Fall Comforts: Quinoa Pasta with Broccoli and Smokey Tahini Cheeze Sauce (Gluten-free, Vegan!)
Crisp fall days call for comfort food. And nothing fits the comfort food bill quite like a giant bowl of macaroni and cheese. But for those of us who are dairy-free, it can be hard to find a good vegan alternative. While there are a definitely vegan options out there these days, many are loaded with additives and overly processed ingredients. There's only one viable solution in our book: make your own from scratch! And you'll be delighted to learn... not only is a healthy, dairy-free mac and cheese possible, it can be downright delicious, and it doesn’t have to involve a million crazy ingredients or take an hour to prep. By using a combination of stone ground sesame tahini, stone ground coconut butter, and unsweetened/unflavored almond milk, you can create a perfectly creamy base for the sauce. The addition of nutritional yeast, fresh lemon, chipotle spice, black pepper, pink Himalayan salt, and a pinch of turmeric delivers an amazing smokey, tangy cheese-like flavor, and even a traditional orange mac and cheese color. The combination is on point.
OK, time for a full disclaimer: this recipe will not fool your cheese-loving friends into thinking they’re eating the real deal. However, this sauce is rich, creamy and full of flavor. And this version is about as easy and quick to make as it gets, all while using 100% whole food, real, plant based ingredients. Nothing powdered or processed coming out of a box or packet. And we don’t think anyone will be complaining once they take a bite. Nope, not even the die-hard cheese lovers out there.
Smokey Cheesy Tahini Sauce
1/4 cup Stone Ground Sesame Tahini
1/4 cup + 1 Tbs unsweetened and unflavored almond milk - we used homemade raw
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
2 tsp coconut aminos
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp chipotle
1/8-1/4 tsp turmeric - mainly added for color
1/4 tsp salt
Veggies: 1 small head of steamed broccolini, or your choice of cooked or roasted vegetables. Zucchini or roasted butternut squash would also be tasty.
Noodles: 1 8 oz box of your macaroni noodles of choice. We used gluten-free quinoa noodles
1. Begin by adding your nut butters (tahini and coconut butter) to a small pan, and turn on the absolute lowest heat possible so that the coconut butter begins to soften and become liquid-like. Be very careful not to use too much heat - the butters will burn easily.
2. Add almond milk, and stir well.
3. Add remaining ingredients to your pan and stir well. Turn heat completely off. Thin with more almond milk if you desire a less-thick consistency.
4. Prep your noodles by following instructions on the box.
5. Combine sauce with warm/hot noodles and vegetables in a large bowl.
Serve garnished with hemp seeds, cracked black pepper, and fresh cilantro. Enjoy!