Baked Mac & Cheese
Who doesn’t love a comforting, buttery mac & cheese? Probably only my toddler. But I have still categorized this under “kids love food” because I know other little tykes (and adults) craze over the sweet creaminess of the squash and bursting peas in between the soft noodles.
I have played around with this recipe quite a bit and I have refined it so that it is sweet and moist. Because there is no cheese in this, I have had to adjust for the oil content that gives it the moisture in the non-vegan version. The ingredient Kuzu may sound a bit intimidating at first but it is very easy to use and great for those who have intestinal issues. If you cannot find it, substitute with arrowroot powder and dissolve the same way as with the Kuzu. For the topping, I have used cashew crumble that I had leftover in the refrigerator but you can substitute with golden flaxseed meal or any other type of crumb that you like. As long as you place some earth balance on top of it, you will end up with a golden and crunchy top. The best part!
**If you want the noodles to be even more creamy just don’t bake them. Instead serve the noodles with the sauce folded in as with a regular mac & cheese.**
Baked Mac & Cheese
- 8 – 10 oz of brown rice penne
- 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
- 1 cup of cooked squash
- 1/3 cup of cooked peas
- 2 cups of almond, soy or rice milk
- 2 tablespoons of Kuzu root starch (dissolve each spoon with 2 tablespoons of cold water. Right before using the liquid make sure you stir it with a fork as it will begin to settle in the time waiting to be used)
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1/3 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1/3 teaspoon of ginger powder
- 1/3 teaspoon of mustard seed powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of agave nectar
- 1/2 cup of cashew crumble or golden flaxseed meal
- 1 tablespoon of Earth Balance spread
- Salt and pepper
- Fill large pot with water, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook al dente according to instructions in the package.
- While pasta is cooking, preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a medium to large pan (large enough to accommodate the pasta later on), add milk and stir in nutritional yeast, turmeric, mustard powder, ginger powder and garlic powder and cook over medium heat until it all simmers.
- Lower heat, add agave and stir.
- Pour Kuzu mixture slowly while stirring at the same time, otherwise small bumps will form. Once sauce thickens, turn heat off.
- In a small bowl, smash squash with a fork until it becomes a thick paste. It doesn’t need to be perfect and it can preferably have a few small chunks. Mix peas into the squash.
- Add squash and peas to cheese mixture and stir it all together. Add olive oil and stir again.
- Take pasta off the stove, drain and rinse with cold water.
- Make sure pasta is drained well and add it to the cheese sauce.
- With a spatula, fold sauce gently into the pasta. If you use a hard utensil the pasta will break apart.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the pasta to a baking dish and sprinkle cashew crumble or flaxseed meal on top.
- Break small pieces of the Earth Balance and spread on the top of the casserole.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes in the top rack.
- Uncover and bake for another 5-7 minutes until top is golden.
- Serves 4.