Yesterday I woke up a bit achy. Maybe it was a case of the Mondays. Maybe it’s a sign to look into my diet a bit more and make sure that I am getting all the vitamins and nutrients that I need. Nonetheless, I needed some comfort, and comfort for me is found in cooking. Even if I get home at 6:30 and am completely pooped, cooking sounds like the perfect medicine. The sounds, the smells, the peace… It all brings me back to center.
I have been wanting to a) use up that cubed butternut squash in my freezer, b) try a vegan “cheeze” sauce again” and c) put them both together for a delicious, vegan, and gluten free mac ‘n’ cheeze. Last night, and well from the looks of it outside today (dark and stormy), it will cure any Manic Monday or Tornadic weather Tuesday you are enduring.
I first tried making vegan cheeze sauce on pizza here: GF/DF Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Medley Pizza
If you recall it was a bit too cashewy for my taste but good! I have been anxious to find a version that I loved and not just liked though. I found it last night. It whirred and whizzed in my food processor until it whipped itself into a thick, velvety topping. It cuddled my gluten free elbow noodles like a silky smooth blanket. It was better than any mac and cheese I have ever had. It cured my case of the Mondays.
The butternut squash is roasted and added into the cheeze sauce in this recipe so I wanted to add another veggie. I could have sworn I had some peas or broccoli on hand but alas they have already been gobbled up. I had spinach and edamame to choose for my green so I decided that edamame might be a delightful touch. I loved the texture that it brought to the bowl! Feel free to use whatever veggie suits you.
Butternut Squash Mac ‘N’ Cheeze with Edamame
Adapted from Oh She Glows recipe here: Butternut Squash Mac N Cheeze
• 2 cups frozen or fresh butternut squash
• 3 organic garlic cloves
• 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
• 2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
• 7 tbsp Nutritional yeast
• 1 tsp dijon mustard
• 1/2 tsp or a bit more of dried Italian seasoning
• 1/2 tsp Tumeric powder, optional (gives the orangey color)
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 1/2 tsp Paprika
• Tinkanyada brown rice elbow pasta (1 bag)
• 1 carton vegetable broth + 1 cup water
• ¾ cup edamame (I had frozen that I thawed and boiled)
Preheat your oven to 350F and grease a baking sheet. In a bowl, season chopped squash with a tsp or two of olive oil, and a couple pinches of kosher salt. Toss to coat. Lay squash squares on baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes. I flipped after about 25.
While the squash roast away, gather all your cheeze sauce ingredients (cashews, non-dairy milk, garlic, lemon, salt, nutritional yeast, pepper, mustard, seasonings). Add just the cashews to food processor. Process until a fine crumb forms similar to corn meal. Add in the rest of the cheese sauce ingredients and process until very smooth.
Taste test. A couple times ;) This sauce left me speechless and drooling! I wanted to dip a big hunk of bread in it hehe. Leave the sauce in the processor as you will be adding the squash.
Bring your broth and water to a boil in a soup pot. Add in gluten free pasta and boil for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking process.
When squash is finished roasting, add it to the food processor and blend it with the cheese sauce until smooth. Adjust to taste. The sauce will thicken up with time. I like mine really thick and cheesy but if you like a runnier mac and cheese feel free to add milk.
Dish into bowls and serve immediately. This made 4 heaping portions. I am so glad because my tummy is growling for it already!