I had finally broke down and tried it. A creamy sauce for pasta made from vegetables and seasoning. I can’t say it taste like macaroni and cheese, but it’s a great way to stay on track with your goals and still have a high-fiber, low-fat creamy pasta side dish that can be made dairy-free. I’ve tried a few different versions and then I needed to add my own flavor to it. I like my “cheese” to be tangy, so by adding the miso and yellow mustard it adds that tangy/fermented cheese flavor that I look for. Also the nutritional yeast. I’m sure I’ll have a post about it soon enough, but the benefits it adds when you use it as a topping or a seasoning are pretty impressive.
Check out the benefits!
I looked up a few different “Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipes” and put them into my nutrient calculator that I use. Here are some staggering numbers.
Classic Macaroni & Cheese (1 cup Serving):
- 350 to 750 calories
- 23 g fat (35% DV) to 39 g fat (60% DV)
Hidden Veggie Macaroni & Cheese (1 cup Serving):
- 192 to 207 calories
- 2.5 f fat (4% DV) to 4.5 g fat (7% DV)
Not that I don’t enjoy an occasional cheesy side dish, but I think this recipe is definitely something to be tried. I don’t think of this as “macaroni and cheese” but a “creamy macaroni side”. For me, it fills the craving for something that looks and feels like it should be a lot worse than it is. Let me say this too – low-fat is good for some things. There is a definite need for fat in your diet, but you don’t need 30-80% of your average daily intake to be in 1 cup of food on a regular basis. I like to take my fat and spread it around like butter throughout my day. So to keep things balanced, and to keep on track with my goals without going too overboard with creamy fattening cravings, I like using this version.
Creamy Hidden Veggie Macaroni
- 2 lbs. whole wheat macaroni (or less *see leftover sauce freezing note) OR use a gluten free variety
- 2 cups yellow potatoes, chopped
- 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
- 2/3 cup onion, chopped
- 2 sun dried tomatoes, dry, not in oil
- 1 1/2 cup water (from boiling vegetables)
- 1 can butter beans
- 1/2 cup coconut cream *see note OR 1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
- 6 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp salt, optional
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp miso, optional *see note
- 2 tbsp yellow mustard
- Cook pasta to package directions and set aside.
- Put the potatoes, carrots, onion, and sun dried tomatoes in a pot and fill with just enough water to cover the vegetables. Boil until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Once they are done, take out 1 1/2 cups of the vegetable water and put into a blender. Add in the cooked vegetables and the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
- Top your cooked pasta with the sauce, add salt if needed, and enjoy a creamy pasta without any guilt!
Miso | Regular miso is made from fermented soy beans and is used in Japanese cooking. They are now making chickpea miso, which is what I use, as a soy-free alternative. It adds a tangy taste to the sauce like cheddar would do, so I recommend using it, but it is optional. Since miso is fermented, it’s very good for balancing gut bacteria and in effect, healthy for digestion.
Using Coconut Cream
207 calories | 4.5 g fat | <1 g polyunsaturated fat | < 1 g monounsaturated fat | 3 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 0 mg cholesterol | 513 mg sodium | 35 g carbohydrates | 5.5 g fiber | 2 g sugar | 9.5 g protein | > 100% Folate | > 100% Thiamin & Riboflavin | 93% Niacin | 36% Vitamin A | 22 % Magnesium | 89% Maganese
Using Reduced Fat Sour Cream
192 calories | 2.5 g fat | <1 g polyunsaturated fat | <1 g monounsaturated fat | 1 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 3 mg cholesterol | 519 mg sodium | 35 g carbohydrates | 5.5 g fiber | 1.7 g sugar | 10 g protein | > 100% Folate | > 100% Thiamin & Riboflavin | 93% Niacin | 37% Vitamin A | 22 % Magnesium | 81% Maganese
Freeze Leftover Sauce
I will freeze the rest of the sauce that I don’t use if I am not using 2 pounds of pasta at once. Freeze in a gallon bag and lay it flat. Freeze up to two weeks at the most. When ready to use, take it out the morning you will be using it and let it defrost in the fridge. You may need to add a little more flavoring with added nutritional yeast and salt, but it should be good to go!