Recently one of my good friend’s Charlotte from Lotus Girl Yoga introduced me to the best vegan mac & cheese recipe EVER! I grew up in the 90’s, and consequently grew up on a lot of mac n’ cheese, it’s just what kids ate! Now, we all know a little better, and realize that overly processed food, and artificial food dyes are not exactly the pinnacle of good nutrition. Two Mom’s in the U.S have recently spoken out about this childhood classic. The Mom’s are petitioning, “We request Kraft Foods to remove artificial food dyes from all macaroni and cheese products for the following reasons…” (for full petition click here). Many of these substances in mac & cheese, including dyes Yellow 5 and Yellow 6, have been banned outside of the U.S and Canada.
I found this article posted by the Environmental Health Perspectives to be helpful in understanding just what these artificial food dyes can do to our health, and may explain why these two U.S Mom’s have 247,754 supporters and counting.
My question is, why just ask Kraft to take the dyes out of our mac & cheese? Will it really be all that healthier? After all it’s still powdered cheese and dried out pasta that will last years in a cardboard box. While I think the petition is a step in a healthier direction, they may be missing the point here. If you’d rather enjoy the delicious taste of mac & cheese without the harmful dyes and additives, the best way is to make it yourself! So here’s my friend Charlotte’s fantastic recipe for mac & cheese that, dare I say, tastes better than the original from the box.
Vegan Mac & Cheese
Difficulty : 3.5/5
2 cups gluten-free fusilli (or macaroni, spirals, whatever you like)
2-3 large leaves of kale, stems removed and chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, unsoaked
2 cups diced sweet potato, steamed
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp fine ground sea salt
2 tbsp cashews, soaked for 2 hours
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pure water
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Step 1: Cut your sweet potatoes into small cubes and steam for 20 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. While steaming, prepare fusilli according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Step 2: While everything is cookin’, toast your unsoaked sunflower seeds in a dry skillet heated to medium-high, for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in a pinch of sea salt. Once browned a bit, remove from heat and give them a rough chop.
Step 3: Place steamed sweet potato and all sauce ingredients in the blender. Mix until smooth and creamy.
Step 4: Once fusilli is cooked, rinse well and transfer to a large glass bowl. Fold kale and sauce into noodles and mix well.
Step 5: Serve warm in a bowl (reheat on the stove top if need be) and top with your toasted sunflower seeds and some fresh cracked pepper.Adapted from this recipe.
What are your thoughts about the Mac & Cheese debate and the Mom’s petition?