Long before I was vegan I loved to make Macaroni and Cheese. It was signature dish! It was delicious, but so heavy, and not healthy at all! When I made the choice to stop eating cheese I was anxious to find a new recipe that had the same deep, cheesy, comforting flavors that I loved. I was thrilled to find Chef Chloe’s recipe in her cookbook, Chloe’s Kitchen.
Nutritional yeast seems to be all the rage in vegan cooking these days, especially when you are trying to achieve a similar flavor to cheese. It is a good source of vitamin B12, and can be found in the health section of your grocery store. I get mine in the bulk section of my local Fred Meyer (Kroger).
I’ve made some tweaks to this recipe to pack in more veggies and make this a great family dish! Cauliflower is a good source of vitamin C, squash is a good source of vitamin A, and green peas are not only high in vitamin A, they are a surprising good source of protein. I hope you love this!
Mac and Peas
1 pound whole wheat pasta, elbow or shells work great
1 bag frozen cauliflower (12 oz size, I removed the stems and froze them for later use, keeping just the florets for this recipe)
1 ½ c frozen peas
¼ c vegan margarine (I like Earth Balance)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups non-dairy milk (I used rice milk, as it was the only non-vanilla milk I had!)
½ c nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 package frozen pureed squash
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tsp maple syrup
1 c panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put a large pot on to boil. When boiling, heavily salt and cook pasta per package directions. When pasta is nearly done, add peas and cauliflower and cook for 1 minute before straining.
Meanwhile, melt margarine in a large pot. When melted, add flour and whisk continuously while the roux browns and thickens. When it has a paste like consistency, mix milk in. Add nutritional yeast, tomato paste, salt, mustard, and garlic powder. Whisk to combine well. Add block of squash (you can thaw before hand), and whisk. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer sauce while pasta cooks. Just before you are ready to add the pasta and vegetables, add lemon juice and syrup.
Add pasta, peas, and cauliflower in to “cheese” sauce and stir gently to coat pasta completely with sauce.
Transfer pasta mix to a glass baking dish. I like to bake two 8 inch square dishes so that we can finish one at dinner and put the other in the fridge or freezer without taking up too much space. 1 large dish will work well though! Spread bread crumbs on top of pasta, and drizzle with olive oil if desired. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes. Turn oven to broil and toast tops of casserole just until the top is golden brown…watch carefully!
Let cool 5 minutes and enjoy!