Life Is Like A Dumpling

Vegan Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

If I have discovered anything about myself through all my high school and university years, it’s that I’m a stress eater. I crave the most absurd things that range from Terry’s chocolate oranges to wasabi popcorn, and the worst part is that these cravings last days! My eyes, already bigger than my stomach, become even bigger – needless to say, wholesome eating vanishes from my life for a week or so as I deal with days that somehow involve everything overlapping: deadlines, meetings, presentations, extra work shifts… To reset my body, I’m participating in the Elimination Diet with Ashley from Bloom and Nourish. If you’re feeling up to it, I suggest that you join us, too! The items up for elimination are the following: 
– gluten/wheat
– dairy/milk products
– eggs
– corn
– soy
– citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, pineapple)
– nightshade veggies (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, peppers- eating too much of them will give you joint pain and headaches!)
– shellfish
– pork and beef
– peanuts
– caffeine
– alcohol
– sugar (including maple syrup, honey, and agave)
– preservatives, artificial flavours and colours

Don’t worry, you don’t have to eliminate everything! The last four must  always be avoided in the elimination diet. Since I’m already vegetarian and mostly dairy and egg free, I’m only eliminating the main four (caffeine, alcohol, sugar, preservatives), wheat gluten, and soy. 

The point is to pick something from the list that you think your body might be allergic or sensitive to, and to see whether you feel better after eliminating them. Think of it as a reset and cleanse for your body- you only have one, so it’s important to take good care of it. For a whole rundown on the elimination diet, visit Ashley’s blog. It’s filled with delicious and healthy goodness!

I officially start on Monday, and am currently in the process of transitioning towards the cleanse by reducing my intake of the foods I’m choosing to eliminate. Day 1 of being caffeine free and I’m already feeling great! There was a slight craving for a latte this afternoon, but I resisted, and am feeling gooood. 

In the meantime… here’s a recipe for a cosy vegan butternut squash macaroni and cheese that I craved last week and shared with my friend Sophie from Fermat’s Last Recipe. In the Halloween spirit, I decided to use some ‘spooky’ pasta. I live above a lovely Italian deli, and they have a beautiful selection of pasta. Unfortunately, at the time I forgot that the black in the pasta meant that squid ink was used- which means this dish isn’t actually vegan, but if you make this with spelt, wholewheat, or other egg-free pastas, it will be vegan 🙂

(For the sake of my blog and my readers, I decided to go butternut squash instead of another pumpkin recipe. This recipe works really well with pumpkin, though!)

Vegan Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese
 *serves 4
1 cup cooked butternut squash or pumpkin
coconut oil
2 tablespoons non-dairy butter
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon ground arrowroot powder
6 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup spinach
4 cups pasta of choice
sea salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 220 degrees celsius.

Slice the butternut squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and set aside.

Rub the butternut squash with some coconut oil, and roast for 35-45 minutes until soft. 

While the squash is roasting, melt the non-dairy butter in a pot. Add the garlic and onion, and gently sauté until fragrant.

Measure out the almond milk, and whisk the arrowroot powder until it dissolves. Pour the almond milk mixture into the pot and mix. Add the nutritional yeast, mustard, spinach, and salt and pepper. 

Continue stirring over low heat, and begin cooking the pasta in a separate pot. Season the water and cook until al dente. Drain and place in a serving bowl.

Once the squash is done, scoop out the flesh. Measure out one cup and add to the cheese sauce. Either pour the sauce into a blender or use an immersion blender to blend the sauce.

Pour the sauce over the pasta and mix well.

Sprinkle with nutritional yeast and season to taste.

Enjoy 🙂

Wishing you much love and happy kitchen adventures,

Recipe adapted from Oh She Glows

This entry was published on November 5, 2013 at 9:58 pm. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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