Week 1 of the Engine 2 Challenge kicked off Monday and though the free resources provided to those who signed up included meal and shopping plans I decided to create my own plans that better fit my lifestyle. That said I did take some inspiration from the Week 1 meal plan. The plan included a Mac Not Cheese that reminded me I’d seen a Roasted Red Pepper Mac and Cheese in Isa Does It that I’d wanted to try. So here we are…
I’ll post a full re-cap of Week 1 at the end of the week and give my Isa Does It recipe it’s own due attention now. I should start with the disclaimer that I am one of those bizarre people who does not like cheese. I was the child (and teenager, and adult) who took cheese off pizza made lasagna without the gooey stuff and only ate cheese if it was ricotta in a cannoli. Basically, I’ve never had the fluorescent orange cheesy mac so many cling to as comfort food from their childhood. When I first started on this plant based journey I avoided recipes that were cheese-like, assuming I wouldn’t like them. As I’ve tried more dishes though, I seem to enjoy the “cheesy” ones too.
This dish gets it’s creaminess from soaked cashews blended in broth with roasted red peppers and tomato paste. It’s full of wonderful flavors from Italian seasonings (fennel, oregano, thyme and garlic), mustard, and (of course) nutritional yeast. I think the combination of roasted red pepper and turmeric lends itself to recreate that authentic Kraft color. Once blended the sauce is cooked briefly until it becomes a nice thick base for your pasta.
I stopped here (OK maybe I took just one tiny bite) and refrigerated overnight so it would be ready to go when I got home from work Monday night. I baked it in the oven for about 30 minutes and served alongside a salad topped with Briny Caesar dressing for a very satisfying dinner at the end of a snowy winter day. I enjoyed the roasted red pepper and tomato flavors, the texture is great, not too creamy for the texture sensitive (you can serve immediately after mixing without baking for a creamier mac and cheese).
The Mac & Cheese and Dressing were easily made without the small amount of oil that the recipes called for and required no substitutes.
Isa Does It Recipes: 10