Hidden veggies are a dead trend, joining other failed food fads, such as salads suspended in jell-o, in the hall of shame. It’s time to proudly display your love of vegetables, with lumps of pumpkin stirred through this mac ’n’ cheese instead of being snuck into the cheese sauce.
Butternut Pumpkin Mac ’n’ Cheese
- 200–300 g butternut pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and roughly chopped
- 200 g dried macaroni
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 11/2 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
- 310 ml (1¼ cups) soy milk
- 125 g (1 cup) shredded dairy-free cheese
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2 freshly grated nutmeg or 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves
- 1/8 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 30 g (½ cup) panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Place the pumpkin on the prepared tray and bake for 20 minutes or until soft and cooked through.
- Transfer the pumpkin to a bowl and lazily mash it with a fork to create a lumpy mash. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C.
- Cook the macaroni according to the packet instructions until just before al dente. Drain and set aside in a medium baking dish.
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Sift in the flour and stir constantly for 2 minutes until you have a roux. Once the roux starts to bubble, gradually whisk in the soy milk a little at a time. When all the milk has been incorporated, stir in three-quarters of the cheese, the garlic powder, mustard and nutritional yeast and cook, stirring, for 8–10 minutes, until thickened.
- Remove from the heat and stir through the nutmeg, thyme, chilli and sage.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the cooked pasta, add the mashed pumpkin and gently mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper, then scatter the remaining cheese and the breadcrumbs over the top.
- Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are crisp and golden.
- Allow the mac ’n’ cheese to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Recipes extracted from Vegan Junk Food by Zacchary Bird, published by Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99. Photography © Pete Dillon, Food Stylist © Bridget Wald https://www.smithstreetbooks.com/books/vegan-junk-food/
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