Protein & Iron Rich Mac 'N Cheese
People always say “yes but I could never give up …”
… But it’s my mission and recipes like these that make me think ok, but healthy food IS delicious! This recipe is constantly evolving and changing for me. In the winter, I make it with squash because it’s so abundant, but for spring, I’m making it with cashews and sweet potato (you’ll see how). If you’ve never tried nutritional yeast, the plant based “cheezy” option that I love because it’s also soy free, and contains B vitamins and protein, you will be so surprised at how much flavour it adds to this dish! My mom has become obsessed with it after I put it on pop corn one night for her!
I would highly recommend not substituting the pasta, and trying to find lentil pasta if you haven’t yet. Try amazon, or health food stores. The pasta I’m using is made from one ingredient: lentil flour. One serving contains 25 g of protein and 11 g of fibre.
This mac n cheese is high in protein, fibre and plant based iron. Plant based, or non-heme iron can be more difficult to absorb than heme iron from red meat, and because I don’t eat too much red meat I try to consciously eat more plant based sources. It’s better absorbed when eaten with vitamin C, and some B vitamins. Serving this mac n cheese with a fresh side salad, or some lightly steamed broccoli (see above) will increase the vitamin C content of the whole meal, thus increasing the absorption capacity of iron.
Well that’s all I have to say about this one! Happy Friday, and happy eating my friends!
Baked Mac ‘N Cheese
Plant based iron, and protein rich baked mac n cheese. Dairy free, gluten free, soy free. I like to serve this as a side to a salad, or a salmon filet and roasted veggies. It definitely stands up as a main as well, with sweet potato in the sauce, and a pasta that won’t make you feel over tired.
Prep time: 45 minutes
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked prior (4-6 hours is good)
1/2 medium sweet potato, baked, peeled
1 cup filtered water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp tapioca flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp cayenne flakes (optional, spicy)
1/4 tsp paprika powder
A few cracks of pepper
1 large slice of sourdough (opt for gluten free if avoiding gluten), toasted well
2 tsp coconut oil
Pinch of turmeric powder
1 cup loosely packed of baby spinach baby kale, arugula or another leafy green
Preheat your oven to 350 F and set an oven safe casserole dish aside. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to box instructions (mine takes about 10 minutes).
Prepare the sauce by draining and rinsing your soaked cashews and adding them to a large blender or Vitamix, then adding all other ingredients and blending on high for a few minutes (or until very creamy).
Prepare the bread crumbs by toasting your bread and adding it to a small food processor with the oil and turmeric. Pulse until the bread is broken up into large crumbs and everything is well combined.
Pour drained and rinsed pasta into the casserole dish, then add cheese sauce and mix thoroughly. Add 1 cup leafy greens and mix again. The heat from the pasta and sauce should wilt them. Top with bread crumbs, and bake for about 20 minutes. To serve, let it cool for about 5 minutes before dishing up.