This recipe hearkens back to my childhood. My mom used to make this and we all loved it. It's a healthy, tasty, baked, non-dairy mac-n-cheese-type recipe. And it has become a staple dinner at our house. I make it every couple of weeks and we enjoy the leftovers for lunches.
The original recipe comes from an unusual cookbook called Ten Talents. To add extra healthful benefits I've altered the recipe to include veggies. Any chance I can get to add more veggies to a dish, I'll take. I've listed the veggies I most often use, but feel free to substitute with your favorites, or what you have on hand.
One note, the sauce includes an uncommon ingredient, nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast flakes are often used to add a "cheesy" taste to non-dairy "cheese" recipes. It can be found at a health food store and there really isn't any substitute for it. (Active dry yeast and brewer's yeast are not anything like nutritional yeast.) I hope you might consider trying this dish despite the ingredient list, it's worth the effort.
(Finally, I realize this is not the prettiest of pictures. But I promise it tastes delicious!)
BAKED PASTA CHEE
(adapted from Ten Talents)
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1 lb pasta of choice (use brown rice pasta for gluten-free)
1 c. raw cashew pieces
1 c. water
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 c. nutritional yeast flakes
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (opt.)
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2-1 bell pepper
1 big handful baby kale
1 c. diced tomatoes
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
While pasta is cooking, make the sauce. In a blender add cashews, water, lemon juice, sesame seeds, nutritional yeast, salt, and spices. Blend until smooth while slowly adding the olive oil through the top. Then add the veggies and canned tomatoes and blend again.
Mix the drained pasta and sauce together and pour into greased baking dish. If desired, top with seasoned bread crumbs. Bake for 30-40 minutes to heat through.
Serve with a salad for a satisfying meal.