E-Z CHEEZY, Mac & Cheese
Prior to switching to a plant-based diet, I basically lived on breads, pastas, and cheese. Healthy, right?! Yikes. When I switched to a plant-based diet, I was in such a deteriorating state of health, I transitioned to a vegan diet over night. However, that doesn't mean those initial thoughts of "but what about me cheese?!" didn't pop into my head. Well, let me tell you, there is nothing to miss! There are so many vegan / plant-based cheese alternatives out there, that are SO tasty, and doesn't involve all the mucous forming, acidic, fungal causing properties of animal-based cheese. For more animal product alternatives, click here! There are Oh-so many vegan mac & cheese recipes out there, and many versions that I make myself! Here is one of them! This cheezy version is oil free, dairy free, gluten free, and can be made fat free if you omit cashews. I personally use and suggest to use all the ingredients that I list below, for optimal cheezy richness! But if you are on a cleanse, eating fat free, or would like to omit certain ingredients, the only things TRULY necessary are the water, veggies, and spices. I will listen optional ingredients as such. This recipe is not only great of mac & cheese, even baked (and hiding those extra veggies), but it's great to add to baked potato wedges, steamed broccoli, or as a cheezy brown rice/veggie dish! Add more hot spices for a nacho cheeze dish, too! This makes a decent amount of sauce, and can be made ahead of time and kept in fridge for up to a week! Cheeze can be easily stored, and reheated on stove or in oven with 1 TBS of water mixed in. If you have a microwave, you may use that! I do not own one. For an even HEALTHIER version of this pasta dish, I love added peas or broccoli to our pasta! Sprinkle hemp seeds on top for extra crunch, nutrition, and flavor. Yum! Easy to make, and healthy to eat!
Brown rice pasta (or pasta of choice) +
1/4 onion - diced 2 large carrots - chopped 3 med-large russet potatoes - peeled / chopped (or sub for small head of cauliflower)
1/4 tsp salt
1-2 tsp paprika
Juice of half a large lemon 1/2 tsp mustard 1 tsp garlic powder
** OPTIONAL **
1 3/4 cup cashews - soaked /drained ** (adds creaminess!)
1-2 TBS tomato paste **
1/2 -1 tsp miso **
pinch of cayenne ** 4 TBS Nutritional yeast **
If using cashews, make sure to soak for at least 2 hours PRIOR to making cheeze!
To make this a hotter and spicier sauce, add extra habanero or cayenne pepper powder!
1. Boil pot of water - doesn't have to be a full pot, just enough to cover veggies!
** At this time, you could also start boiling a large pot of water for your pasta 2. Chop veggies while water's boiling -- Don't go crazy since they're being boiled/ blended anyway!
3. Add potatoes to boiling water for first for 5 min, then carrots for another 5 minutes, then onions for more 10 min.
4. Drain, but save 1-2 cup of boiled veggie water to add to blender
5. Add all ingredients, including drained cashews, to a high speed blender, except for the excess boiled water. Slowly blend ingredients / add water until you get desired cheezy thickness!
6. Add all ingredients - but water - to blender, and blend slowly with water until cheezy consistency. If extra liquid is needed / desired, add 1 TBS of water (or plant-based-milk of choice) at at time
7. Don't forgot to cook and strain your pasta, if you're making it at same time! If so, drain pasta, and add small amounts of cheeze at a time until desired cheeziness is acquired :)
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