In my life, I have tried to replicate Mac n Cheese so many times, but have never really gotten as close to the real taste of the dairy version of Mac n Cheese.
I remember those days. The creaminess, the mush of the melted cheese and pasta on my tongue, creating an amazing sensation to my taste buds all the way to my brain.. hahaha…oh so yum!
But gone are those days. Ever since I started to learn more about myself and my (temporary) gut issues, I have learnt to be wiser around food. I say “temporary” because I am so keen to heal it and I know it will, one day. Not that I’d go back to eating like crazy again, but I know enough to love my body more and give it what it needs.
These days, if I eat any dairy product, I get bloated and I either get some sort of diarrhea or constipation. Same thing with pasta. I can only eat good organic gluten free pasta, to make sure, I am not just enjoying a dish momentarily, on my tongue. But a dish I can devour slowly and not give me stomach cramps from bloating afterwards. In short, I have some sort of fruit malabsorption but also some signs that are pointing to leaky gut. So really, I am still working on it with my kind naturopath acupuncturist and homeopath. I love them.
I did try to eat some goat cheese, a few months ago, when I was in Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia at a small farmers’ market.
I bought some from a woman who made her own goat’s cheese at home. It was so adorable. She even knew the names of her goats and asked for their permission ☺
Apparently, goat’s cheese, I still can take. But still, never much. Cow’s cheese? I will just stay away from ☺
Good thing is, I was never a Cheese Lady. So giving up cheese was never an issue for me. But even so, the need to enjoy a good Mac n Cheese, every now and then would turn up and that was when I started recreating this dish to really taste like the “real thing” ( although when you look at it from a whole food’s point of view, it isn’t the “real thing” is it? Ha..)
We can sit here and debate on what the real thing and not is, or we can sit and discuss this next recipe I am going to share with you. Ready? Grab a notebook and pen, jot this down. Or better still, just screen shot the page, will ya?
Here’s the magic ingredient. Yes. PUMPKIN!!! Who’d have thunk? Right?!!
2 cups chopped and boiled pumpkin
½ cup finely chopped brown onion
2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
½ cup tomato purée
¼ cup veggie broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon tamari (low sodium soy sauce)
1 teaspoon maple sugar or a smidgen of stevia powder
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
½ -1 cup veggie broth on standby just in case needs thinning
2 ½ cups pasta of choice
First, heat a pan, then throw in brown onion and dry sautée until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the onions, we just want it to caramelize a bit to give out a fragrance.
Next, add the chopped garlic and stir. If you get nervous and think you might burn the onions, you may add just a bit of the standby veggie broth or add 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, if you choose to make this dish with oil. Your choice. No wrong or right, here, you make the call.
Once the onion and garlic are really fragrant, add in the tomato purée and stir for about 3 minutes, then turn heat off.
Put boiled pumpkin in a blender with ¼ cup veggie broth and blend until smooth. Next, add the tomato purée with the onion and garlic you previously sautéed and blend until smooth.
Pour that blend back into the pan and heat again until it gets thick. Add in lemon juice, sweetener and nutritional yeast. Stir and let it thicken. If it gets too thick, here is where you can use your on standby veggie broth.
Turn heat off and start preparing your pasta. Remember that gluten free pastas need a lot of water to cook evenly. If you go skimpy on the water, your GF pasta will start to stick to one another and you do not want that.
So please try to make this dish and tell me how you think it tastes. Or maybe, you have other variations to share? Please do in the comments. Don’t forget to tag me on instagram @sophienavita .. I’ll be waiting!!