Vegan Mac 'n' Cheese
It’s the last Meat Free Monday of November, so here’s our delicious mac n’ cheese – with a twist.
The twist is that it contains no macaroni and no cheese – but this plant-based version will still hit the spot.
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
3-4 cups cubed butternut squash
1/2 cup soaked cashews (in water overnight, allows for easy and smooth blending and sauce)
8oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup raw cashews (this is optional - if you want to use all soaked, you can)
Homemade five spice (1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp chilli flakes, 1 tsp garlic powder)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp cayenne
2-3 tsp olive oil
1 box of large pasta shells
2 cups spinach
Sage for garnish
1. Start by making your roasted butternut squash. Cook the cubes in the oven at 400°F until cooked through and tender (keep your oven on for when it’s time to put in the pasta). Add salt and pepper to taste.
2. Place your squash in a blender with 1/2 cup soaked cashews (just put them in water overnight), your five spice, nutritional yeast, cayenne and olive oil. Blend until a thick paste/sauce forms. This will be for your stuffing.
3. Remove half of the paste and put it in a bowl. Leave the other half in the blender and add the can of tomato sauce, the rest of the cashews and the almond milk until a sauce forms - this will be the mac n’ cheese sauce. Set aside both the paste for stuffing and the sauce.
4. Start to sauté your spinach. All you have to do is heat a pan with 1 tsp olive oil and add in spinach until it wilts. You could add in some sage too. Once done, mix this with the butternut squash paste for the stuffing.
5. While the spinach is sautéing, boil your pasta according to the package instructions and drain.
6. Get a baking dish and pour in a layer of sauce at the bottom. Then, gently place the shells in the dish and start to stuff them with your paste. Top with more sauce and place in the oven just so everything is the same temperature and the flavours can combine, for about 10-15 minutes.
Top with either pine nuts or cashews, spinach and sage. Serve alongside extra sauce if someone wants more. Enjoy!