My kids harass me on a regular basis for mac and cheese, but because I am allergic to dairy I can no longer indulge in the nostalgia (it was literally the first food I ever cooked on my own as a child…I remember feeling so proud!). I recently had a powerful hankering for something cheesy and heartwarming (what can I say, it still happens often!) and so I came up with this recipe… it is truly vegan comfort food, nourishing to body, mind, and soul!! Feeds a crowd or saves well for leftovers. Namaste! ❤
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cashew Cheese Ingredients:
2 cups raw organic cashews, soaked in filtered water for 2 hours
Approx. 1.25 – 1.5 cups filtered water
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp garlic powder
1.5 tsp fine ground sea salt
¼ tsp chipotle powder (optional)
1 lb fresh broccoli, cut into florets (or use 1 large bag frozen broccoli)
2-3 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped (or substitute carrots)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 15 oz can black beans (or beans of your choice), rinsed and drained
3 cups organic brown rice pasta spirals (or gluten-free pasta of choice), cooked to al dente
Extra virgin olive oil
Sunflower Seeds (or other seed of choice)
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 400° F. Prepare the cheese sauce by adding soaked & drained cashews, water, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and chipotle powder to a Nutribullet* or blender, and process until smooth. Set aside.
In a large sauté pan, cook broccoli, parsnips, and onion in a few tablespoons of water over medium to medium-high heat or until softened (about 7 to 10 minutes). Stir in red bell pepper and black beans and cook for a few minutes more, adding a few dashes of salt if desired. When vegetables are cooked through, remove pan from heat and stir in the pasta. Spread out the mixture into a large rectangular baking dish (I used a 3 quart Pyrex dish), and pour the cashew cheese sauce over the top, using a spoon to spread the sauce over the casserole.
Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until the top begins to lightly brown. Remove and let stand for 10 minutes, then serve. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, green onions, sunflower seeds, and salt to taste.