Vegan & Gluten-Free Creamy AF Pumpkin “Mac ‘n Cheese” a.k.a. Even Better Than Any KD You’ve Ever Had!
OKAY, I have so many blog posts in the works that I totally forgot about this baby. Like I legit would’ve shared it with you guys earlier… had I remembered… (keywords: “had I remembered”). ANYWHO, hope you forgive moi & plus, here I am, typing away frantically to get it to you NOW. Better late than never, right?
So what have we here? LET ME GIVE YOU A LITTLE BACKSTORY. Basically, I made pumpkin spice cookies (WHICH BTW, YOU MUST MAKE. RECIPE HERE) & needed me some purée, BUT I DIDN’T NEED THE WHOLE CAN so… as you all know, I’m not into waste. Like I’m just not. IT’S ALL ABOUT THAT NO-WASTE POLICY, which even if not mentioned so frequently, IS ALWAYS IN EFFECT. So, there I was, with about 3/4 can of the pumpkin purée left & letting my imagination run wild. Y’all know what happens when the imagination is running. IT GOES CUCKOO. AND CUCKOO IT DID. CUCKOO ENOUGH to let me come up with this baby!
You guys… you don’t understand how delicious this was! You would never know it’s made with pumpkin (AND NOT CHEESE FOR DAYS) & that it contains ZERO DAIRY!
- The sauce is made with just organic unsweetened almond milk, dried parsley, nutritional yeast, black pepper, seas salt, fresh minced garlic & of course, organic pumpkin purée (To read all about the benefits of pumpkin & why you need it in your life, CLICK HERE: Vegan, Gluten-Free & Refined Sugar-Free Crumbly Chocolate Chunk PUMPKIN Cookies a.k.a. ‘Tis The Season, So I’ll Take A Cozy Knit, A Warm Frothy Almond Milk Latte & Some Seconds Please!(
P.S. I’ve mentioned this in my previous post, BUT JUST IN CASE: When buying your pumpkin purée, BE WARY of the difference between canned pumpkin & pumpkin pie filling. YOU WANT CANNED PUMPKIN (preferably, organic!). It’s just that & nothing more: cooked, pureed pumpkin. Your ingredients label should read ONLY: (organic) pumpkin. Pumpkin pie filling, on the other hand, is flavoured with certain spices, like cinnamon, cloves, allspice & ginger & is also sweetened with added sugars. Basically, it’s a “convenience food” for shortening the time necessary to whip up a pumpkin pie.
- It’s delicious, rich, thick, smooth, indulgent, LEGIT TASTES LIKE CHEESE (but isn’t!!!!), silky & creamy!
- The pasta is gluten-free (DUH) & it’s the red lentil penne by Explore Cuisine! IT’S BOMB. Seriously.
- The veggie SITCH? (CAUSE WHEN DO I NOT ADD VEGGIES TO THE MIX?!) I sautéed some sweet white onion & arugula in Naked Coconuts coconut aminos & THAT’S IT!
THIS IS THE PERFECT FALL COMFORT FOOD WARM & DELISH DIN, but but but WITHOUT THE GUILT! Most pumpkin pasta dishes are LOADED with butter & cream. BUT NOT THIS ONE (Best part? You’d never know it!!!).
And with fall & winter rolling around, you can be sure those cravings for warm, comforting pasta dishes (& a million other things) will start coming on! So what better way to satisfy them than with a dish that’s magically delicious & SUPER HEALTHY, all at the same time?
YA KNOW. THAT TWO BIRDS, ONE STONE THING. Ya, this is IT.
Now, let’s get down to bizness.
My loves, YOU WILL NEED:
- 1 package of Explore Cuisine Red Lentil Penne, BOILED ACCORDING TO PACKAGE DIRECTIONS (a.k.a. al denté… obvs!) OR any other pasta/gluten-free option!
- Coconut or avocado oil cooking spray;
- 1 small sweet white onion;
- A few heaping handfuls of arugula;
- 2 tsp. of Naked Coconuts coconut aminos;
- 1 cup of organic pumpkin purée (I used Farmer’s Market Foods);
- 2-3 tsp. of nutritional yeast (or Parmesan/Romano if you don’t mind the dairy!);
- 2-4 cloves of garlic, MINCED;
- 1-2 tsp. of dried parsley flakes;
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup of organic unsweetened almond milk (PLAIN), depending on how thick/creamy/thin you want your sauce to be (You can also sub the plant-based milk for regular milk!);
- Black pepper & sea salt for seasoning;
- OPTIONAL: Chilli flakes or Sriracha to make it a lil’ bit spicayyyyy!
- FOR TOPPING: More nutritional yeast/Parm/Romano or coarsely ground black pepper/chilli flakes!
NOW, FOR THAT HOW-TO?
- Bring a stockpot filled with water to a boil & boil your pasta according to package directions!
- While your pasta is boiling, heat a skillet over MEDIUM-HIGH heat & spray it with some coconut oil or avocado oil cooking spray. Once heated, throw in you onion & sauté for about 5 minutes, until it begins to brown & it’s fragrant! At the 5-minute mark, add in the arugula, the coconut aminos & toss/sauté with the onion until the onion is browned & translucent & the arugula turns darker green & is wilted.
- Remove the veggies from the stove & set aside until you’re ready to add them to the rest of the mix later on!
- NOW, add all the sauce ingredients to your blender (pumpkin, nutritional yeast, garlic, parsley flakes, almond milk, black pepper, sea salt & chilli flakes/sriracha (if you’re adding them!).
- BLEND ALL THE INGREDIENTS until they’re fully combined & incorporated & you obtain a creamy, thick, silky smooth sauce! You most probably won’t have to scrape the sides at all since all your ingredients are already relatively soft! But, do so if you find that things are clumping up!
- You can also add some more almond milk to thin your sauce out if you find it’s too thick! But personally, I prefer a richer, thicker & creamier sauce because it resembles mac ‘n cheese more! But it’s tots up to you! OBVS.
- NOW, your pasta should be boiled at this point! Drain it & add it back to the stockpot with your sauce & veggies! Set your fire to LOW to warm it up & toss everything together to combine until all your pasta/veggies are coated in the sauce!
- PLATE THIS BABE OF A DISH & top with black pepper/nutritional yeast/Parm/Romano/chilli flakes, to your liking!