In the spirit of Easter, it’s time to veganize an old-time fave.
Butternut squash and nutritional yeast make this a cheezy pasta that you can feel good about devouring.
Mac & Cheese, hold the cheese, add the peas.
Easter used to mean Mom’s famous Mac & Cheese with baked maple ham. This was a rare occurrence…. a special occasion kind of meal.
My Mom was always the first to tell me to get in my veggies and ditch the processed junk. All organic all the time and hotdogs were out of the question. I was the kid in school with carrot sticks, oranges, potato leek soup and veggie & cheese sandwiches while the other kids around me indulged in chips, pepperoni sticks and chocolate bars. I’d be lying if I didn’t try to make a few trades in elementary school… carrots for chips? I don’t think so…
I thank her for it now though, all the organic goodies and veggie snacks help me develop a palate for healthy deliciousness, and the ability to really taste the true ingredients of whole, organic, unprocessed foods.
But, we didn’t know as much then as we do now about nutrition, animal welfare and environmental impacts of our food system. So, like me, after books, documentaries and research, she has adopted a plant-based diet for longevity, energy, overall health and the environment and she is LOVing it.
- Butternut squash is packed with dietary fibre to keep you regular, helps your eyesight with vitamin A, keeps your bones strong with manganese and vitamin C, and is chalk full of minerals to prevent osteoporosis. Plus with almost no fat and few calories, it’s a perfect weight loss food that will keep you satisfied, and nourished with antioxidants.
- Nutritional yeast AKA ‘nooch’ is high in B vitamins, minerals and amino acids. These amino acids are easily digestible. It’s one of the best sources of vitamin B12 – something everyone should be making sure they get enough of, especially vegans!
- Green peas are low-fat, low calorie, nutrient dense, plant-protein powerhouses. Eat them up! They’re great for weight loss, high in antioxidants for anti-aging, and high in vitamin K to help anchor calcium inside your bones.
Butternut Mac & Peas
Serves: 8-10 (makes great leftovers too, if you don’t have 8 people to serve)
Time: 1 hour
- 1 bag/350g of pasta noodles of choice (go for brown rice or quinoa pasta to make it gluten-free!)
- 1 head of broccoli, chop florets evenly
- 1 cup green peas, frozen
- 4 sprigs parsley or sage
For cheeze sauce:
- 1 – 1 1/2 cups almond milk (unsweetened, plain)
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (or pressed with garlic press)
- 1 large butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeds scooped out
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth, or 1 tbsp veggie broth powder
- 3/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 cup cashews
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Pre-heat oven to 400°F
- Bake butternut squash: place face-down on parchment paper or reusable cooking sheet covered pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, water sauté onions and garlic: while veggies are roasting, heat a deep pot (the same one you will be using to cook the pasta) to medium, add chopped onions to the pan. When pan starts browning add 2 tbsp water to de-glaze the pan. Continue by stirring and adding more water if it’s sticking too much. Add minced garlic. Sauté until translucent (about 5-10 minutes)
- Pour the onions and garlic into your blender
- Cook pasta al denté: fill up that same pot with water and a pinch of salt, bring to a boil, add pasta and cook a couple minutes less than what the directions recommend
- Make sauce: add the roasted squash to the blender with the garlic and onion. Add nutritional yeast, vegetable broth, and 1 cup almond milk. Blend until smooth. Add more almond milk to blend if needed.
- Mix together: strain the pasta and pour it into a deep dish baking dish. Add sauce, peas and broccoli. Mix until combined
- Cover with tin foil and bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove foil and broil on low for 2 minutes
- Make vegan parmesan: Blend all parm ingredients together in food processor or blender into a fine meal (can be stored in fridge for several weeks)
- Serve with a sprig of parsley and a sprinkle of parmesano.
*Note – you can skip the baking step, and just mix it all together, stove-top, in the deep pot