This is a serious comfort food of mine and Jonny’s. Every time we are sick or not feeling all that great, it’s either a miso soup or a warm comfy bowl of mac and cheese. There’s something about the creaminess that makes you feel instantly “comfier”.
And since Miss J has started school, she has already caught two colds... Germs really spread fast with kids! So I had to work on a plant based version that would be as satisfying as the one I grew up with.
The key, is to make sure to not make it too thick. You should make it even on the thin side because you don’t want it pasty by the time you serve it. Simply add a bit more almond milk if you feel you need to.
And the most wonderful part, is my secret ingredient; deep fried capers served on top! It ads a delicious crunchy texture.
-1 Small sugar pumpkin (about 3 pounds) cut in half seeds removed
-2 Tbsp avocado oil divided
-2 Small shallots thinly diced
-2 Tbsp arrowroot starch
-1 Cup almond milk (you may need a bit more)
-4 Tbsp plant based parmesan (more for serving)
-3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
-1-2 Tbsp Peach Hot Sauce
-1 tsp sea salt
-3 Tbsp fresh tarragon
-1/4 Cup crispy capers
Preheat your oven at 350 degrees.
Cut your pumpkin in half and scrape off the seeds (keep for roasting later).
Place side up on a baking tray.
Brush the top with about 1 Tbsp of the avocado oil.
Bake for about 45 minutes. Or until a fork easily pierces the flesh.
In a large pot, bring enough water to a boil to cook your pasta.
Add some avocado oil (keeping just a bit left for the shallots later), a bit of sea salt and your pasta.
Mix frequently in the beginning to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
Cook until al dente and rinse under really hot water.
At the same time, prepare your crispy capers according to this method and set aside.
Then prepare the sauce starting with quickly cooking your shallots in a small pan with the rest of the avocado oil.
Add to a blender along with 2 cups of your baked pumpkin flesh, arrowroot starch, almond milk, plant based parmesan, nutritional yeast, peach hot sauce and sea salt.
Blend until smooth.
Taste for saltiness and spiciness and adjust. Add more almond milk if too thick. Add more nutritional yeast if too thin.
Transfer to the earlier pasta pot on medium low heat.
When warm, add the pasta and warm up a little longer. If it gets too think, add a bit of almond milk.
Serve right away in large bowls with some parmesan, tarragon and crispy capers on top.
Voila! Homemade plant based mac and cheese.
*I wouldn't recommend making enough for left overs, but if you do have some, add some almond milk during the reheating process.
** To cook your pumpkin seeds, start by removing as much of the flesh as possible from the seeds in a large bowl of water. The flesh should sink and the seeds should float. Once you've harvested the seeds, mix with some avocado oil and sea salt. Spread on a tray with parchment paper. Roast in the oven at 300 degrees for about 30 to 40 minutes mixing every so often.