All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015
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This is a very easy dish & it is really yummy. I wanted to make a vegan mac & cheese without cashews & without nutritional yeast – because cashews are calorie dense & because nutritional yeast just isn’t for everybody. The flavor of this dish is dominated by the butternut squash – but it is a really mild flavor. Squash is kinda sweet, though, so I thought this needed more salt than I would typically use – to balance that sweetness. I also used boatloads of Crystal hot sauce (my favorite brand). Because the bulk of the “cheese” is really squash – this is a much lighter dish than a regular mac & cheese would be – so you can really go fucking nuts shoving it into your face – in an effort to, at least temporarily, fill the gaping hole in your heart. And then you can pat yourself on the back for eating the (mysteriously trendy) kale that the recipe calls for. Or – you could give the finger to leafy-green-eating hipsters & blow off the kale – or use spinach or peas or fried sage. After all – emotional eating is different for all of us & your aching soul wants what it wants. It is the holidays. Give in. Use this creamy carb porn to suppress things that would probably go away if you faced them but who needs that shit? Facing things? Leave that to the hipsters, too, while you eat this pasta out of the pan with a serving spoon and think hurtful things about man buns, full beards & whimsical mustaches. Might as well bust out the liquor, too. Then, do what I do, and nurse a bottle of champagne while watching doc after doc about people who have it worse than I do. Human rights violations & Jonestown & international women cruelly subjugated. The Holocaust. Rare or incurable diseases. And then think about how good you actually have it & bust open a second bottle of bubbly to celebrate. Works for me.
Easy Vegan Butternut Mac & Cheese with Kale for the Stove Top
Serves 4-6 (or one really depressed person)
1 lb macaroni (or other pasta) – cooked according to directions
1 medium butternut squash – peeled, seeded & cubed
2 TBS vegan butter
2 TBS flour
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other vegan milk)
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
1 vegetable bouillon cube (optional)
2 tsp mustard powder
1 TBS onion powder
1 TBS garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 head kale – ribs removed & chopped (optional)
Cook your pasta.
Boil some water & cook the squash until it is very soft – maybe 15 minutes. Drain.
Melt the butter in a stock pot & whisk in the flour. Add the bouillon cube & then add the milk in small increments, melting the bouillon cube but also not adding more milk until the roux is thick & bubbly.
When you have used the full cup of milk, blend the roux with the squash and cream cheese. I had to add a little more almond milk to get it to blend – but be careful it doesn’t get too thin. Add the spices (I added mine later (as the photos show) but that was because I was winging it. If you add them in the blender – they will blend in better. Season with S&P. Blend until very smooth.
When the pasta is done, drain it & return to the pan. Stir in SOME of the butternut sauce. I say some because there might be too much – depending on how wet you like your mac & cheese. Save a little – to pour on top of the mac & cheese when you serve it. Stir in the kale until it wilts. You can heat this on the stove – if things have cooled to much – but be careful not to burn it. Season again with S&P & serve with a few tablespoons of butternut sauce on top. Voila!