I was going to start this blog off with some background on who I am and why I’ve made the decision to live a Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free diet, but after posting pictures of the last dinner I created, I got quite a few requests for the recipe. So I changed my mind.
Trust me, I will explain all about my decisions and the information I learned through my research of the American food production system and how it affects our health, but first – here’s a wonderful little recipe that I think you’ll love.
There's nothing better than a bowl of comfort food for those long winter night writing sessions!
Vegan / Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Mac-n-Cheese
Servings: I’m sure the proper way to serve this would be 4-6 servings, but let’s be honest, it’s Mac-n-Cheese. Healthy Mac-n-Cheese. So, realistically, 2-3. Okay, some nights, only 1.
For the Roux
3 Tablespoons oil or vegan nut butter
1/3 cup Gluten-Free flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill GF All-Purpose Flour the best)
2 cups unsweetened almond or coconut milk (Please don’t ever use soy milk. Like, ever.)
For the Cheese Sauce
1 medium or 2 small Sweet Potatoes – peeled and cubed into 1 inch or smaller chunks (you want 1 to 1 1/2 cups mashed)
1 Clove Garlic – minced
1 teaspoon Organic Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon Liquid Aminos or Organic Tamari
1 teaspoon Paprika (smoked paprika is best, but the regular kind is good too)
1 teaspoon Dried Parsley (or 2-3 teaspoons fresh, minced well)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Dried Red Pepper Flakes
1 teaspoon Pink Himalayan Salt (or Sea Salt)
½ teaspoon White Pepper
¼ cup Nutritional Yeast
For the Pasta
You can use whatever Gluten-Free pasta you are comfortable with. My favorite (and we’ve tried quite a few brands) is the Ancient Harvest Organic Corn and Quinoa flour pasta. It has a very similar texture to regular pasta, and it doesn’t fall apart when used in soup, chili, or casseroles. Some of the other brands I’ve used literally turn to mush.
Feel free to add in whatever other items you want. As you see in the picture, I added 1 cup of organic frozen peas for this dish. I have also added sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, or a combination of those.
Put the sweet potato chunks in a pot with enough filtered water to cover and place on a burner set on high. Boil until soft (so a fork can easily go through them, but not so much they start to break apart)
While they are cooking, set a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Then, heat the oil in a good-sized cast iron pan over medium heat. When it is warm (don’t let it start sizzling), add the GF flour and whisk for a minute or so. Let it cook, but don’t let it brown. Next, add 1/4 cup of the almond or coconut milk and whisk until well blended. Continue adding 1/4 cup of the milk at a time and whisking until the roux is thick and creamy, but not heavy. You want cream of potato or pea soup consistency. Reserve at least 1/2 cup of the milk for the next step.
When that is done, check your potatoes. If they are ready, drain and return to pot, then mash well. Measure out 1 cup and place in a high-speed blender or food processor along with all the other ingredients for the Cheese Sauce. Blend until super creamy and there are no lumps. Add the remaining almond or coconut milk, again adding 1/4 cup at a time. Depending on how much mashed sweet potato you have left, you can either save it (if it's a lot) or add it in.
Now, add your pasta to the boiling water and cook according to directions.
While the pasta cooks, begin adding the cheese sauce to the roux, adding about 1/4 to 1/2 cup at a time and whisking fully before adding more. This will ensure your sauce does not clump. When all of the cheese sauce is added, turn the heat up to medium-high and let the sauce get just to boiling, then turn back to simmer. When the pasta is done, drain it and rinse it with cold water and set aside. Finally, return to your sauce and season to taste. If it’s not ‘cheesy’ enough, add more nutritional yeast. If not spicy enough, add more red pepper flakes or white pepper. It’s up to you. When it’s perfect, gently stir in the pasta, let sit for 1 minute so the noodles are warm, then spoon into bowls and serve.
Let me know what you think!