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Ask my kids what they want for dinner, the answer is invariably mac and cheese.   Up until just a few years ago, this meant opening a box with fluorescent orange powder.   But homemade mac and cheese takes just a few minutes longer to prepare and is much healthier, especially if you include some veggies.

Some recipes for dairy-free mac and cheese I’ve seen use nutritional yeast, some use vegan cheese shreds; I’ve been tweaking this recipe for a year and I think the yummiest version come from using both (but if you want lower fat, reduce the amount of Daiya).  The idea to cook the broccoli florets with the pasta came from Chloe Coscarelli.

Deluxe Mac and Cheese
500 g dried macaroni or other pasta (I used 1 1/2 packages of Tinkyada rice pasta)

1/4 cup Earth Balance Butter or vegan margarine
1 1/2 cups nondairy milk
1 1/2 Tbsp tomato sauce
3 drops stevia or 1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp tumeric (optional)
1 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, minced
1/2 package of Daiya shreds
2 cups broccoli florets
fresh basil (about five leaves), chopped

While the pasta cooks in one pot, melt the Earth Balance/margarine on medium-low heat in another large pot on the stove.  Add the nondairy milk, tomato sauce, sweetener, garlic powder, tumeric, nutritional yeast, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and stir.   Taste and add more seasonings if desired.

When the pasta has about five minutes left to cook, add the broccoli florets to the pasta pot.  When the pasta and broccoli are cooked, drain and add them to the pot with the sauce and stir.  Add the sun-dried tomatoes and Daiya and stir again.  Serve topped with fresh basil.  Serves 6.  This recipe is gluten-free with rice pasta.

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