This recipe is from one of my all-time favourite food bloggers, Sarah Britton of the My New Roots Blog. She has a knack for turning comfort foods into delicious, plant based meals. This recipe is delicious and perfect for kids and adults, a family friendly dinner. This recipe uses whole food ingredients in place of the cheese to lighten things up and make this recipe allergy friendly. That said, I dare you to try this even if you are a cheese lover. The cheesy flavour comes from nutritional yeast, a delicious and nutritious vegan seasoning that has a deep cheesy flavour. Have you had popcorn with ‘yeast’ from your local grocer here in Bermuda? This is nutritional yeast! Find it at your local health food store. An important note is that this is not interchangeable with dry or active yeast, they are very, VERY different.
This recipe is reminiscent of a homemade mac n cheese from my childhood, nostalgia is not lost on this one. As we tinker into colder months, make this for a gathering and enjoy with steamed greens or a big green salad. I served this with a green salad in an herby Dijon vinaigrette.
1 large butternut squash
4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 ½ cups / (about 1 can)
¾ cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 ½ tsp. fine grain sea salt
2 tsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. cold-pressed olive oil
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 – 3 cups plant-based milk, as needed
4 cups / 340g whole grain gluten-free macaroni (or your favourite pasta)
Sunflower Crumble Topping
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes
½ tsp. fine grain sea salt
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. ground paprika
Parsley for garnish, if desired
1. Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C. Peel and cube butternut squash, peel the garlic cloves, and place everything on a baking sheet with the coconut oil. Place in the oven to melt coconut oil, remove from oven and toss to coat, then set them back in the oven to cook, about 15-20 minutes. The butternut should be slightly blistered and tender.
2. While the squash is roasting, make the Sunflower Crumble Topping. In a large dry skillet over medium heat, toast the sunflower seeds, tossing often so that they do not burn, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer the seeds to a large plate to cool. Place them in a food processor with the remaining topping ingredients and pulse several times to combine and chop up some of the seeds. Season to taste. Set aside.
3. Transfer the roasted squash and garlic it to a blender with all ingredients except for the milk. With the motor running, add the milk until the desired consistency is reached: you are looking for a very thick, yet pourable sauce. Add milk until the blend is smooth, creamy and just the right consistency.
4. Set a pot of water on to boil with plenty of salt. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, and return to the pot, drizzle with a little olive oil, toss to coat, and keep the lid on to retain the heat.
5. Pour sauce over the pasta in increments and keep stirring so that it folds into all of the nooks and crannies. You should be able to use up all of the sauce, but if you have any leftovers serve them with the finished dish or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
6. Turn down the oven temperature to 325°F/160°C. Transfer the pasta to a casserole or baking dish. Sprinkle the top generously with the Sunflower Crumble Topping. Bake until warmed through and golden on top, about 20 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired. Serve hot.