Mac N’ Cheese (without the REAL mac or the REAL cheese)

When you start to cook a lot more with food limitations, you get the hang of substituting ingredients and creating great meal options for yourself. However, once you find your stride it’s really hard to stop making food. So now that I’ve moved past step 1 which is finding options and now I am moving on to step 2 which is understanding moderation.  Life is a constant work-in-progress!

For this recipe, I found a great way to make Mac N’ Cheese without the real macaroni or real cheese and it’s delicious. Nevertheless, this dish still consists of  pasta and it’s really filling. I had to control my portions here which allowed us to eat this dish for dinner and finish it over several lunches after that night. With that said, the “cheese sauce” is made from butternut squash and tomatoes, so go ahead and pour some extra sauce on your plate.

I’m currently taking a Nutrition Class at the University of Rhode Island so I am fascinated about the foods I eat and the health benefits behind each dish.  Butternut Squash is low in fat and a great source of Vitamin A (great for vision, immune function and helps many vital organs work properly), dietary fiber, potassium and no surprise but like most vegetables it’s sodium and cholesterol free. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but this recipe is a lot better for you than Kraft Mac N’ Cheese.  (Source: WebMD)

Ingredients for “Mac N’ Cheese”: 

  1. 1 butternut squash (cubed)
  2. ½ cup chopped tomatoes (I check the ingredients because some are loaded with random additives and allergen triggers)
  3. 1½ cups water
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  6. Fresh rosemary (about 2-3 sprigs)
  7. ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
  8. ¾ cup coconut milk (I use SO Delicious Dairy-Free Coconut Milk)
  9. 1½ cups gluten-free pasta (I used Tinyada brown rice noodles but I would recommend Jovial brown rice pasta since it doesn’t stay as al dente, which I prefer)
  10. Salt and pepper, to taste; red pepper flakes also give it a nice kick!

How to Make Allergen Friendly Mac N’ Cheese:

Note: This recipe takes 7+ hours to cook, so I recommend making it on the weekend or starting it earlier in the day.

  1. Add ingredients 1-6 in a slow cooker and put it on low for 7-8 hour

IMG_4785

  1. About 45 minutes before serving, put the contents of the slow cooker into a food processor with the nutritional yeast flakes and coconut milk. Blend until everything is mixed. I like leaving some bigger pieces of butternut squash in there for a mix of consistency.
  2. For Al Dente Pasta – Add everything back into the slow cooker, turn it on high and add in the uncooked gluten-free macaroni. Cook for 10-15 minutes.                             For Softer, More Cooked Pasta – Cook pasta first, add everything back into the slow cooker, add in the cooked gluten-free macaroni and let it sit for about 5 minutes on low. (I prefer more cooked but when you reheat the next day al dente pasta does prolong the dish). 

IMG_4786

4. Serve IMG_4789

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