamin)||640% Daily Value (DV)|
|Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)||560% DV|
|Vitamin B3 (niacin)||280% DV|
|Vitamin B6||480% DV|
|Folic Acid||60% DV|
|Vitamin B12||130% DV|
Check out the fiber and protein in just 1 TABLESPOON! Not to mention all those B Vitamins to get your energy up!
The Mac ‘un’ cheese got the nod of approval from all the family members! My youngest sister didn’t even guess it was vegan. Mission accomplished.
Guess what?? IT’S THE WEEKEND!