I put off becoming a vegan for a while, thinking I’d never be able to give up cheese. Eventually I realized, as many vegans do, that I hated cruelty more than I loved cheese.
What I didn’t expect was to find so many great alternatives that don’t leave me missing anything. Aside from a lot of the great cheese alternatives that exist out there, I’ve really found such creative ways to cook with amazing results.
I met Denise through one of my besties from residency, Emily. Emily and I met and quickly bonded over our similar rural upbringings, our love of bad reality television, and of course our love for veg food. Here’s a picture of me and Em after a dinner at Soy and Sake, our bellies full of fake meats.
Then I met Emily’s roommate Denise. How did you meet Denise, you ask? Why, when they invited me over for vegan potluck brunch! Yessiree! Here’s Denise, enjoying her veggies as usual, being adorable.
Denise is an unbelievably creative chef of all kinds of amazing vegan goodies, and she actually challenged herself to a kale throwdown. It has to be seen to be believed: The Kale Throwdown on Good.com
Anyway, although everything she makes is delicious (like Kagels!) my favorite dish was her butternut squash mac and cheese with kale chips. I didn’t have some of the ingredients she did so I adapted it a bit, and it came out the bomb. No special tricky vegan cheeses, just all natural ingredients and creamy goodness.
Butternut Squash Mac and “Cheese” with kale chips
|• 1 cup butternut squash, peeled and diced (one large squash)
• 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
• 1 Tbsp corn starch
• 2 Tbsp almond milk
• 1 tsp ground mustard
• ½ tsp garlic powder
|• ½ tsp salt
• 6 Tbsp of nutritional yeast (aka nooch!)
• Pinch of cayenne, paprika, black pepper
• ½ bunch of kale leaves, destemmed and ripped into bite-sized pieces
• 3 Tbsp Olive oil, ½ tsp Salt
• 1 lb shells pasta
1. Peel and cube one large butternut squash. Roast the butternut squash at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, turning once while baking.
2. Mix 1 Tbsp of cornstarch with 2 Tbsp almond milk
3. Place 1 cup roasted butternut squash, almond milk, corn starch mixture, dried mustard, garlic powder, salt, nooch, cayenne, paprika and black pepper to the blender and puree completely.
4. Cook one pound of pasta in salted water.
5. In the meantime, toss kale in olive oil and salt and bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes, or until crispy.
6. Toss your cooked pasta in the sauce. If needed, you can use a little of the cooking water to loosen the sauce. Top pasta with kale chips.