my brother and I are not alone on this one.
It was finding these small, everyday parallels that helped us to eventually become friends after a traumatic childhood of
The recipe I have for you today is trailblazing in that it does not rely on weird vegan products to mimic delicious mac flavor. No non-dairy milk, no nutritional yeast, no Earth Balance. Personally, I try to stay away from vegan substitutes because I think they're bullshit, both nutritionally and idealistically. That's just me. So this Mac Attack's primary ingredient is a vegetable, which is backed up by raw nuts, garlic, and another vegetable. Did I mention it tastes just as good as artery-clogging mac n' cheese, if not better? I'm as serious as a heart attack. Besides, did ya really think you could eat that much garbage without any side effects?
So make this recipe and save on your tape worm food expenses.
adapted from Oh She Glows
There are two ways to go about this dish. Traditionally: baked in a casserole. Or Quickly: served straight from the pot. The latter is a bit creamier, but the former is a classic. I say try both ways before choosing a fave.
For the cheese sauce:
1/2 medium-large butternut squash, peeled, chopped into ½” chunks, seeds reserved for roasting
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
2-4 cloves garlic depending on your taste
3/4 cup raw cashews
1 teaspoon good quality dijon mustard (Annie’s dijon is the bomb)
turmeric for color (optional)
pasta cooking water
Green vegetable of choice: I like broccoli best, but okra, kale, collards, spinach, arugula, peas & green beans all work nicely here too
Pasta: One pound of choice (I used Tinkyada brown rice fusilli because it “promises a delightful eating experience-NOT MUSHY!”)
breadcrumbs or polenta
For "The Second Course":
Catsup (Homemade is best but, again, Annie’s is my go to store-bought catsup)
Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the cheese sauce. Process the garlic in a food processor, add the cashews and process again, followed by the dijon. The mixture should resemble a coarse meal.
Decide which green you’d like to include and prepare accordingly. When I use broccoli or okra, I prepare it exactly as I did the squash and roast it until it’s a bit browned, about 25 minutes. With green beans, lightly steaming them is perfect. As for the leafy greens, I prefer to leave them raw, torn by hand or cut into ribbons. They soften just by being mixed in with the hot pasta and cheese sauce. It’s up to you. The idea is to have your green veggie ready to go by the time the pasta is cooked and cheese sauce is finished.
Cook your pasta until al dente, OR cook only until half done if making the casserole version of this recipe. Reserve some pasta water when draining.
When squash is lightly browned, remove from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes, then add it to the food processor and blend it with the cheese sauce until smooth, periodically scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Most likely, the sauce will be too thick, which is where the pasta water comes in. With the processor running, slowly pour in the water until you reach your desired consistency. Using pasta water is much like using a stock: it adds flavor and complexity to a dish with ease. If you’d like your cheese to have a radioactive flare of color, add a teaspoon of turmeric and blend.
Serve with ketchup.
Fattening up our tapeworms!