Monday, October 26, 2015

vegan butternut squash and sweet potato "mac & cheese"

So the one thing that I was sure that I was going to miss as a vegan was CHEESE!! I loved cheese :(  Then I discovered the magic of cashew cream, and the fact that I could turn nutritious veggies into cream sauces!!  I have now learned to make Alfredo sauce, rosé sauce, and various “cheese” sauces without ever touching EVIL DAIRY! 

1 medium butternut squash, diced (about 2.5 cups)
1 medium sweet potato, diced (about 1.5 cups)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, miced
2 portobello mushrooms, diced
handfull grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup of raw cashews (soaked in warm water)
1 tbs red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup of nutritional yeast (more for finishing)
Pasta of choice (I used boxed pasta)
2tbs olive oil- divided

** optional ingredients: seitan

Preheat oven to 400
Toss diced butternut squash and sweet potato in 1tbs olive oil and dash of salt and pepper
Spread squash and potato evenly over baking sheet
Cook for about 30mins (or until soft)
Remove from oven and let cool for about 15mins

Heat 1tbs of oil over medium- low heat in a deep pan
Add onion, sprinkle salt over onions
Cook, stirring frequently until translucent
Add garlic, portobello and tomatoes to pan
Continue to stir frequently, you want to Portobello to become soft

While the above is cooking:
Drain and rinse cashews
Place into high speed blender
Pulse until smooth
If you have chunks, you can add a touch of water or unsweetened almond milk to get a creamy consistency
Place cashew cream in bowl aside

When your butternut squash sweet potato has slightly cooled, add to high-speed blender
Pulse until smooth and creamy
Add your cashew cream, pulse another few times
Add red pepper flakes, nutritional yeast, 1tsp salt and 1tsp pepper (you can add more if you like)

Pour your cream sauce over the cooked onion/porto mixture, reduce heat to low and cover.

Cook your pasta, drain and rinse!  Return pasta to pot, and pour the sauce over top! Fold together!  Add more nutritional yeast if needed, also check salt and pepper for taste.

** I often end by adding fresh herbs (cilantro or basil), or I fold in baby spinach or vegan cheese (just a touch!)


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