Monday, January 30, 2012

Macrobiotic Mac and Cheeze or, as I like to call it, Make My Heart Smile Casserole

I will be the first person to admit that I usually think vegan macaroni and cheese is a sham.  It's not the same as the real thing and I was convinced that it never wiould be close to the same thing.  I have to say though that I was really excited when I found a recipe for Macrobiotic Mac and Cheese in the super wonderful Blissful Bites cookbook.  Christy Morgan, the author, got creative and wonderful and used steamed butternut squash as a base.

Recently I gave the recipe a try.  I loved it and I think that Jennifer loved it even more, which was really pretty surprising.  I made some adaptations along the way and the final outcome was creamy, flavorful, and the right sort of filling.  It's made with quinoa pasta which was all sorts of fantastic too!  J and I had never tried it before as the thought of gluten free pasta makes us more than just a little uneasy.  I served it up with a side of steamed kale and a perfectly wonderful dinner was born.

Macrobiotic "Mac and Cheeze"
4 cups of butternut squash, cubed and steamed until tender
1 tsp. tamari (I used shoyu)
2 8 ounce boxes quinoa pasta shells (I used Ancient Harvest brand)
2 Tbsp. white miso (I only had a mellow brown miso on hand so that is what I used)
2 Tbsp. tahini (I used three tablespoons because I love me some tahini)
1 small lemon, juiced
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp. black pepper
Paprika, for garnish

Steam the squash until tender and drizzle the tamari over the squash before placing the lid on the pan.  The squash will take about 25-30 minutes to get tender.  While the squash is steaming, boil the pasta according to the instructions on the package.

When the squash is done, blend it with the rest of the ingredients except for the pasta and paprika.  It's best if you blend it in a food processor since a blender may or may not like the thickness of the sauce.

Toss the sauce with the pasta and bake it in a casserole dish for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove the dish from the oven, sprinkle the paprika on to make it pretty and serve it up ASAP.