Saturday, April 22, 2017

Vegan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

The “cheese” is this is gooey, creamy, and honestly tastes like cheddar cheese.  Skeptical?  Try it and taste for yourself J

What (your ingredients):
1 lb. fusilli or short pasta (elbows, shells, penne)
½ yellow onion
1 butternut squash, roughly cubed
½ cup cashews, soaked in hot water for 10-15 minutes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon garlic pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Juice of ½ lemon
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

How (your directions):
Boil water for pasta and salt water generously (pasta water should taste like the salinity of the sea).  Cook pasta according to package instructions (about 7-8 minutes until al dente).
In a large saucepan, add the yellow onion (this does not need to be chopped or diced, just kept whole) and cubed butternut squash and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes until fork-tender. 
Add remaining ingredients except red pepper flakes to a blender.  When butternut squash and onion are tender, add to the blender.  Combine on high for 1-2 minutes until completely smooth.
Add sauce to strained pasta and heat on low for 2 minutes, stirring to make sure the cheese sauce is evenly distributed.
Serve with a pinch of red pepper flakes and freshly cracked pepper if desired, and enjoy hot!

Why (the science):  Nutritional yeast is the key component to making vegan food brilliantly taste cheesy and is packed with vitamin B12, a vitamin found mostly in animal food.  B12 is required for metabolism and DNA synthesis, so nutritional yeast is a powerful food that all vegans should have in their back pocket J

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