Who grew up eating Kraft Dinner? I sure did and so did my brother, those were the days when kids came home for lunch. It was our weekday lunch staple served with a glass of Allen’s apple juice sitting in front of the TV watching the Flintstones. This was the lunch kids dreams were made of…afternoon gym and arithmetic classes seemed far far away.
I still love a bite of mac and cheese now and then but how to create that umami taste that mac and cheese has without the cheese? My secret is lots of nutritional yeast, butternut squash and a dash of dijon blended together to make this savoury sauce. Help me, I could not stop eating this creamy mess, it is addictive - but I had to control myself so I could save some for the photo.
Don’t forget the peas!
Vegan Baked Mac and Cheese
This recipe makes 6 hearty servings.
2 cups butternut squash cut into 1 inch cubes
1 clove garlic, leave skin on, (optional, but I like the flavour)
2 tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
1 cup unsweetened almond milk, or your favourite non dairy milk, divided
1 tbsp canola oil or grapeseed oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp onion powder divided
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp turmeric
1 ½ tsp sea salt
½ lb macaroni noodles, use any brand you like, they can be gluten-free
1 cup frozen peas, (optional, but I think delicious)
Bread Crumb Topping
1 cup breadcrumbs, you can use gluten-free
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 - 3 tablespoons oil
1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange cut up squash on cookie sheet along with the garlic. Drizzle the squash and garlic with oil and 1/2 tsp onion powder, toss well. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the squash is soft. Remove from oven and set aside.
3. Mix the arrowroot in a small bowl with ⅓ cup of the milk until smooth and all the lumps are gone. Set aside.
4. In a sauce pan over medium heat add in the remaining milk along with the mustard, onion powder, turmeric, chili flakes, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and salt. Mix well with a whisk.
5. Turn the heat to medium high and stir in the arrowroot and milk mixture, and continue to whisk just until the sauce begins to thicken up, this will take about 2 to 3 minutes.
6. Transfer the sauce to a blender or food processor, add the roasted butternut squash and squeeze out the roasted garlic, blend until smooth and creamy.
7. Meanwhile, cook the macaroni noodles just until al dente, when the noodles are cooked, drain well, saving about a cup of the pasta cooking water.
8. In the same pot that was used to cook the noodles add the drained noodles back and pour the cheese sauce over the noodles, mix well. If using, add the peas and mix again.
9. Spoon the cheesy macaroni into an oven proof dish. Mix breadcrumbs with salt, pepper and oil in a small dish until combined. Sprinkle over the top of the mac and cheese and cook for 20 - 25 minutes or until it is hot and the crumb topping is golden brown.
This cheezy sauce is really good on top of roasted or steamed veggies.
I used my Blendtec to blend the sauce.