Best Ever Vegan Mac

Best Ever Vegan Mac - The Clean Gourmet

I’ve been holding onto this for a while now, but I’ve been getting a lot requests for the recipe lately, so it’s time to share!  Most of my clients are dairy-free (I’ve actually been avoiding dairy as well in order to cut back on inflammatory joint pain), which means comfort food that they can enjoy within their dietary restrictions is a very important part of my repertoire.  Vegan mac is definitely a “go-to”.

This mac satisfies all kinds of cravings, with a super savory sauce and crunchy topping, but it’s very nutritious.  Instead of cheese, butter and flour, the sauce is made of cashews, nutritional yeast and spices (turmeric!!).  Thus, instead of empty carbs and loads of saturated fat, you get protein, fiber, anti-inflammatory anthocyanins and healthy fats!

Bring this to your next football party or serve it to vegetarians at your Thanksgiving dinner with a side of cranberry sauce ;).

COOKING NOTES:

Do not skip the cauliflower!  Cauliflower is not a randomly added vegetable.  It has a deep umami flavor that makes the mac more “cheesy”.

Since the sauce is nut based, you’ll need to thin it out quite a bit with pasta water, as it will thicken over time.  If you accidentally throw out the pasta water, don’t worry, you can use regular water or broth to thin.

Best Ever Vegan Mac:

Serves 6

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 shallot, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small/medium head cauliflower

12 ounces pasta (brown rice pasta is best for gluten-free, as it’s thicker than quinoa or corn based ones)

1 cup pasta cooking water

½ cup parsley, finely chopped (can make extra for garnish)

salt and pepper, to taste

For the vegan “cheese” sauce:

1½ cups raw cashews, preferably soaked 2-3 hours and strained

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup water

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon sweet paprika

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon Dijon or yellow mustard

panko or crumbled potato chips

turmeric and paprika, for garnish

Heat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.

Blend all of the ingredients for the “cheese” sauce in a blender until smooth, about a minute.

Sweat shallot and garlic in a large pan. Add cauliflower with ½ cup water, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook until just tender.

Cook pasta in salted water until it’s about a minute undercooked. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and strain.

Mix the pasta, cauliflower, parsley and “cheese” sauce.  Place in oiled 9×9 baking dish.  Place in oven and bake until crispy, about 20 minutes:

Best Ever Vegan Mac - The Clean Gourmet

Remove from oven and, if using panko, top with panko and spray/drizzle with oil.  Place under broiler for 2 minutes, until browned.

If using crumbled potato chips, skip the panko/broiler step and just sprinkle the top with chip crumbs just before serving.  Dash the top with turmeric, paprika and parsley to garnish.

Best Ever Vegan Mac - The Clean Gourmet


Hungarian Beef and Mushrooms

I’ve been getting a lot of “paleo” and “whole30” clients lately, meaning people who do not eat grains, legumes (including peanuts) and often no dairy, except butter.  All meat should be organic and red meat/dairy should be grass-fed to ensure proper omega-6:omega-3 fatty acid ratios, so as to prevent inflammation.  Unlike the original Atkins diet (another grain-free, low carb diet), paleo and Whole30 diets emphasize eating plenty of vegetables and high quality proteins, while limiting processed foods, such as deli meats, bacon, etc.

Sauerkraut and yogurt add tang and probiotics, while matching perfectly with this Hungarian-style dish.  If you have higher caloric/carbohydrate needs, serve this with egg noodles rather than spaghetti squash.

*Note that this only serves 2-3 people, so you may need to double the recipe if you have guests or a family.

Hungarian Beef and Mushrooms - The Clean Gourmet

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

For the Beef and Mushrooms:

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ yellow onion, cut into 1/4″ strips

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 large shallot, minced

8 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, sliced 1/4″ thick

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg or 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

2 sprigs fresh tarragon, picked or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1/2 cup red wine

1/3 cup low sodium beef or vegetable broth

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

10 turns of black pepper

.6 lb sirloin or flank steak, cut against the grain into 2″ strips, 1/4″ thick

1/3 cup fresh picked dill, coarsely chopped

To serve:

baked spaghetti squash or egg noodles

sauerkraut or vinegary sautéed cabbage

Bulgarian yogurt or whole Greek yogurt (or a spritz of lemon juice if dairy-free)

What to do:

In a cast iron skillet or medium dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic and shallot until soft, about 5  minutes.  Next, add the mushrooms and brown, stirring occasionally.  Once you get some nice color, add the paprika, nutmeg or allspice, tarragon and red wine.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, until most of the wine is evaporated.

Add broth, salt, pepper and beef.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes.  Stir in dill.

Serve over spaghetti squash and sauerkraut.  Top with yogurt.

Hungarian Beef and Mushrooms - The Clean Gourmet