Paleo(ish) Macaroni and Cheese

I have been living grain-free and dairy-free for going on 2 years now. It’s awesome! No digestive issues, high energy, lean body composition, the works. I truly love everything I eat and how this lifestyle makes me feel.

With all of that said, there are SOME foods that I miss. Pizza. Lasagna. Like REAL lasagna. Macaroni and cheese. With REAL cheese. But at the end of the day, would I trade my newfound health for the ability to eat these foods again? Nope! Although I can and will try to recreate these items as close as I can to the original.

Introducing Paleo(ish) Macaroni and Cheese. Is it perfectly grain-free? Not exactly. The rice and quinoa pasta doesn’t interrupt my digestion, but it’s certainly not something I would eat every day or every week. You can definitely use cauliflower florets instead if you’re interested in a strict paleo recipe. Is my version as ooey-gooey and melty the way real cheese is? Nope! I’d be lying if I said it tasted exactly like the original. But it’s pretty damn close. I love the rich, earthy flavor from the variety of vegetables that contribute to the sauce. The turmeric gives everything such a rich color and hint of spice. Coconut cream coats this casserole in pure decadence, and the addition of an egg yolk makes it all just a liiiiiiittle bit thicker. If you are looking for a gluten-free, dairy-free alternative to a heartwarming classic, you are in the right place.

Paleo(ish) Macaroni and Cheese

Dairy-free, gluten-free, and full of flavor. Indulge your cravings with a thick and creamy dish that doesn’t contain any inflammatory ingredients.

Ingredients

1 ½ packages rice and/or quinoa pasta (24 oz)

Salt

1 tablespoon grass-fed butter

1 large clove garlic

1 large yellow squash

2 carrots

½ red onion

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1 can coconut cream

1 egg yolk

2 cups Cashew Ricotta (see below)

⅓ cup nutritional yeast
 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 13x9 inch baking pan with butter or coconut oil and set aside.

In a large stockpot, bring several quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and the pasta. Cook according to the directions on the package. Strain and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Mince the garlic and set aside. Chop the squash, carrots, and onion and saute in melted butter. Once softened (after 7 or 8 minutes), add garlic, turmeric, salt and pepper. Stir until fragrant. Add mustard and coconut cream. Cook until the sauce just begins to bubble, then remove from heat.

Pour sauce into a large blender along with the egg yolk. Blend on medium speed until thoroughly mixed, about 30 seconds. The heat of the sauce will cook the egg yolk as it blends, giving the sauce a nice thickness.

Place noodles in a large mixing bowl. Add cashew ricotta and nutritional yeast. Pour the sauce overtop and mix everything together until combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes. The edges of the pan and tops of the pasta will look slightly dry.

 

Cashew Ricotta

(makes 2 cups)

Ingredients

2 cups raw cashews

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon salt

Directions

Place cashews in a large mason jar and fill with water just to cover the top of the cashews. Let cashews soak for 3-4 hours, or overnight.


Strain cashews from soaking water. Blend cashews, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and salt in a blender until thoroughly mixed, about 1 minute. If the mixture is very dry or stubborn, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until it comes together into a ricotta cheese-like texture.