Cashews: Not just for trail mix

Who doesn’t love a good macaroni and cheese? It’s the quintessential comfort food. I ate my fair share of the Kraft variety when I was growing up. Some of my early childhood cooking memories involve stirring the orange powdery mix into milk and margarine to pour over my noodles. Mine didn’t have cauliflower powder, flax, or oatmeal that has been slipped into today’s variety.  This was straight up processed noodles and so-called cheese.

Thankfully for my health, my taste has become a bit more sophisticated since then. I still love macaroni and cheese, but these days I try to make it healthier. For my latest foray, I used the Vegan Cashew Cheese recipe from Real Food Daily, poured it over prepared organic whole wheat penne, added half a head of broccoli, sprinkled some paprika over it, and baked it on 350 for 20 minutes. It didn’t have the same neon orange color of the food of my childhood, but it was way more delicious. The recipe for vegan cashew cheese makes at least twice as much cashew cheese as you’ll need for macaroni and cheese. You can halve it, or use the extra cheese sauce for nachos, lasagna, to pour over potatoes, a tofu scramble, or to zest up any of your favorite foods.