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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Comfort Food Makeover - Truffle Mac-n-"Cheese"

Don't you just love cheat days?  I don't know why I think that the only days I can blow my diet is when the kids are cranky and the house is a mess.  I just have it in my head that way.  In fact, I'm almost happy when I realize that it's been one of those days, since I know I'll be having something I don't normally eat, plus a glass of wine!  On those days I usually reach in the freezer for one of my favorite guilty pleasures - evol brand Truffle Parmesan Man-n-Cheese.  If you're a fan of truffle oil, you would love this.  But when I finally looked at the ingredient list the other day, my heart sank when I saw that it contains 15 grams of saturated fat.  Not to mention regular white flour pasta and dairy. 

 I came across some gluten free ditalini, which is the small little tube shaped pasta that they use in the evol frozen meal, and was inspired to try to re-create the recipe.  Mine not only is gluten free, but also vegan.  Of course, if you're not vegan, go ahead and use regular dairy products.  Either way, this will fulfill your craving for gooey, cheesy, truffle flavored pasta!
1 1/2 cups cashews, soaked
8.8 oz. box of gluten free pasta (I used ditalini pasta)
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 garlic cloves
3 tsp truffle oil
4 oz. vegan cream cheese (or regular)
1 cup vegetable broth
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
3/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp vegan butter
1/3 cup gluten free bread crumbs
*optional - 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, or vegan mozzarella style cheese shreds
1.  Soak the cashews in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes before starting recipe. 
2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook the gluten free pasta according to the directions on the package, being careful not to overcook. 
3.  Mince the garlic.  To a medium skillet that has been sprayed with cooking oil, add the onions along with 1 Tbsp of water.  Cook for 5 minutes, then add the garlic.  Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. 
4.  Drain the cashews and add to the food processor, along with the vegetable broth, cooked garlic and onions, truffle oil, cream cheese, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper to taste.   
5.  In a large bowl, combine the pasta with the cashew mixture, toss to combine. 
6.  Grease a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray or olive oil  Pour the pasta mixture into the pan, and top with 1/2 cup of vegan mozzarella (or regular mozzarella), if desired.   Melt the vegan butter and mix with the bread crumbs.  Crumble over the top of the pasta.  Drizzle with a tiny bit of extra truffle oil, if desired - no more than 1 tsp!

7.    Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the pasta has set up slightly and is starting to brown on top. 

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