As I’ve mentioned, I’ve really been missing cheese lately. What I don’t understand about eliminating dairy from my diet is what happens if I were to eat a piece of pizza? Would I ruin all the work of the past six months passing on countless desserts and cheese trays? Would I notice my body feeling worse or different if I shared an ice cream cone with my daughter on a sunny afternoon?
My logical husband suggests I wait a few more months until my next MRI to see if eliminating dairy has reduced the number of lesions on my brain and neck before I make a decision. For now I am sticking to the dairy-free diet hoping it is doing good for my body and allowing me to be strong enough for yoga class.
This faux cheese recipe was shared during yoga class in which the pre-class discussion was about detoxing our bodies and life in general. It was suggested that we consider eliminating dairy, gluten and/or sugar (so hard).
This Butternut Squash Mac n’ Cheese is gluten, dairy and sugar free and seemed to combine the two sides of my irrational thinking. Side A is getting energy and healing from clean eating. Side B is warm, gooey comfort food to provide cozy goodness to my chaotic day.
After preparing and serving the dish, with some peas, to my family a few observations were made:
1. Me: “Looks just like mac and cheese.”
2. Husband: “Tastes like butternut squash soup with noodles.”
3. Kids: “Ew Gross”
4. Me: “It’s definitely not mac and cheese, but it is creamy, gooey, I’m satisfied and saved many calories.”
Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheeze (Vegan with Gluten-free & Nut-Free options)
- 1 fresh butternut squash* (peeled and chopped) OR 1 cup canned butternut squash OR canned pumpkin
- Extra virgin olive oil, S & P
- 1 tbsp Earth Balance (or other non-dairy butter replacer)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened & unflavoured almond milk (revised from 1 cup)
- 1 tbsp arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
- 6 tbsp nutritional yeast, or more to taste
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4-3/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2-1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2-1 tsp kosher salt (to taste) & ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 servings brown rice macaroni (8oz or half a 16oz package) makes 3 1/4 cup cooked
- Mix-ins of choice (e.g., kale, spinach, broccoli, peas, pumpkin seeds, etc)
1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a casserole dish with tin foil. Mix chopped squash with EVOO, S & P. Roast for about 40 minutes, uncovered, or until tender.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the cheeze sauce in a pot on the stove top. Add Earth balance over low-medium heat. In a bowl, whisk together milk and arrowroot powder (or cornstarch or flour) until clumps are gone. Add into pot and whisk. Stir in remaining ingredients (nutritional yeast, Dijon, garlic, lemon, S & P) and whisk over low heat until thickened (about 5-7 minutes or so).
3. Cook your pasta according to package directions. The sauce makes enough to cover 4 servings of pasta.
4. In a blender, blend the sauce with 1 cup of roasted squash (or if using canned, simply stir 1 cup into the pot).
5. Add cooked, drained, and rinsed macaroni into pot, along with cheeze sauce & mix-ins. Heat and serve.
Do you ever cheat from dairy-free eating? Have you noticed a change in your body? Can macaroni and cheese be dairy-free?
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