If you follow me on ig or my Facebook page, you’ve already seen a sneak peek of this. And I had at least 10 people request that I alert them when this recipe goes live. For those that missed the sneak peek, you’re in for a delicious surprise. Despite being a dietitian, I love love love Mac and cheese. I also love pumpkin. So I had a crazy thought. Why not combine my two loves and see what happens. And to make things even more interesting, I decided to make it all vegan.
Some of you may be thinking, ok, is it really Mac and cheese if it is vegan and doesn’t actually contain cheese? Yes! This recipe contains nutritional yeast which imparts a super cheesy flavor but I also used daiya foods vegan shreds which mimics cheese quite well in terms of not only cheesiness but also texture. But I knew this recipe was worth sharing when it passed the fiancé test. My fiancé is super picky so when he willingly ate these, I knew I had a winning recipe that I had to share. And better yet, he requested that I make this again for dinner a few nights ago. Score!
This is an especially awesome recipe if you are vegan or vegetarian because it is full of vitamin b12 which can be harder for vegans and vegetarians to get in their diets.
#RDtip: if you are vegan (or even vegetarian) make sure you are getting enough b12. studies on vegetarians and vegans have consistently shown b12 deficiency. Symptoms of deficiency Include anemia, numbness and tingling in the extremities, excessive weakness and fatigue, and even depression, irritability, and memory loss. Unreliable sources of b13: tempeh, miso, spirulina, and Brewers yeast. Reliable sources include milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs, and plant foods fortified with b12 like rice and soy beverages and nutritional yeast. The b12 produced by Bacteria in fermented foods is an inactive form not used by human bodies which can actually interfere with the Absorption of the active form of b12. If you choose to supplement, tablets must be dissolved under tongue for effective absorption. No Need to take more than 10-50mcg per day, larger amounts are poorly absorbed.
This recipe is also full of beta-carotene filled foods like butternut squash and pumpkin. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect against free radical damage. Interestingly, adding a little heat (temp not spice) and fat can help increase the bioavailability of this fat soluble nutrient so that’s where the cheese comes in. It not only adds some flava flav but also helps aid in the absorption of the beta-carotene. See, I got ya covered 😏😉
Vegan pumpkin and butternut squash Mac and cheese cups
⁃ 1 1/2 cups cooked tresomega nutrition fusili pasta, cooked
⁃ 1 cup milk of choice
⁃ 2 tbsp cornstarch
⁃ 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
⁃ 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
⁃ 3/4 cup butternut squash puree (I used thawed frozen chunks and pureed in a blender)
⁃ 1/2 cup Daiya cheddar shreds plus more for topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees f and spray 6 cupcake liners. Cook pasta according to the directions. set aside to cool. in a large bowl mix milk, cornstarch, nutritional yeast, pumpkin puree, and butternut squash puree. stir in cheese then add pasta and mix well. distribute evenly amongst the cupcake liners. bake for about 25 minutes. for the last few minutes of cooking you can add a little more cheese on top and set to broil. once cheese is melted, remove from oven, let cool then enjoy!
**This recipe is being entered into a recipe contest and like the other recipe contests I have entered, I am required to use a specific ingredient from TresOmega Nutrition. I was sent their line of gluten free pastas (which you can now find at Sam’s Club here) as well as their coconut oil (which you can also find at Sam’s Club here). You can probably guess which ingredient I chose to use for this recipe but just in case you aren’t sure, I opted to use the gluten free pasta for this recipe.