Vegan Pumpkin and Sage Mac ’n’ Cheese

Mac ’n’ cheese will never go out of style. Your guests will never complain when you serve it for dinner. This version is made lighter and healthier than the original so you can eat more and not feel the guilt.

  • By Chef Brian Skinner
  • April 11, 2016
Image Author: Kevin Clark
  • Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

3 cups pumpkin cashew purée (see recipe)

500 grams ditalini (or macaroni), cooked 2 minutes less than package directions

1 cup roasted pumpkin pieces

4 to 5 leaves fresh sage, roughly chopped

½ cup bread crumbs

Splash extra-virgin olive oil

Fried sage leaves, for garnish (see recipe)

Ingredients

Pumpkin Cashew Purée

1 400-ml can pumpkin purée

½ cup cashews, soaked in warm water
for at least 4 hours

2 cups water

½ cup Engevita or other nutritional yeast

3 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp salt

10 to 15 twists freshly cracked black pepper

Fried Sage Leaves

1 bunch sage

3 to 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Pinch salt

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss ingredients together in a big mixing bowl and transfer into a 9-by-14-inch baking dish. Scatter a ½-cup (or more) of bread crumbs on top with a generous splash of olive oil, and bake for 30 minutes or until nice and brown and hot in the middle. Garnish with a handful of fried sage leaves and serve immediately.

Pumpkin Cashew Puree

Drain and rinse cashews, then place all ingredients in a Vitamix or other high-speed blender. Blend on high for 2 minutes—this seems like a long time, but it’s necessary to get the cashews smooth and buttery. Makes 3 cups. (You can make this recipe the day before and store it in the fridge until needed.)

Fried Sage Leaves

Warm olive oil in a frying pan and slowly add the sage. Do so carefully, as the oil can splatter. Toss evenly with oil to coat, and fry for about 1 to 2 minutes. Once sage starts to turn dark green, remove from pan and place on paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

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