I love cheese. I have been a cheese eating machine all my life. But now I am older and not in the best of health, I have allergies and need less phlegm in my life. So, I need to cut back on, if not completely eliminate, dairy in my diet at least for a while. Because of my love for cheese, I have been looking for alternatives, because sometimes a girl just needs a nice hot bowl of love, I mean creamy, cheesy pasta. There are many versions of cheese-less cheese sauce out there, but last week I decided to try to make one myself out of elements I had on hand, namely carrots. Was it cheesy? Not in the most literal sense, but it was in fact creamy, comforting and very tasty. I made the dish as a side for an entree of Pink Eyed Pea Succotash, so I only made a little, but I honestly could have eaten an entire bowl of this stuff it was SO good!! To emphasize just how good it was, I had extra sauce that I saved and reheated and spread on toast the next morning. I loved it! I have since made it a few times with very positive results! I served it as a main dish with my favorite Green Bean Salad and enhanced some with a little hot sauce to put on my scrambled eggs! I am doing just fine without my cheese, I never thought I would say that!!
Making a cheese-less cheese sauce is surprisingly easy. Wash, peel and chop your carrots, just a nice chunky chop, nothing fancy. Put them on the stove in some vegetable stock with some salt to boil for a bit, roughly 20 minutes or so, until they are fork tender. Use a pasta spider to fish the carrots out of the broth. Save that broth for use in thinning your cheese sauce. Put the carrots, pine nuts, some more salt (let’s face it cheese is salty), roasted garlic powder, lots of black pepper, a bit of vegan butter, almond milk or your milk of choice, and finally Bragg Nutritional Yeast all in the processor bowl and process it until it is smooth and creamy. Remember that broth? If the cheese is too thick, thin it with a spoonful or two of broth. It looks a lot like pimento cheese without the pimentos.
Prepare your pasta according to package directions only put some vegetable broth in that water to boil it in, everybody appreciates extra flavor. Once the pasta is done, stir about half the sauce into the cooked macaroni. Yes, this recipe makes enough cheese sauce for two uses, or you could just make the whole box of macaroni, I am not judging. Notice how bright and orange it is? It takes me back to my childhood when my mom would whip up a box of Kraft mac-n-cheese as a side dish with dinner, always a favorite.
- 4 Big Carrots, chunked and cooked in vegetable broth until soft
- 4 T Pine Nuts (heaping tablespoons)
- 1 can Vegetable Stock or Broth
- 1 C Almond Milk
- ½ C Nutritional Yeast (a.k.a. Nooch)
- 2 T Earth Balance Butter
- 1 ½ tsp Sea Salt
- 1 T Roasted Garlic Powder
- ½ tsp or so Black Pepper
- 8 oz. Elbow macaroni Pasta
- Cook macaroni according to package directions
- Cook carrots in Vegetable broth or stock until soft. Drain and reserve stock.
- Put everything (carrots, pine nuts, milk, Nooch, butter, salt, roasted garlic powder and pepper) in your processor and puree it smooth. Use some veggie broth to thin if necessary.
- Stir sauce into the drained pasta and heat through.
- Taste and see if it needs some additional salt or pepper.
- Serve immediately, this recipe serves four and provides sauce for another 8 oz batch of macaroni.