Cashew-Free Mac & Cheese Sauce

 I  love    Mac and Cheese, but most of the plant-based cheese sauces are made with cashews. Cashews are delicious, but they are very nutrient dense and high in fat. While there is nothing wrong with eating healthy fats (like those found in cashews), my body tends to hold onto it, especially when eaten in high quantities! I was inspired to create this lower-fat option, by @minimalistbaker 's use of eggplant in a queso recipe, as well as, the creamy eggplant dip (baba ganoush), which is eaten in many middle eastern cultures. 

I love Mac and Cheese, but most of the plant-based cheese sauces are made with cashews. Cashews are delicious, but they are very nutrient dense and high in fat. While there is nothing wrong with eating healthy fats (like those found in cashews), my body tends to hold onto it, especially when eaten in high quantities! I was inspired to create this lower-fat option, by @minimalistbaker 's use of eggplant in a queso recipe, as well as, the creamy eggplant dip (baba ganoush), which is eaten in many middle eastern cultures. 

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant
1 medium potato
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
½ medium yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 inch piece fresh turmeric root
1 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsp tahiini
1 cup of the water used for boiling
¼ cup vegetable broth
3 tbsp almond milk
2-3 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1-2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
½ tsp mustard powder
Black pepper to taste
 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice eggplant into rounds, and place on lined baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the center of the eggplant  is soft.


2. While you are waiting for the eggplant to bake, fill up a pot with water, place on stove-top and set burner to high heat. Peel the carrots and the potato. Chop up carrots, potato, celery, and onion. Add to boiling water with turmeric and garlic. Allow to cook for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork. 


3. When the eggplant is finished baking, take tray out of oven and remove the skin from the rounds. Place eggplant in high-speed blender or food processor. 
Add potatoes, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, turmeric, and about 1 cup of the water used for boiling. 

4. Add the tahini, nutritional yeast, vegetable broth, lemon juice, white white vinegar, and spices to the blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. 
 

5.  Pour over your favorite pasta (I used @eatbanza shells), Serve with a side of steamed veggies and a  generous amount of the nutritional yeast (seriously can't get enough of the stuff). Enjoy!