Everyone I am sure is familiar with that iconic blue box of Mac and Cheese. What is childhood with out that stuff? But these days vegan mac and cheese is all the rage and popping up on menus all over New York City. Why change a good thing? Why make it dairy free? My belief is because we can make it taste just as good and waaay healthier, and I get to pat myself on the back for actually fooling my brain into thinking I am making a rich indulgent choice while filling my belly with roasted veggies and some good old aminos from nutritional yeast. Not a bad trade.
One night I decided it was time to take on the pumpkin that had been sitting on top of my fridge for a few weeks asking me to do something with it. To me a pumpkin seem an overwhelming dinner chore if I am famished before I even preheat the oven. However, with a bit of time I never regret a pumpkin dish; it;s really the easiest thing as it basically makes itself once it’s cut in half and the seeds are removed. Pop it in the oven and you have about 40 minutes to get other things done.
The cool thing about this ‘cheese’ sauce is that it can be many things. I made a cheesy toast and also used it as a carrot dip.
Recipe for Dairy Free Cheese Sauce:
1-Medium Pumpkin for roasting… or 1 can of pumpkin puree if you do not want to roast your own pumpkin
1 cup cashew or any other favorite nut milk. (Or handful of cashews and one cup of water)
5- Tbsp nutritional yeast
2- Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
pinch of cayenne
1tblsp coconut oil or ghee
1 tsp salt
coconut oil spray for roasting pumpkin
Your choice of noodles, I used Trader Joe’s Red Lentil noodles for some added protein.
Preheat oven to 424 F
grease pan with coconut oil
Cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds with a spoon, lightly spray with coconut oil and salt, place on the greased pan flat side down and roast for 40 minutes.
Bring a medium pot to boil for the lentil noodles.
Follow noodle instructions and place in colander when they are cooked.
After pumpkin is cooked let cool for 10 minutes or until you can handle the pumpkin with out burning yourself. The pumpkin should fall out of its skin easily.
Place the pumpkin, nut milk, nutritional yeast, coconut oil or ghee, mustard and spices in your high speed blender or food processor and blend on high until smooth, usually 1-2 minutes.
Transfer the sauce to a sauce pan on medium heat and stir in arrow root and ghee.
Taste the sauce and add more spices if desired.
Add the noodles to the Mac sauce.
Serve warm and top with a sprig of sage if you have it!
**You can also spread it on toast and add some chia for added protein and fiber.