For years my mom and I joked that I have the palette of a four year old because up until the point that I left for college, my diet consisted mainly of chicken nuggets, hotdogs, pizza, and mac & cheese. Not much has changed in that those all remain my favorite foods, but I've grown and matured and developed a taste for a more healthful style of eating. But mac & cheese, man. I need my weekly dose of mac & cheese, otherwise life just isn't worth living. And I'm a mac & cheese purist. I've tried every healthy alternative there is, but nothing can quite compete with a traditional serving of macaroni with heaping amounts of cheeses. Until today.
When I saw Ingrid Nilsen's video on cheese-less mac & cheese, I was intrigued. I was also skeptical. Nutritional yeast doesn't sound all that appetizing, but I'll try anything once...and it turned out to be quite good. I didn't get it perfect the first time (the sauce was a tad bit mustard heavy), but I'm willing to keep experimenting with this recipe until I get it right. And you can bet that I'll be enjoying plentiful amounts of macaroni until then.
8 to 12 oz. of gluten-free brown rice noodles (macaroni is preferred, but my store only had penne)
1 clove of garlic
1-1/2 cups of raw cashews
1/4 cup of nutritional yeast (this gives it the cheesiness flavor)
3/4 cup of water
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp chili powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of tumeric
**optional: you can add a little almond milk to thin the sauce if it becomes too thick
Begin by cooking the brown rice noodles in a pot of boiling water, al dente style. While the noodles cook, mix together all the remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender that can process nuts. When the noodles are fully cooked, drain and then return to the pot. Pour the sauce over the noodles, and mix until evenly distributed throughout the pasta. Finally, plate and serve!