Mac and Cheese is a fall favorite and here we gave it a mix up to swap out the dairy. We made a rich creamy sauce that mixes in pumpkin to bump up the fall vibes for this version of mac and cashew cheese bake.
The base ingredients are simple & you can be creative and add in your own personal twist with spices and herbs to change up the flavors. I played around with several batches and made one that was extra spicy, one that had truffle salt and sauteed mushrooms, and another with paprika and even some ground Marsala just to play with the more interesting pumpkin flavors in the cheese sauce.
One box of macaroni noodles (or any noodle you like – I used cavatappi so it would scoop up even more sauce)
Cook according to directions on the box, drain, rinse and set aside
2 cups Raw cashews (pre-soak for 3 hours in water to soften)
1 cup plant milk (I used oatmilk)
Drain cashews that have been soaking for several hours to soften & add to blender
Pour in plant milk & pumpkin puree and blend until smooth
Add in 2 teaspoons vitamin c powder (for tangy cheese like flavor ) + onion powder, paprika, garlic, and salt to taste preferences.
Pour the cheese mixture onto the pasta.
Spread out in a baking dish and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350- 400 degrees or until hot enough to your liking. It all depends on the size of the baking dish you use. Smaller portions need less time or less heat to be thoroughly baked through.
In the last 5 minutes of baking add the panko bread crumbs that have a tablespoon of herbal seasoning of your choice and bake just until golden brown on top. (I like to use the gluten free panko)
Note : If you like really creamy mac and cheese, you might add a little plant milk as you are baking it or cover the dish with a lid so that the moisture stays in the pan.
Now for the mix ups! Time to get creative.
- Marsala 1 tsp + Cummin 1/2 tsp + fresh parsley / green herbs
2. Truffle Salt + Sauteed Mushrooms + fresh parsley / green herbs
3. Chopped Jalapeno + hot sauce on top if you dare!