To shake things up a bit on this here blog of mine (and because I’m running out of witty things to say), I’ve decided to post a favorite recipe of mine once a month (maybe more, depending on how food-motivated I am). These recipes I post will be varied, mostly dairy-free (my sweet daughter is lactose intolerant), and always family favorites.
My first recipe post is in honor of my girl. I’m forever on the hunt for the newest, greatest recipe to make for her and this one right here, is an all-time gold star, thumbs-up winner. As with all my recipe posts, I’ll list the actual recipe first, then my additions/suggestions/substitutions at the bottom. And if I'm really on task, I'll provide a picture of the finished product too.
One quick note on this one….it sounds weird, I know. But it is truly better than ANY "real" mac-n-cheese, with tons of flavor and ooey-gooeyness.
1 tbsp. sea salt
8 ounces macaroni
2 slices of bread, torn into pieces
2 tbsp + 1/3 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
2 tbsp shallots, peeled and chopped
1 cup red or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
¼ cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup water
¼ cup raw cashews
2 tsp sea salt
¼ tsp garlic, minced
¼ tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
¼ tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp Cayenne
¼ tsp Paprika
What to do:
In a large pot, bring the water and 1 tbsp. salt to boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente. In colander, drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
In a food processor, make breadcrumbs by pulverizing bread and 2 tbsp margarine to a medium-fine texture. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350.
In a saucepan, add shallots, potatoes, carrots, onion and water. Bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.
In a blender, process the cashews, salt, garlic, 1/3 cup margarine, mustard, lemon juice, black pepper and cayenne.
Add softened vegetables and cooking water to the blender and process until perfectly smooth.
In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta and blended “cheese” sauce until completely coated. Spread mixture into a 9 x 13 casserole dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and dust with paprika.
Bake for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and the top has turned golden brown.
Buy breadcrumbs in the can & use those. Much easier, less mess.
Okay to substitute shallots for onion. I do this frequently because I forget to buy shallots. Just be sure to use a sweet onion; not a red one.
Okay to use carrots that are already shredded. Or just chop those mini-ones.
Okay to use lemon juice in the bottle. I never have ‘real’ lemon juice.
Okay to substitute butter for margarine (weird, but my girl CAN eat butter, which then changes it to Vegetarian Mac-N-Cheese). IF you do this and double the sauce, don’t double the salt (real butter can make it salty). Just adjust the salt to taste at the end.
Same goes for the Cayenne. If you have a sissy mouth, err on the side of caution and either leave it out or put a tiny bit in.
Since this does require some work, and it is mucho-fabulous as leftovers, I always cook 1 lb pasta (16 ounces). When I do that, I triple the sauce mixture. If I only cook the ½ lb (8 ounces), I double the sauce mixture. Too dry with less sauce.
When warming up, simply add a bit of unflavored/unsweetened almond milk or water to bring it back to its ooey-gooey consistency.
I would LOVE to hear what you think if you decide to give this a whirl. Feel free to shoot me your feedback via email, Twitter or Facebook.