Cheeseless Mac and Cheese Florentine

March 31, 2011

Okay, I get it.  No one really craves cheese-less macaroni and cheese.  All you’re left with is macaroni and…  But this little number is something different.  It has all of the delicious qualities of a standard mac and cheese, the gooey-ness, the creaminess, even the cheesiness, believe it or not, but without the actual cheese.  I can see that you’re not sold yet.

White beans and cashews blended up together are what makes the consistency so cheese-like.  But then it has all the flavors of a normal mac and cheese – dried mustard, onions, breadcrumbs, the works.  It’s pretty much a win/win – a protein and vegetable filled, cholesterol-free (bonus!) dish, disguised as the comforting form of mac and cheese.  You’re craving it a little bit now, I can tell.  Make some and see if you ever go cheese-full again!?  Okay, that’s not a challenge.  Everyone loves cheese.  But you know what I mean.

Calling all requests! I did a bit of spring cleaning this week.  Great for the swim cap I thought I had lost 6 months ago.  Bad for me realizing that I have over seventy cookbooks and magazines that I never turn to whenever I want to find a recipe.  The internet has been my source for recipes and my cookbooks have been left for my bedtime reading (I like the pictures).  But no more!  I am challenging myself not to buy a single cookbook or magazine until I have tried something from every readable source that I have.  And I need your help!  Tell me anything you’d like to make – savory, sweet, brunch, dessert, vegan, gluten-free, really anything.  And I will make it my mission to find a cookbook recipe, put my spin on it, if need be, and post as many as I can.  Everyone wins!

Mac and Cheese Florentine (adapted from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker)

8 oz elbow macaroni
10 oz package of frozen chopped spinach, cooked as directed, and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 and 3/4 cups water
1 can white beans, rinsed
1 and 1/2  tbl. miso paste
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter
2/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook macaroni for 6 minutes in boiling water.  Drain and add spinach.  Toss to combine.
2.  Saute chopped onions in the oil over medium high heat.  Cook for 7-8 minutes, until translucent, but not brown.  *Do not salt the onions!
3.  Grind cashews in food processor. Add 1 cup of water and blend. Add cooked onions, white beans, miso paste, remaining 3/4 cup water, lemon juice, dried mustard, cayenne, nutmeg, garlic powder and salt.  Blend again until smooth.  Taste and adjust the spices as necessary.  Pour bean/cashew sauce over the cooked macaroni and spinach.  Mix until well combined.
4.  Pour mixture into lightly greased casserole dish.
5.  Melt butter in a pan, over medium-low heat.  Add breadcrumbs and toast until browned and fragrant.  Spread on top of casserole.  Bake for 30 minutes until brown and bubbly.  Let sit for 5 minutes before digging in.
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3 Responses to “Cheeseless Mac and Cheese Florentine”

  1. Holl Says:

    SO YUM!! Can substitute soy sauce if you don’t have miso on hand, and pile on the spinach! I always end up wanting more than the 10oz. the recipe calls for.


  2. Marvelous, what a webpage it is! This website gives valuable facts to us, keep it up.


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