I don't really celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Maybe when Hugo's bigger it'll be a more exciting event, but for now, it's just a good opportunity to eat green food.
Naturally green, that is. As in vegetables. Like this green vegan mac and cheese!
The green comes from pesto, romanesco broccoli, and baby spinach. No green food coloring here.
Many vegan mac and cheese recipes call for potatoes to add to the creamy texture, but I didn't want to coat starchy pasta with a starchy sauce.
Then I remembered making cauliflower cream pasta from the Thug Kitchen cookbook (highly recommended!) and decided to add romanesco broccoli in the sauce!
Have you tried romanesco? I promise, it only looks like space food and it's actually quite delicious. Think of it as a cross between a cauliflower and
I roasted it in the oven along with an entire head of garlic before puréeing it in the blender for the "cheese". It doesn't really add to the color but makes it creamy without it being too heavy.
We don't have pasta as often as we used to, which is probably a good thing. It's just hard to come by good gluten-free pasta in Japan!
So far I've tried corn pasta from the local store and kale pasta from Costco but both were mealy and not even close to the real deal.
But the organic brown rice pasta from Jovial Foods is the bomb dot com (do people still say that?). Elbow pasta is classic for mac and cheese, but it was out of stock so I'm using penne. Still delicious!
I love this green vegan mac and cheese because it's SO easy! The sauce comes together in a blender, you can boil the snap peas with the pasta (or any veg of choice), and I don't feel sluggish because it's dairy and gluten-free!
As a non-vegan, I won't pretend it tastes like real mac and cheese. I like to think of all vegan mac and cheeses as its own dish separate from the original stuff.
But as homemade vegan mac and cheeses go, this is pretty damn good.
So what do you think? Would your kids be fooled into eating this vegan mac and cheese this St. Patrick's Day?
Tristan's not the biggest fan of romanesco, which is
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Green Vegan Mac and Cheese
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 cup romanesco broccoli florets
- drizzle of olive oil
- pinch of salt
- ½ cup (120ml) raw cashews, soaked in water overnight
- 2 handfuls baby spinach
- ¾ cup (180ml) unsweetened almond milk
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons vinegar
- 3 tablespoons vegan pesto
- 12 oz (340g) gluten-free short cut pasta
- 2 cups (480ml) sugar snap peas
- Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
- Without peeling the garlic, slice the whole head of garlic in half and drizzle some olive oil on the exposed surface, sprinkle a pinch of salt, close the garlic and wrap it up with aluminum foil. Wrap the romanesco florets with aluminum foil as well and place both on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- While the garlic and romanesco are cooling, boil a pot of water. Once it reaches a boil, add salt and cook the pasta according to package instructions. Add the snap peas in the last 3 minutes.
- While the pasta is cooking, make the green cheese sauce. Press on the bottoms of the garlic cloves to push each clove out of the skin. Add all cloves of garlic, romanesco florets, and the rest of the ingredients to the blender. Purée until smooth.
- Drain the pasta and snap peas and put them back into the pot with the heat turned off. Stir in the sauce and serve while hot.