Dinner, Lunch, Vegan, Vegan MoFo
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Vegan MoFo: Pumpkin Mac and Cheeze

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This cheeze sauce, friends. This cheeze sauce.

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To respond to today’s Vegan MoFo prompt, “It’s cold and rainy and there’s a snow drift outside your door! What are you going to make using the ingredients you have?”, I have whipped up this fluffy, velvety pumpkin cheeze sauce. All of the ingredients are things you should have on hand if you have a decently stocked vegan or vegetarian kitchen, which allows for pumpkiny comfort food to be on the table in no time.

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I have made Vegan Mac and Cheeze multiple times before, but this will be the first Vegan Mac recipe that I am posting. #bigdeal  Previously, I’ve made Angela’s Butternut Squash Mac and Cheeze which is heavenly, as well as my own vegan cheeze sauce sans squash. The thing that makes this recipe different is my use of cashews, which make the sauce extra-luxe and add to the cheesy flavor.

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Here’s the party all lined up. The ingredients are pretty simple: pumpkin, cashews, nooch, dijon, garlic (I mince mine in a food processor and store it in the freezer, which is why it is in a ziploc baggie), salt + pepper, and some optional tumeric.

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You just blend everything on high power until smooth and voila: Pumpkiny cheeze heaven. I must warn you that this does produce an inordinate amount of Pumpkin Cheeze Sauce. I used 1/3 of the sauce for 8 oz of pasta (So if you make a whole pound, you would use 2/3 of the sauce). However, I am pretty sure no one ever said “I don’t want a gallon of Vegan Pumpkin Cheeze Sauce”. At least, I never will say such things.

(Pssst! Here are a few ideas for leftover sauce: Pumpkin Lasagna, Pumpkin Cheeze Nachos, hell, even Pumpkin Cheeze Fondue)

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Pumpkin Mac and Cheeze

Makes ~4 cups of cheeze sauce suitable for a max of 1.5 lbs of pasta (12 servings max)

Ingredients

  • 3.5 to 4 cups cooked pumpkin (See note)
  • 3/4 cup water, or more as needed
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews soaked in 1 cup water; keep the water (See note)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 7 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1.5 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric, optional
  • 2 tsp salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • Pasta of your choosing, you may use up to 1.5 lbs, or as little as 0.5 lb
  • Peas, optional (See note)

Directions

  1. Throw pumpkin and water into blender and blend into a puree. Next, add in the cashews and their soaking water. Blend again until the mixture is pureed. Then, add in remaining ingredients except pasta and peas and blend until smooth.
  2. Make pasta according to the directions on box. If you are using frozen peas, put them in the strainer before you pour the pasta in the strainer, so that they will be automatically cooked once you pour in the pasta. If you made 1/2 1b pasta, toss 1/3 of the cheeze sauce with the pasta. If you made 1 lb, use 2/3 of the cheeze sauce. For 1 1/2 lbs, use all of the cheeze sauce. Dive in!

Notes: 1) I used cooked kabocha squash, but you can use any pumpkin, or even butternut squash. You can also use pumpkin puree, but may want to use only 2.5 to 3 cups of it. 2) If you do not have a high-power blender, such as a Vitamix, you should soak your cashews for a minimum of 4 hours before blending. If you do have a high-power blender, then just pour the water over the cashews and heat the mixture in the microwave for 1.5 mins before pureeing. 3) I tossed in 2/3 cups peas with 1/2 lb pasta. Feel free to use as many as your heart desires.

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