Vegans, are you having a hard time finding a decent tasting cheese substitute sans the odd texture and weird, artificial aftertaste? Plant-based chef and author Julie Piatt has got you covered with her latest cookbook, This Cheese Nuts! In it, she shares recipes using nut-based cheeses of every imaginable variety. The recipes and dishes in this book are crave-worthy (Crème Brûlée, Maclay’s Mexican Cheesecake, Classic Fondue and more), making the nutritional benefits of choosing a nut-based cheese not one of deprivation. Try out Julie’s Mac and Cheese with Garlic Spinach recipe for your next potluck and see if your guests can tell the difference. Bet you they can’t.
Note: Many of her recipes require a basic dehydrator and a Vitamix blender (although a food processor will work in a pinch but may leave you with a grainy/lumpy texture).
Mac and Cheese with Garlic Spinach
♦ Vegan ♦ Gluten-free
1 cup raw cashews
2 cups fresh spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 shallot, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chickpea miso paste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for a garnish
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 package gluten-free pasta
Place the cashews in filtered water in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Wash the spinach in a salad spinner.
In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the shallot and brown. Add the garlic and stir with a wooden spoon. Add the spinach and sauté until it is wilted and infused with the garlic and onion.
Drain the cashews. In the pitcher of a Vitamix, place the cashews, miso, lemon juice, salt, garlic powder, pepper, nutritional yeast, and 1 cup boiling hot water.
Blend on medium speed for 2 minutes or until thickened and creamy. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat and cook the gluten-free pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse with hot water.
Transfer the pasta to a large serving dish. Pour the cashew cheese sauce over the pasta and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
Arrange the spinach in a mound on top.
Season with pepper and a pinch of salt.
Reprinted from This Cheese is Nuts: Delicious Vegan Cheese at Home Copyright © 2017 by Julie Piatt. Published by Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.