December 8, 2010

Mac & Cheese -- Veggie Style

I've recently made the decision that I want to go back to my vegetarian ways. I was a vegetarian for a few years in high school & college, but missed chicken & turkey too much so went back. I never started eating red meat again [ick], but do love me some chicken from time to time.

However, with starting the fertility process, I wanted to really start eating WELL. I have [more than] a few pounds to lose, which I know will aid in the whole thing, but also just want to be healthier as a whole, regardless of what the baby situation decides to be.

So, I'm going to attempt the vegetarian route again for a while. I'm going to give myself 30 days to try it out, and see where I am after that. I've reached out to a couple of friends who are vegetarians, and was offered some really great sites with some fabulous recipes.

The first one I can't wait to try this weekend? Mac & Cheese .... without any cheese :) I'll let you know how it turns out, but from what I've heard [& read in the comments!] it's FABULOUS.

What You Need:

  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 8 ounces macaroni
  • 4 slices of bread, torn into large pieces
  • 2 tablespoons + 1/3 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup red or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

What You Do:

  • In a large pot, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente. In a colander, drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  • In a food processor, make breadcrumbs by pulverizing the bread and 2 tablespoons margarine to a medium-fine texture. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, add shallots, potatoes, carrots, onion, and water, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.
  • In a blender, process the cashews, salt, garlic, 1/3 cup margarine, mustard, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne. Add softened vegetables and cooking water to the blender and process until perfectly smooth.
  • In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta and blended cheese sauce until completely coated. Spread mixture into a 9 x 12 casserole dish, sprinkle with prepared breadcrumbs, and dust with paprika.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the top has turned golden brown.

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