A few weeks ago I had to put myself in the mindset of a child and think about the things they would truly enjoy for my first ever kids cooking class. And to be honest, that was SUCH a challenge! Kids are picky! How the hell was I going to get the pickiest of eaters to eat healthfully AND enjoy veggies with so much flavor?!
I thought…hmm…kids seem to really enjoy mac n cheese. So, cleverly thought I could hide some veggies (ahem butternut squash) in the cheese sauce while also giving kids the option to add in their fave veggies. You’d be surprised, some actually chose to add broccoli to their mac n cheese and those who didn’t still got a dose of veg with the butternut squash hiding in plain sight in the cheese sauce.
For those of you who want a super cheesy but still nourishing baked mac, I’ve provided an additional version for your pleasure 😉 A little something something for all mac n cheese lovers, vegan or not.
No Way It’s Vegan Mac n Cheese
Total time: 40-60 minutes
What You Need:
- 1 butternut squash, pureed (or 1 can of 100% butternut squash puree)
- 4 tbs butter (vegan butter- Earth Balance works wonders here)
- 4 tbs flour
- 3/4 cup coconut milk (full fat)
- 6 tbs nutritional yeast (or parmesan cheese)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tbs salt
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested
- 1 box gluten free (brown rice) macaroni
- 1 tbs bread crumbs (gluten free if you would like)
- Optional: peas, broccoli, spinach
- NOTE: If making this dish non-vegan, add in 1/2 cup shredded organic cheddar cheese instead of lemon and dijon mustard to the dish.
How You Make it:
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Bring water to a boil and cook macaroni to al dente (about 7-8 mins). Drain and set aside in a large bowl.
- In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in flour until incorporated and toasty brown.
- While whisking, start to slowly pour coconut milk into the mixture (your roux).
- The mixture will start to thicken and it will take about 5-10 minutes for it to do so.
- Whisk in butternut squash puree, dijon mustard, nutritional yeast, lemon juice (or cheddar cheese). Continue to whisk to avoid clumps.
- Season generously with salt, garlic powder, and paprika. Pour cheese sauce over macaroni and stir to combine. This is the time to add in desired veggies (peas, spinach and artichoke hearts are my fave).
- In your individual ramekins, mason jars or a large deep baking dish, add macaroni and cheese mixture.
- Mix breadcrumbs with additional nutritional yeast (or parmesan cheese) and sprinkle on top of the mac and cheese.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden.
See below for pics of the goodies my students created 🙂
Peace, love and NO beef 🙂