Macaroni and cheese is an iconic American favorite, especially if you're a kid. Days when I get the privilege- and a privilege it is- of having my niece and nephew, lunchtime goes something like this:
"what do want for lunch?"
"what other than macaroni?"
and out comes the box of Annie's organic mac 'n cheese.
I make myself feel better about giving in to the macaroni debate by ensuring a healthy amount of vegetables accompany the multiple servings of macaroni they scarf down.
Thinking back to my childhood, I'm not sure we ever had macaroni- and I'm thinking really hard about this. (Memory loss issue? Certainly not).
Funny that I'd be making macaroni as an adult, and as a gluten free vegan, but, my sister and I did.
Having my sister's taste buds involved made this undertaking a bit more challenging, but made the end result that much tastier.
She brings the "I've eaten real mac 'n cheese" taste profile to the table- not that "blue box" flavor most people associate with mac 'n cheese, but mac made with real cheese made into a silky sauce and baked in the oven.
Then there's me: adding healthy into my already complicated mix of requirements for a recipe. Pasta of any type is something I have avoided eating for as many years as I've had diabetes...no reason to eat something that has so many carbs in one small serving. And that's before you even factor in the sauce etcetera etcetera, that makes pasta pasta.
The greatest thing about this mac 'n "cheese" IS the sauce. It's made out of veggies, and veggies contribute healthy phytonutrients (aka plant nutrients- those are good things) and fiber. Tofu gives us cholesterol lowering protein, and the nutritional yeast adds a wide array of B vitamins.
You'd think that a creamy sauce would mean a ton of calories, and that putting it onto pasta would mean fat and calorie overload...but it doesn't.
So I'm going to stop writing this post and finish off the last bite of mac 'n "cheese" thats been waiting for me. Done: edges scraped, fork clean, bowl empty.
This gluten free, vegan, cauliflower based mac 'n "cheese" was (note the past tense, that means we ate all of it) really good and the kids might even eat it.
Tab's text from work today? "Mac is good".
Mac 'n Cheese - serves 6
1 12 ounce package pasta
1 pound cauliflower (1 small head), cut in large chunks
1 large carrot, cut in large chunks
6 ounces firm tofu
4 cloves garlic, roasted
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1. Place cauliflower and carrot into a large pot of boiling water. Let cook until tender and easily pierced with a fork.
2. While cauliflower cooks, roast garlic (unpeeled) in a 400 degree oven for 5-10 minutes. Garlic will be soft and browned when done.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions.
4. While pasta cooks, puree cauliflower, carrot, tofu, garlic, nutritional yeast, vinegar, salt, chipotle powder and pepper in a blender or food processor. Sauce should be smooth and creamy.
5. Toss the pasta with the sauce, grab a fork and plate and then sit down and enjoy.
294 calories, 5g fat (2g monounsaturated, 1g polyunsaturated), 525mg sodium, 50g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 11g protein
*Thank you to Wild Hare Organic Farm for many of the local & seasonal produce we are able to use in our recipes.