Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Pumpkin and Cashews Make Cheese!

Yesterday was a day that screamed comfort food. I needed soothing, and my mind also wanted to create a recipe. That's what I love about cooking, you can distract your racing mind by getting creative, and you also get  to eat, so what's not to love? I had gotten a can of pumpkin puree at Trader Joe's to make a raw pumpkin cheesecake, and had changed my mind on that, so I decided to tinker around with a pumpkin macaroni and cheese, and I'm pretty happy with the results!
So Cheesey!
                                                    Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese
  • 3/4 C Raw cashews soaked at least 2 to three hours
  • 1/2 C. Pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 C. Plant Milk
  • 1/4 to 1/2 C. Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 T.  Corn Starch
  •  S& P to taste
  • 8 oz. pasta of choice
While your water is getting it's boil on for the pasta, add everything but the pasta to your blender and blend, blend, blend until you have a thick, creamy consistency. Start out with about half a cup of plant milk, and add more as needed. I ended up using about 3/4 a cup, maybe a dash more. You don't want it to be too thick, because it will thicken up in the oven. After your pasta is cooked, (under cook by about a minute or so) drain and pour into a casserole dish, and add your delicious "cheese" sauce. Stir and make sure all the pasta is coated, here I added a few broken up slices of the coconut herb Chao slices along with the sauce. Vegan cheese is totally optional, and not needed because the sauce is creamy and cheesey on it's own. I have Chao to spare from the recent Grocery Outlet trip. Anyway, once it's all combined, bake it at 400 degrees for about fifteen to twenty minutes, and it's hard but let it rest for at least ten minutes before digging in. I know it's traditional to put breadcrumbs on top of baked mac and cheese, so if that's your preference, please do so before baking! I am not a breadcrumb fan, so I sprinkled some extra nutritional yeast, and crushed red pepper on top.

This is mac and cheese I would serve to a mixed crowd. The pumpkin gives it a very cheesey hue, and it looks spot on like any traditional mac and cheese casserole. It doesn't taste like pumpkin at all, so I think people would be really surprised. You can tell them after they're rubbing their full bellies!
You could also just do a stove-top version of this, and just add the drained pasta back into the pot over med. to med. low heat, and stir in the sauce and cook until it's bubbly and the sauce has thickened, usually around five minutes or so.
I'm totally late on the cooking with pumpkin trend, I think people were talking of pumpkin cooking during Mofo, but whatever, I like to do things in my own time!
Drizzled with hot sauce of course!
Happy Wednesday!


  1. 2nd post up for the day! I'm trying to pop them in - in between daily/work stuff! LOL :)
    Another coming later I hope, too!

  2. I made something similar at the weekend with roasted butternut squash and your idea of adding horseradish. It was tasty. We had half the sauce with macaroni and then the rest the following day as a pizza topping.

    1. That sounds great! It;s so funny that you mention pizza, because I also thought this sauce would be good for pizza, or even adding salsa and using it for some type of Mexican dish!

  3. Mmmmm! Admire your energy putting that together.

    1. Thanks! it was alot of fun. It's the first recipe I've made up myself in awhile, and my first time using pumpkin in something savory!