But first, the secret to this cheesy-tasting pasta dish without the cheese. It's something called nutritional yeast, and it's magical and delicious.
It's not cheese, yet it tastes like cheese.
Everyone who knows me knows that I love love love air popped popcorn. If you knew me years ago, you also know that I used to suffocate my popcorn with another fake cheese product. That white cheddar cheese powder you can purchase in the popcorn/chip/junk food aisle at your local grocery store? That stuff is addicting, but it's also full of weird gunk that no one should really be putting in their body. Then there came the time I discovered nutritional yeast, and that it tasted like cheese! Upon this discovery, I ditched the fake white powdery junk and now always opt for the less processed, healthier alternative (albeit still 'fake' cheese). After a toss of coconut oil and salt, I'll sprinkle some nutritional yeast on my popcorn and voilà, delish!
Okay, so nutritional yeast tastes like cheese. It's delicious. You can use it on your popcorn, blah blah blah. But, what about its great health benefits?
1. It's a great source of vitamin B-12. Apparently that's what gives nutritional yeast its yellow colour, but it's also what helps to maintain our energy levels, support mental stability, and reduce the risk of anemia, amongst other fun things.
2. It's high in protein. There's something like 18 amino acids in nutritional yeast, and 6 grams of protein in 2 tablespoons.
3. It's gluten-free. For all those scared of the little gluten monster, you can enjoy nutritional yeast with a happy belly to boot.
4. It's salt-free, too. Ditch the salt. Sprinkle this stuff on vegetables, pasta, or my personal favourite, popcorn (!) for a tasty and guilt-free seasoning.
5. And, there's a bunch of other vitamins and minerals. Such as folic acid, biotin, iron, magnesium, and zinc.
But more importantly, on to the mac 'n' cheeeeese.
You'll probably be surprised to learn that my cheesy sauce recipe is actually from the package of Bob's Red Mill nutritional yeast flakes that I purchased a while back. Though, I have made a few changes, like replacing butter with coconut oil, making this recipe a truly dairy-free (& vegan) alternative. I also used brown rice flour instead of white flour, so that when we pair the sauce with some brown rice pasta, this dish is gluten-free, too. Serve it to friends and family without telling them it's vegan and they'll never know the difference.
Vegan Macaroni & Cheese
with yummy sauce adapted from Bob's Red Mill
1 tsp. mustard
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 cups cold water
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
your favourite pasta, I like rice pasta
1. In a saucepan, whisk together nutritional yeast, flour, and salt.
2. Place pan over medium heat and whisk in water. Continuing whisking as sauce thickens, bring to a rolling boil, reduce heat, cook 1 minute, and remove from heat.
3. Whisk in coconut oil and mustard. Sauce will thicken as it cools, but will thin down when heated.
4. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Once cooked to your liking, strain. Gently incorporate pasta to your saucepan with cheese sauce, tossing to evenly coat. Serve and enjoy!
Makes 8 servings.
Try This: When I was a kid, my mom used to put green peas and canned tuna in our macaroni and cheese - I guess so that there was some kind of nutritional value, because let's face it, our macaroni and cheese came in a box and was labelled as dinner made by Mr. Kraft himself. However, to this day, I still like to toss in some peas and tuna, for ol' times sake. Plus, it's really, truly delicious. Any other ways you like to spice up your macaroni and cheese?
info and image via just good energy and healthy happy life
DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.