Vegan Mac and Cheez

by Khushboo on February 20, 2017

How is the end of February already in sight…weren’t we just ringing in 2017?? It’s been a particularly productive month for me. I attribute much of that to goal-setting. Rather than loosely have goals floating around in my head, I actually wrote them down typed them out at the start of the month.  After identifying various categories in my life, I listed out every single goal I wanted to achieve, both big and small. One of my smaller fitness-related goals included ‘Cook at least 4 new vegan meals’.

Mac and Cheez Fork

I’ve mentioned it in the past but I am a creature of a habit, especially with my diet. I tend to rotate around the same 4-5 meals until I can no longer fathom the thought.  As much as I was enjoying my meal rota, the aims of this goal were  to motivate me to step out of my comfort zone and also expand my culinary skills.

Mac and Cheez Sauce

I’m pleased to say I will be ticking that goal off before the end of February, both successfully & enjoyably.  I know many people dread the thought of cooking but I personally find it rather therapeutic…at least when I’m in the mood.  With 3 new recipes already made, ticking off the 4th one will be a piece of cake…which might just be what I dabble my hand at.  One of my triumphs was this Vegan Mac and Cheez:  

Mac and Cheez

Although I am not a full-time vegan eater, eating a diet rich in plant-based meals has really been suiting me lately.  Like any normal person, I love cheese but try not to eat it on a regular basis.  One pantry staple which has been a huge help in that department is nutritional yeast.  This is a decent alternative to cheese when you’re looking to add a cheesy flavour to your meals without the dairy.  It’s also a great source of plant-based B vitamins and protein.  Now going back to this Vegan Mac and Cheez.  Obviously the nutritional yeast helps in the flavour department but for creaminess? None other than beta carotene-rich pumpkin.  Seriously guys don’t knock it till you try it…which I highly recommend you do ASAP!  I am almost certain that even the pickiest of eaters will be licking the bowl clean- I may or may not have 😉 .

Vegan Mac and CheezServes 2

Ingredients

  • 100g wholemeal pasta
  • 3 teaspoons of olive oil 
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic gloves, diced
  • 400g pumpkin* – peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano (dried or fresh) + extra for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast **
  • Freshly ground black pepper & salt to taste
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms 

Method

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside.
  2. In the meanwhile, place a large skillet over medium heat and coat with 2 teaspoons of oil.
  3. Once heated, add in the onion & garlic and sauté lightly. Once fragrant, add in the pumpkin.  Continue sautéing for 4-5 minutes.  
  4. Pour over the vegetable broth and oregano.  Reduce heat to low. Cover & simmer for 12-15 minutes until the pumpkin has softened and the liquid has reduced to almost half. 
  5. Remove skillet from heat.  Once slightly cooled, transfer skillet contents to a blender and add in the nutritional yeast.  Puree until smooth, then season with salt & black pepper. 
  6. Place the same skillet over medium heat and coat with the remaining oil. Add in the mushrooms and sauté for 2-3 minutes until they begin to soften.  Add in the cooked pasta and pumpkin sauce.  Stir until the pasta & mushrooms are well-coated with the sauce. 
  7. Transfer mac and cheez to a bowl and garnish with oregano.  If desired, top with extra salt, black pepper and/or nutritional yeast.

Notes

*If pumpkin is not available, replace with equal amounts of squash (e.g. butternut or kabocha).

**If you eat dairy, feel free to replace the nutritional yeast with equal amounts of cheese (for an authentic taste, use a sharp variety like cheddar or parmesan).

What’s your favorite pasta dish? When it’s on a menu, I can rarely resist lobster linguine (extra marinara sauce & parmesan please).

What’s your favorite cheese? Tough call but I’d say feta!

Related posts:

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

dixya @food, pleasure, and health February 21, 2017 at 5:18 pm

seems like you are doing great with goals then! i had intentions rather than goal and like you said, intentionally working towards them has lead me to lot of growth. i havent given nutritional yeast a try as much as i should. this is a good recipe to start with..yum yum

Reply

Khushboo February 24, 2017 at 12:19 pm

Love the idea of intentions versus goals- whatever propels you to move forward :D!

Reply

Nisha @ Honey What's Cooking February 22, 2017 at 1:26 am

This looks great. I don’t think I’ve ever made vegan pasta, only cause I love cheese. 🙂
Favorite cheese – hmmm… parmesan, new york cheddar, manchego. 🙂

Reply

Khushboo February 24, 2017 at 12:20 pm

I’ve only had machego cheese a few times but it’s seriously SO good!

Reply

Shashi at RunninSrilankan February 28, 2017 at 6:50 pm

Khushboo – this vegan mac and cheez sounds wonderful! I’ve been eaing a more plant based diet recently – mostly because my daughter decided to go the vegetarian route and so I end up cooking stuff we both can enjoy though sometimes I have to include some chicken or fish on the side for me – I’m thinking I have to try out this recipe – I haven’t experimented much with nutritional yeast – guess now’s the time eh?! I too find cooking incredibly therapeutic – when I have the time. Hope you are doing well, friend.

Reply

Khushboo March 16, 2017 at 11:00 am

That’s so awesome that you’re daughter is experimenting with her diet, Shashi! If she’s still eating eggs, I highly recommend using nutritional yeast in a frittata or scrambled eggs!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: