TGBK friends, it's Thanksgiving this week and the perfect time to express how grateful we are for each and every one of you. Keeping up with new recipes and posts from week to week would seem a lot more like the hard work it is if we didn't love it so much. But knowing that there are people all over the country waiting on and enjoying our recipes makes it so enjoyable and definitely worth the time and energy. We wanted to create something really special for you all this week and are so happy with the result. If you're vegan/vegetarian and looking for a decadent dish to enjoy at Thanksgiving dinner then this one is especially for you - and even if you're not this will make a delicious side to enjoy and share. So in the spirit of the holidays let's get straight to the recipe (and eating!) and skip on the teaching this week.
Pumpkin and Cashew Cream"Mac & Cheese"
PREP TIME: 30 minutes + 8 hour soaking time
TOTAL TIME: 40 minutes + 8 hour soaking time
Servings: 4-6 servings
8 oz dried pasta (we used quinoa pasta)
3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked
3/4 cup water (fresh water, not the soaking water)
1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp sea salt, more to taste
1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp black pepper powder, more or less to taste
Fried sage bread crumb topping
4 slices of quality bread, about 3 cups cubed (we used whole wheat sunflower seed bread)
1/2 cup walnut pieces
6 sage leaves
2 Tbsp dehydrated kale powder
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Soak cashews in room temperature water for 8 hours or overnight. Drain cashews from soaking water then add to a high speed blender or food processor, cover with fresh water, and blend on high until a smooth cream like texture is formed. Add in pumpkin puree, nutritional yeast, salt, nutmeg, cayenne, onion powder, and black pepper. Process on high until a smooth "cheese sauce" texture is formed then set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking start making the bread crumb topping. Begin by toasting the bread until golden brown. Cut into small cubes and place in a food processor. Process until bread crumb texture is formed then set aside. In a sauté pan add coconut oil and bring to medium heat. Add sage leaves and fry on both sides until crispy, about 1-2 minutes. Remove fried sage from the pan and with the remaining oil in the pan, add walnut pieces, bread crumbs, dehydrated kale powder, sea salt, and pepper. Toast mixture in sauté pan for 3-4 minutes until fragrant. Remove mixture from the heat then add in crumbled fried sage.
To assemble the "mac and cheese" mix cooked pasta with "cheese sauce" then place in an oven proof dish (11" x 7" rectangular pan, 8" x 2" round pan, or 8" x 8" square pan). Top with bread crumb topping and bake in a pre-heated oven for 5-7 minutes until warmed through. This dish is best served warm right out of the oven. If you have left overs, store in the fridge and reheat in a 350 degree preheated oven for 8-10 minutes.
We promise this is vegan but you could easily be fooled by the the final result. The pumpkin and cashew cream create that perfect creamy richness you would expect from traditional mac and cheese. The flavors of spicy cayenne, sweet nutmeg, and tangy nutritional yeast create such a perfect balance that you won't even miss or notice that this "mac and cheese" dish contains no actual cheese. Not to forget about the breadcrumb topping with crunchy walnuts and fried sage for an extra pop of texture and flavor. Top that all off with a beautiful color from the pumpkin puree and this dish will be the unexpected star this holiday. We hope you enjoy this and other good food with friends and family this holiday week. Since we will be doing a lot of the same we won't be posting next week but will be back first thing in December with more holiday inspired eats. See you then!
With heartfelt thanks,
Jess and Cecelia
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Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.