Monday, 18 August 2014

Specials Board: Healthy Mac 'n' Cheese

Hands up who likes pasta? It is such a simple ingredient that allows you to have dinner on the table in a matter of minutes. Check out my courgette pasta with creamy basil sauce, which is on the table in less than 15 minutes. Ideal for a week night dinner when you're tired, and so much healthier than a take away.

Before transferring to a vegan lifestyle I used to love pasta with a cheesy sauce such as mac 'n' cheese or pasta with a four cheese sauce, but it used to be laden with calories! Now I'm vegan, I still love a 'cheese' sauce but I am trying to be a healthier individual and don't want to rely heavily on the range of vegan cheeses that are available. I've tried many vegan cheeses and I have been disappointed with some and shocked by others as some of the ingredients used in some vegan cheeses I can't even pronounce!  It's easy to replace ingredients with a vegan substitute and I'm not advising that you give up the substitutes there is a time and place for everything, but everything in moderation! 

Today after scrutinising the label on a vegan cheese substitute I decided to edge on the side of caution and decided to make a "cheese" sauce with no vegan cheeses being used.

I needed a yellow colour to my sauce and a cheesey taste so after raiding my spice rack and store cupboard two ingredients that stood out and had to be included were turmeric and nutritional yeast! I have previously experimented with "cheese" sauces for last years vegan mofo and I used different ingredients to replicate a cheese sauce with varying results. My most successful ones included Mac 'n' Cheese using sweet potato and Mac 'n' cheese using yellow peppers.

Today I'm using another vegetable that's yellow in colour and I'm also inundated with them from my garden, I'm showcasing the pattypan squash!

Ingredients - Serves 2-3 

1 Large Pattypan squash, or 2-3 smaller ones totaling 325g*, cut into chunks
150ml Unsweetend almond milk
55g Cashews
3 Tbsp Nutritional yeast1 Tsp Mustard powder
½ Tsp Ground turmeric
¼ Tsp Pink Himalayan salt
160g Pasta

* You could use a yellow courgette instead if you can't get your hands on a pattypan


Cook your pasta in boiling water as per the cooking instructions.

In a saucepan add the cut up pattypan/courgette and a little boiling water. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are al dente, don't cook until soft. Drain the vegetables and add to a blender.

Add the almond milk and cashews and blend until you have a smooth liquid. Add the nutritional yeast, mustard powder, turmeric and salt and blend again.

Drain the pasta and tip back into the saucepan, add the sauce and stir to coat over a low heat. The sauce will thicken over the heat, add a splash more almond milk if you want the sauce a thinner consistency.

I've submitted this recipe to Shaheens "Vegetable Palette Challenge". Shaheen runs the fabulous Allotment to Kitchen blog and every month Shaheen chooses a colour, and you make a recipe with vegetables, fruits or a combination of both with that colour. Its a great idea! The colour for July is Mellow Yellow & Orange, so this recipe fits the bill perfectly.

Once you've posted a recipe you email Shaheen and a round up of all the entries will be posted on her blog before the end of the month.


  1. I just opened my computer to see your lovely yellow mac n cheese! How pretty and what a great idea to use yellow squash! I will tag this to try later! Have a great day!

    1. Thanks Tracy, let me know what you think if you try it. I'm over run with pattypan squashes at the moment! :o) x

  2. Jasmine, Wow - I love how you have used the Patty Pan Squash as part of the vegan 'cheese' base. Very innovative. Thank you so much for sharing with #VegetablePalette.

    1. Thanks Shaheen! When you have so many squashes you have to keep coming up with new ways of eating them! :o) x


Thanks for leaving a comment, Jasmine x