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.
- 200–300 g butternut pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and roughly chopped
- 200 g dried macaroni
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1½ tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
- 310 ml (1¼ cups) soy milk
- 125 g (1 cup) shredded dairy-free cheese
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ½ freshly grated nutmeg or ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp finely chopped thyme leaves
- ⅛ tsp chilli powder
- ½ tsp ground sage
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 30 g (½ cup) panko breadcrumbs
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. 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.
3. Cook the macaroni according to the packet instructions until just before al dente. Drain and set aside in a medium baking dish.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are crisp and golden.
7. Allow the mac ’n’ cheese to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe extract from Vegan Junk Food by Zacchary Bird (Smith Street Books, RRP$39.99).