Cashew and Squash Vegan Mac & Cheese
The magic ingredient in this creamy vegan mac & cheese? Cashews! They absolutely deserve a front-row spot in your pantry and in the recipes you use every day. When listing off all of the homemade vegan alternatives to cheese, cashews are usually the go-to because of their ability to achieve that creamy, cheesy texture (no need to have an industrial-strength blender either - all you need to do is to soak the cashews for about an hour to make them both easy to digest and to blend). The sauce base for this vegan mac & cheese is super simple: cashews, some liquid (broth, almond milk or cooking liquid from veggies), nutritional yeast for that cheesy kick, lemon juice, garlic, tomato paste, and spices. With just these ingredients, you've already got quite the rich and creamy sauce, but there's still room for improvement in both the taste and nutrition department - so why not add a vegetable? Take advantage of the abundance of all kinds of squash varieties to jazz up this sauce. Just boil or steam and voila! Your sauce has not only doubled in quantity, but is twice as tasty too! The creamy cashew and squash blend is amazing on pasta, but also goes great with rice and grilled vegetables.
- 1 cup PRANA organic non-roasted cashews
- 2 cups steamed or boiled squash (butternut, acorn, zucchini or winter)
- 2 cups cooking liquid from the squash or almond milk
- 5 tbsp Red Star nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp PRANA organic coconut oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 4 green onions, divided
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 4 cups whole wheat, kamut or spelt pasta (macaroni, penne, rotini, etc.)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- A few sprigs fresh parsley, finely chopped (to garnish)
- Soak the cashews in a bowl of water for 30 minutes. Drain, discard the water and rinse.
- Mix all of the ingredients except the pasta in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Season to taste.
- Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente, according to the package directions.
- While the pasta is cooking, pour the sauce into a large saucepan and heat over medium.
- Once the pasta is cooked and drained, add to the sauce and mix well.
- Serve the pasta in shallow bowls and garnish with cherry tomato quarters and chopped parsley.