Pasta and No-Cheese
1 tablespoon oil or vegan margarine of your choice
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
1 tablespoon flour, unbleached organic
1 cup plain unsweetened soymilk
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ginger, dried ground (optional, for "bite")
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional, for color)
1 tablespoon tahini (optional, for earthiness/nuttiness)
1 tablespoon miso (optional, for "sharpness")
1 box frozen cooked winter squash (10-12 oz)
1/2 cup panko or breadcrumbs/crushed crackers/chips of your choice
8oz whole wheat pasta of your choice (I use fuselli)
Preheat oven to 375-400 degrees F.
1) Prepare pasta according to package directions, strain well, and poor into a lightly greased 8x8 or 9x9 casserole dish
2) Heat oil in a medium sauce pan over low/med to med heat and sauté the garlic. You just want to soften/sweat the garlic so be careful not to let it burn.
3) Add flour and stir continuously for a couple of minutes so the flour cooks/toasts but does not burn.
4) Slowly whisk in the soy milk and whisk constantly for several minutes to create a roux. (Make sure the soy milk does not contain vanilla, I'm not sure how good vanilla mac and no-cheese would be!)
4) Next, whisk in nutritional yeast, salt and pepper (and turmeric, ginger, tahini, and miso if you choose to use them)
5) I ran out of room in the ingredients list to add this step... at this point the sauce will be good, but I add a dash of sage, thyme, coriander, hot paprika, cayenne and/or crushed red pepper for some extra flavor. I also like to add low sodium powdered veg broth when I have it on hand.
6) Next add the squash and stir until it melts into the sauce and everything is mixed well (you can add more soy milk or water if you think the sauce is too thick).
7) Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir lightly to be sure all the pasta is coated. Sprinkle the top with the panko and bake in a 375-400 degree oven until the breadcrumbs begin to brown, about 25 minutes.
Notes and a confession: This recipe is very versatile and hard to mess up! I think the key ingredients are the squash, soy milk, nutritional yeast, and a little bit of seasoning... aside from that you can add or subtract whatever you would like.
I've added blended silken tofu, mustard, crumbled tofu, spinach, etc - the recipe above just happens to be my favorite method right now. My boyfriend also likes vegan parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
The sauce is also great on steamed veggies.
I must confess I absolutely despise cheese which is why I don't use fake cheese in the recipe, so this may not be the most cheesy tasting no-cheese sauce, but I like it and I hope all of you do as well. Thanks for trying my recipe!