Instant mac & cheese epiphany

Photo by myveggiekitchen

I mentioned in a previous post that we do not cook with dairy products at home. That doesn’t mean, however, that we go without mac and cheese. We approximate this comfort-food casserole using beans, cashews, miso, and a variety of spices. The resulting sauce has loads of protein and flavor without a spec of saturated fat, cholesterol, bovine growth hormone, antibiotics, and other stuff that’s not good for your body.

To most people, however, mac and cheese comes in a box, with a friendly pouch of powdered cheese sauce, ready to be transformed with a little water and heat. I won’t lie – I used to love this stuff. Salty, fatty, carbohydrate loaded convenience food bliss!

Now, thanks to Matt and Kristen at  Our Veggie Kitchen, you can have the convenience of boxed mac and cheese without the dairy! All you have to do is whip up a batch of sauce powder in advance. You can find their original recipe here. I tweaked it a bit to my liking. Try both and see which one you like.

Mac & Cheese Powder
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup oats
2 tbs soy milk powder (look for Better than Milk at PCC Natural Markets)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 1/2 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp paprika
pinch of nutmeg (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender (e.g. VitaMix or Blendtec) and blend until it is a fine powder. Store in an air tight container. (Different  lemon peppers have varying amounts of salt in them. You may find you need to add a bit of salt to the finished dish.)

Single Serving
1/2 cup dry macaroni or small shells
2/3 cup water
1/2 tbs Earth Balance or vegetable oil (optional, but makes it creamier)
1/4 cup mac & cheese powder

Add the of pasta, Earth Balance, and cold water to a pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes, then cover and turn the heat off. Let stand for 15 minutes (more or less depending on the size of the pasta). When the pasta is done, give it a hit of heat if it’s not hot anymore. Combine the pasta, cooking water and 1/4 cup of cheese mix in a bowl, stir to mix. Enjoy!

Per Serving: 457 Calories; 12g Fat (22.5% calories from fat); 21g Protein; 69g Carbohydrate; 8g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 171mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 3 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 1/2 Fat.

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