Vegan White Cheddar Baked Mac n' Greens
Mac n' Cheese is easily one of the top meals that comes to mind when I reminisce about what I ate as a 90's kiddo in suburban Massachusetts. The cobalt blue of the Kraft macaroni box or the orange/yellow of the Annie's shells box are definitely the colors that come to mind, too.
Also, can anyone else quickly confirm that they are fully capable of eating the entire box worth of contents in 1 sitting, as opposed to the 4 servings that the nutrition facts suggest?
Yes you can? Okay great, glad that's not just me...
Mac n' Cheese today is for sure one of my fave comfort foods. The moment I take that first bite I'm instantly wrapped in a warm hug of creamy goodness that just melts deeply into my soul. It's not a popular dish in Australia by any means, but I love to make it for my partner and friends here - it's always a hit! Even though it's vegan :)
How can this be so? The magic of cashews! Allergic to cashews? Not a problem - substitute with sunflower seeds and you'll still achieve that max creaminess level!
I don't have children, but I often eat like one, so I can say with 100% confidence that this meal would be kid approved if you have some tiny mouths to feed. The sauce is so. damn. good. they won't even notice a few lil bits of green hanging around in there. Of course if you have a *particularly* fussy child, they can be easily left out. You could even swap for chickpeas or cauliflower! Still an excellent deliciousness but not that terrible green color that young ones seem to be so offended by...
Pro tip for chickpeas: pop them out of their skins! This makes them easier on the tummy.
This meal is also super budget friendly and is easy to make a big batch of. Double the recipe for the sauce if you'd like and store in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight jar or keep in the freezer for those nights you need something quick and mindless to whip up. I'm not a stranger to eating the sauce as a dip with veggies or crackers, or drizzled on top of nourish bowls, too!
VEGAN WHITE CHEDDAR BAKED MAC N' GREENS (GF optional)
-1 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for minimum 30 minutes
-2 cups white potatoes, peeled & cubed
-1/2 cup nutritional yeast
-1 tsp smokey paprika
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-1/2 tsp onion powder
-salt & pepper to taste
-1 cup unsweetened plant milk of choice (I prefer oat, soy or almond) + more whilst blending
-pasta of choice (whole wheat, durum wheat, gluten free, etc - any shape works!)
-1 1/2 cups frozen peas and/or broccoli
-2 cups kale or spinach
Preheat the oven to 190C (350F).
Soak cashews in a bowl of hot water. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.
Prepare the potatoes and bring to a boil in a pot. Boil until soft but not mushy. Drain and set aside.
Cook pasta according to packaging along with the frozen peas/broccoli. Drain on top of the leafy greens and set aside. Rinse with cool water to prevent sticking.
To make the sauce: drain and rinse cashews. Add to a high powered blender with potatoes, nutritional yeast, seasonings and 1 cup of plant milk. Blend on high until smooth and creamy, slowly adding more plant milk if needed. The sauce should be thick and creamy but easily pourable from the jug!
Pour blended sauce into the original pasta pot, then add pasta and peas. Stir until the sauce completely covers the pasta. If you're not using all of the sauce, refer to storage instructions above!
Dump pasta mixture into a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with some extra smokey paprika and place in the oven for 15 minutes.
Remove the dish, let cool slightly and enjoy! I like to top my pasta with hemp or pumpkin seeds for a bit of crunch, but completely optional.
As always, if you make this please tag me on IG so I can see! @shaktifresh <3