The Best Mac and Cheese (with a vegan trick)

mac-and-cheese

I’m not ashamed to say it. There are a LOT of vegan foods and recipes that I love. My mom, sister, and lots of dear friends and co-workers subscribe to the vegan lifestyle and diet. As someone who can’t quite quit meat, cheese and eggs even I believe there are elements of vegan cooking that can be utilized in any diet.

Vegan recipes (the good ones) can be genius in their sneakiness, tossing in ingredients that you would have never expected–creating a fuller, healthier flavor profile that doesn’t leave you missing out on the restricted animal products.

And where does vegan sneakiness shine the brightest? “Cheese.”

In my opinion, most people have a touch of AOLI-SD (or Adult Onset Lactose Intolerance-Self Diagnosed). So, we stand to learn a lot from these sneak-ingredients.

Here is a recipe  that utilizes some vegan elements while still using some cheese. Best of both worlds! The results are fantastic!!

The secret sneak ingredient in this recipe…

butternut squash

or more accurately…

cannedbutternutsquash

Do you see where we’re going with this? The creamy, orangi-ness of boxed mac ‘n’ cheese without the tummy ache and gross mystery powder! Here’s how to do it…

What you’ll need:

– 3 tbsp EVOO

– 1 tbsp all-purpose flour

– 1/3 cup of milk (I used plain soy)

– 2/3 cup of canned butternut squash (you could, of course, do a whole lot of a LOT to use acTUal butternut squash but I don’t think the time intensity of that would be worth it. As always, it’s your life.)

– 1 cup of whatever white, light in lactose cheese you want. (I used shredded Monterrey Jack.)

– 1/8 tsp paprika

– 2 cup of pasta (I used penne because I had that on hand. Obvi lil elbows would have been better.)

and how it all comes together:

– Put your noodles on to boil and let them do their thing. When they’re done, drain and set aside.

– Heat olive oil in a pan on medium. Add your flour and whisk with a fork until it reaches a creamy consistency.

– Take your pan off the heat for a tick-tock and lower burner to low. Add your milk and whisk a whole bunch (for 1 minute). Return the pan to the burner. Keep whiskin’ until the mixture thickens up.

– Add the butternut squash puree and cheese and whisk some more (5 minutes). The more you whisk, the less lumpy it will get.

– Add paprika and whatever other spices you would like.

– Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and mix it all up.

– Enjoy a healthy mac ‘n’ cheese with a sneak ingredient that won’t hurt your sensitive, adult tummy! Win-Win, ladies and gents!

Do you know of any recipes that utilize a sneaky ingredient (vegan or otherwise)? Would you try this one? Parents of young’uns seem to be the best at this, don’t you think? Tricksters! The lot of you! ; ) 

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