Show me someone who doesn’t love Mac & Cheese and I will show you a liar. Kids, vegans, omnivores, picky eaters, everyone loves creamy pasta and cheese. Current company included. If I could eat any food, regardless of calories or fat, it would most definitely be mac & cheese (followed closely by pizza if anyone’s asking).
This similar love was evidenced to me a few weeks back at my girlfriend’s rehearsal dinner where we were treated to a delicious buffet of gourmet food & fresh salads. After the first go around, I noticed that our entire table had gone back for a second plate of a single item: Mac & Cheese. That’s right folks, a table full of presumably adults rushing to get that second helping of cheesy macaroni. Sigh, it’s so, so good.
I was recently gifted a large box filled with California Sweetpotatoes. Mine to create whatever recipes I’d like, sharing with all of you the nutritious tuber that is the sweetpotato. At first glance, I wasn’t sure what I was going to make with them.
Don’t get me wrong, I love sweetpotatoes, but I usually just enjoy them baked, lightly mashed, or roasted- not exactly groundbreaking recipe material. After roasting about 1/2 the box to snack on as I contemplated recipe ideas, the memory of that Mac & Cheese came rushing back to me. Suddenly, that’s all I wanted.
The beauty of this recipe is that is has 1/2 the calories and fat of regular mac & cheese, yet taste just as decedent and creamy. Pureed California sweetpotatoes create a silky, smooth sauce perfect for tossing with hot pasta. I used the O’Henry variety for this recipe, a pale potato with a slightly sweet, creamy taste that is also perfect in soups and stews.
Dare I say this Mac & Cheese is actually good for you? Swapping sweetpotatoes for cheese packs a nutrient punch. California sweetpotatoes provide a “nutrition bang for the calorie buck” with 4 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein, vitamin C and more than a day’s worth of vitamin A, all for 105 calories per serving (about 1 medium size cooked sweetpotato).
A decedent, cheesy vegan Mac & Cheese using the California Sweetpotato
- 2 California sweetpotatoes, peeled & chopped
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 tbsp. non-hydrogenated margarine
- 3/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- salt/pepper to taste
- 1 lb. whole-wheat or gluten-free pasta, cooked
- Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the sweetpotatoes, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes until fork-tender.
- In a separate sauce pan, add the margarine and melt over medium heat.
- Add the cornstarch to the soy milk and whisk together until smooth, add to the sauce pan and whisk together.
- Add the rest of the ingredients: nutritional yeast, minced garlic clove, dijon mustard, onion powder, cayenne pepper, lemon juice and salt and pepper.
- Reduce heat to medium low and cook until thick.
- Add the sauce to a high powered blender.
- Once cooked, remove the sweetpotatoes from the pot and drain.
- Add 1 cup of cooked sweetpotatoes to the blender, process until thick and smooth.
- Toss with cooked pasta and serve!