Friday, November 11, 2011

Mac and Not-cheese

Ok, so I had some issues with my last vegan "mac & cheese" dish. But I still wanted to attempt another. When my husband was out of town for work, I made my move on this recipe (recommended by a reader- thank you!) from the well-known and well-loved blog Oh She Glows. She said it was "husband approved," but as my husband takes serious offense to cheese substitutes, I thought I'd give it a go on my own.

First, I have to say- I have yet to taste a vegan "cheese" pasta dish that tastes anything remotely like real cheese (let's be honest here). Furthermore, I don't really want something that makes you go, "Oh yeah, that pretty much tastes like cheese." Which leads me to the decision that these dishes should really not be called mac & cheese dishes. Or even cheez, cheeze, or "cheese." Please.

I'm not saying they're bad. To the contrary. But I think they'd have more success with non-veggers if we all just gave up on trying to call them cheese. The sauce in these pasta dishes is something else entirely. This dish was very good, with a hearty, smooth sauce that definitely looked like mac & cheese cheese. But it didn't taste like it. Which is fine- because it tasted like a sort of creamy squash sauce, and I love squash. But I guess mac & squash sauce just doesn't sound the same...

Cheesey looking...

Here's the recipe, adapted from Oh She Glows:
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 Tbsp Earth Balance
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened unflavored almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1.5 Tbsp nutritional yeast (I cut back from 6! - because I can't stand the flavor)
  • 2.5 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Package vegan pasta (such as brown rice, quinoa, or kamut)
  • Optional mix-ins: peas, kale, spinach (any or all!) 
  1. Cook the squash - (I sliced in half and placed face down in pan with about an in of water in oven at ~ 425 for maybe 40 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork; but you can also cut it and cook it as described here.)
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the Earth Balance over low heat. Meanwhile, mix the milk & flour in a small bowl and add them to the melted butter. Stir in the Dijon, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and salt & pepper and whisk over low heat for about 5-7 min, until thickened.
  3. When the squash is done, scoop out 1 cup of cooked squash and place in a blender. Add in the sauce from the saucepan and blend well.
  4. Cook pasta according to package instructions. If using, steam your mix ins.
  5. Mix it all together & enjoy!
A nice warm meal!

I really enjoyed this dish. It's easy to make, healthy, and totally satisfying. Like I said, it didn't taste at all like cheese, but it did taste good. Just like a tofu scramble doesn't taste like scrambled eggs, but is still a good breakfast. I know some people might say if I used all the nutritional yeast, it would taste like cheese, but trust me, I've done that, and nope, it doesn't. The taste of nutritional yeast is not the taste of tangy or nutty cheese. But some people like it, and it does have nutritional benefits, so I use it in moderation.

Now, back to thinking of alternate names for vegan cheese-substitute sauces made from squash.... squeeze? squauce? Lookslikecheesebutisactuallymadefromsquash sauce? Might be a bit long.... ;-)

1 comment:

  1. Glad the recipe worked out for you - I haven't even had a chance to try it myself yet! I think I would prefer a sauce that tastes just like squash rather than a cheese sauce too!


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