Using cashews to cream up dishes is not new in the vegan world, but it’s new to me so I’m excited!
I’ve been a vegetarian for over 25 years and a vegan for just over a year but experimenting with the many ways I can boost my food flavor and still eat healthy is still relatively new to me. While the various vegan recipes I’ve seen all over the web look delicious, the only foods I’ve experimented with are bean burgers, chick peas (garbanzos) and kale. With this mac ‘n cheese alternative, I can cross cashews off my growing list of foods I need to integrate into my vegan diet. But the cashew-creamy-food-list is a long one in itself! And now that the cold weather has detoured my food cravings to comfort dishes, creamy food is the best comfort I can think of to satisfy my palate.
For this recipe I used whole cashews that I soaked for about four hours before processing. If you’re watching your fat content, keep in mind that one serving of cashews – about 1/4th cup contains about 12 grams of fat – that’s a little over 100 of its 160 calories of fat. But don’t fret. Our bodies need a certain amount of fat to be healthy. The key is getting that fat in healthy ways rather from potato chips, twinkies, and deep-fried foods.
So now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, if you’ve never experimented with cashews, try this creamy, dairy-free alternative to traditional macaroni and cheese.
(Note: for this trial recipe, I used small amounts of each ingredient. Feel free to increase the amount based on your needs. Macaroni and cheese can NEVER be too creamy or cheesy) 🙂
- Elbow macaroni – two cups
- Cashews – two cups soaked
- Soy or rice milk – about one cup – or amount needed for a sauce that’s not too thin.
- Shredded vegan cheese – I used Almond cheese alternative
- Your favorite seasonings: I used garlic powder, pepper and a little bit of Mrs. Dash Chipotle
- Cooking spray – I like the Olive Oil cooking spray
Soak the cashews for at least four hours to soften them.
Cook the macaroni until tender. Pre-heat oven to 275 or 300 – depending on how fast your oven cooks.
Put cashews in your food processor, Magic Bullet, Nutribullet or whatever type of processing gadget you have. Add the milk a little at a time to make your cashew sauce. Add as much or as little milk as you need to make a creamy, pourable sauce.
Spray a baking dish with cooking spray; then layer the ingredients – macaroni, sauce, shredded cheese, seasonings and so on until the pan is full.
Bake for 25 minutes or until set.